Do you consider that you have a sustainable house? We have all heard about sustainable houses, those made of straw bales and other types of renewable materials. We have heard of house structures made with metal frames that are not renewable and also contribute to our global warming crises. (Which unfortunately politicians around the world seem to want to ignore) But there are conventional building materials that have been used throughout the ages that are and can continue to be renewable, wood! (as long as we keep planting the trees when we cut them down)
But this is not about just helping you to help your environment it’s also about saving you money. In house construction more and more people are considering the future impact on their pockets, yet do they put those thoughts into action? When they are contemplating building their own home what they tend to see is the up front costs of implementing strategies that will drastically reduce the cost of running their home. Considering that the average size of new homes being built today with the associated energy consumption rising along with increased costs are along, with some phone bills, are rapidly becoming another bill shock.
Did you know that there are many areas in Australia where a sustainable house can be built that virtually no heating or cooling is required.
So what makes a sustainable house? Apart from building it with renewable building material and avoiding as much as possible synthetic materials, avoiding those containing toxic allergic ingredients, (you will be surprised how many have which therefore reduces the air quality of your house) you need to consider the sustainability of your pocket.
The things that affect your pocket thus the overall sustainability of your house are heating, cooling and water heating. Lets think about what is required to provide all of these things, power! That’s ok we will just connect to the electricity grid and maybe pipe in natural gas. Great! Then we waste it because we built a non sustainable house.
How do we waste it? Easy, we forgot to put double-glazing, we forgot to put in insulation in the walls, roof and maybe under the floor if it is an elevated house. Maybe we did think about solar water heating and or solar electricity panels, after all they are all the rage these days. But these do not reduce your overall power consumption from the environment. Yes maybe you are saving some money but you are still wasting energy because of an unsustainably built house. Solar water heating and solar panels only partially reduce your energy consumption and costs. If you use say 5,000 watts of energy heating your house and 1000watts is contributed by your solar panels (only in the daytime bud) and 2,000 watts escape you are still out of pocket. So how do you stop all this escapement? double glazing and effective insulation may be the thing. Go make your house a “sustainable house”
Installing double-glazing and insulating your house has greater benefits than installing solar. Effective insulation can save up to 60% of energy used to heat or cool your house.
It is amazing that people put generating energy as more effective than insulating and go for energy generation first. With this, all you are doing is trying to replace the costs of the energy escaping. Energy generation and saving this way should be considered icing on the cake after you have insulated your home.
In my opinion the order of reducing your energy consumption would be:
- Insulate your home. (the most effective energy saving)
- Install solar water heating. (heats continuously during the day and stores in a water tank. Usually is supplemented by an instant heater if temperature is not at the required level)
- Solar panels. (The reason I have these last is because I consider if you don’t save energy by implementing at least some of the above all solar panels are doing is generating energy to replace the energy that is lost)
Think about it, have you a sustainable house?