The home is a simple place to begin reducing your carbon footprint. One of the easiest and sensible things that everyone can do is to simply buy less stuff! Then, where possible, purchase items that are locally made, meaning less emissions have been spent on transportation. Failing that, aim for second hand goods or purchases that are made of recycled materials. Reduce household waste by rejecting the use of plastic bags, composting green and food waste and be diligent to not accidentally pollute your recycling bin with non-recyclable items such as take away coffee cups if you’ve chosen to purchase them. Single use items or those with short lifespans should be avoided where possible, including disposable plastic items and cheap quality toys, clothes, shoes, furniture and electronics.
Another task you should undertake is to properly insulate your home to keep it cooler in summer, and warmer in winter without energy intensive climate control. As you save money on utilities, reinvest in new or second hand appliances that have the highest energy rating possible and check their star rating online or on the appliance themselves. The good news is that not only does reducing your energy carbon footprint assist the environment, but you’ll find that as a result of your efforts, you will consume less electricity overall which cost aside, is better for the planet. Another easy switch is to replace your home’s light bulbs with LEDs which use less energy and last longer over their incandescent counterparts.
Next consider the type of electricity that your home uses. The continual refinement of renewable energy sources such as solar are also shrewd investments for those who currently own or are building their own home. In addition to installing solar panels that power your house and feed energy back into the grid, companies such as Tesla can now offer home battery packs, such as the Powerwall 2 Home Battery. These allow you have your own backup power, or ability to use your own power source during peak tariff times if you wish.
As the construction process is one of the highest consumers of electricity, you may consider a dual occupancy home design that will allow for more people to comfortably live on one plot of land. Typically the investment potential is at the forefront of people’s minds when they go down this route, but as you rebuild or add an additional dwelling to your land, you have the opportunity to combine or link energy, water and gas infrastructure which also saves resources as versus individual installations. The opportunity to integrate rain gardens, greywater tanks and other external sustainable building techniques can also be harnessed in a dual occupancy built, so make the most of more roof space and configure floorplans to maximise their passive solar design.
Search online and ask for recommendations from friends and families that have recently renovated or built to find a builder in Melbourne, Geelong or wherever you are in Victoria that has a working knowledge of these considerations.