Believe it or not, there’s a home in the south of England that’s built almost entirely out of waste products. Forget bricks and mortar, the builders here used 20,000 old toothbrushes, 4000 DVD cases and about 1.8 tonnes of old jeans, among other things, to create a new kind of structure that cuts down on energy use and carbon dioxide emissions.
Of course, that’s taking things to extremes, but there’s no denying that the demand for sustainable housing has rocketed. Take the recent report by Curtin’s Sustainability Policy Institute, which asked Perth buyers what they were looking for in a new home. A significant number replied that environmentally conscious features were a key factor, enough to influence where they moved to and how much they paid.
The benefits speak for themselves, both in preserving the environment and long-term cost savings. Think about it: something like 40% of the energy used in an Australian home goes on heating and air-con. Another 21% goes on water heating. Factor in the electricity the medics need to restart your heart after you read your energy bill for the quarter and it just makes sense to look for ways to reduce usage.
While it would be nice to have the same set-up as a certain house in Norway - which has a solar array so big it generates three times more electricity than it uses - here in Perth even the small things can make a big difference. It could be as simple as ensuring your new home faces north, to make the most of sunlight and natural breezes for heating and cooling, or that it’s built of materials like concrete, brick and tile, which use stored heat more efficiently. Even decent shading to glazing can bring huge benefits (an Australian home gains 87% of its heat through its windows). And with Australians using more water per person than anywhere else on earth, it’s even an idea to include tanks that recycle water from baths and showers for use elsewhere.
More nd more Perth homes are also including smart devices to ensure sustainability. Think battery systems that store solar power for when you need it most, or monitors that tell you the moment you’re using too much energy around the house. Just having the right kind of showerhead or washing machine can mean big savings of water and money alike.
None of this has gone unnoticed at Nicheliving; we’re already accredited by the Green Building Council of Australia. Every one of our homes has a minimum six-star energy efficiency rating, is oriented for the best use of natural heating and cooling, and features energy-efficient hot-water systems and appliances with three to four star ratings for water saving. Even the gardens are waterwise.
So if you’re one of the growing number of buyers who’s aware of the difference that good planning can make to the environment and your wallet, check out the range of homes from Nicheliving.