One of the pitfalls to buying an older home is often the lack of energy-efficient home features. A lot of older homes are using old and outdated wiring and electrical fixtures. Many have numerous gaps and holes and even more have little or no insulation.
All of these issues result in poor energy efficiency.
If you are thinking about undertaking a renovation, adding an extension or addition, or even looking into a complete knockdown rebuild, it is worthwhile thinking about the energy-efficient options for your home.
Here are 7 ways in which you can boost your home’s energy efficiency when undertaking a renovation.
Insulation should definitely be at the top of your consideration list when it comes time to renovate your home. Many older homes have inadequate insulation or worse, no insulation at all. So, during a renovation is the perfect time to consider your insulation options and install it as part of your renovations.
There are many different insulation options available on the market now and are adaptable to all situations. Speak to your builder about the best options for your home.
2. Natural Ventilation and Solar Orientation
Natural ventilation and solar orientation are some of the most underrated energy-efficient features in the home in our opinion. Some older homes do have good cross-ventilation but with pokey rooms, it’s not always harnessed as best it can be.
Undertaking a structural renovation or adding an extension or addition to your home can change the cross ventilation in your home. Opening up rooms and adding rooms with extra windows can make all the difference to how air circulates around your home.
The solar orientation of your home can also change through home renovations. If you are relocating and repurposing rooms then you can better harness solar orientation in areas that get more use.
For example, relocating your kitchen and living areas from the front of the house to the rear could mean you get more early morning or afternoon sun.
Knowing where the sun rises and sets on your block and locating the rooms in your home to make the best use of the sun (or shade) can make a difference to how you use and enjoy your home.
Of course, during a renovation is also a great time to rectify any unwanted natural ventilation in your home. All those little gaps and holes that have come about as the home has aged and moved can be costing you money in heating and cooling costs. Renovating is the best time to get your home sealed up and eliminate all those sneaky little gaps.
3. Water Tanks
Adding water tanks is a quick way to increase the energy efficiency of your home. If you have the space, adding water tanks to the rear or side of your home is an easy option. Installing tanks under the floor on a split-level home or even underground during excavation work is another option.
Collecting water on your property can be used for a multitude of purposes. Simply using the water for irrigation, watering your garden or topping up your pool can save you money long term.
If council permits, it’s also possible to use the water collected to flush your toilets or use to wash your clothes. This small change alone can make a big difference to your home’s running costs.
4. Water-Saving Devices
Although a standard practice now in any new home, water-saving devices are not often found in older homes. So, when undertaking a renovation, it’s the perfect time to consider your options when it comes to water-saving devices.
There are plenty of options available and fixtures continue to get better and better in Australia for saving us both water and energy. Shower heads with flow restrictors, taps with aerators and dual flush toilets are all ways in which we can save water.
Recycling our grey water for the garden is another great way in which we can reuse our water.
Choice has great advice here on how you can save water around your home.
5. Solar Panels
Solar panels are another feature you can incorporate into your renovation to create a more energy-efficient home.
Like insulation, there are many solar panel options available on the market designed to suit a host of different situations. You can have solar panels that feed back into the grid or install batteries so you can store the energy your panels produce.
6. Energy-efficient home Appliances
Not to be outdone by water-saving devices, energy-saving appliances have also come a long way and there is a wide range of energy-saving options available to the Australian market.
When thinking about energy-saving appliances, we often think about our heating and cooling options along with our kitchen appliances. But everything we plug in or draws power from our home needs to be looked at for the real consumption of energy.
Some of our biggest energy consumers in the home include:
- Air conditioning units
- Washing machines
- Clothes dryers
Energy.gov.au outlines what we need to look for when choosing an energy-efficient appliance. For major house renovations, it’s worthwhile doing the research on the appliances you want to include in your home upgrade and see out the best energy-efficient appliances for your family.
Even the unassuming kettle can be our biggest draw on power. But when it comes to home renovations, something you should be thinking about is the lighting and fixed electrical items in your home. Now would be a good time to swap out your old lights with economical LED options or older fans with newer options.
Plants and landscaping are not ordinarily something that is considered when it comes to house renovations and energy-efficient homes. But the reality is, plants can and do make a big difference to the energy efficiency in your home.
There are several different ways you can use landscaping to improve your home’s energy efficiency:
- Incorporate shade trees and plants – Knowing your tree species and the orientation of your home can help you plant the right trees in the right location.
For example. Trees that lose their leaves in winter (deciduous trees) can be great for blocking the sun in summer and allowing the sun to warm your house in winter. Installing dense trees on your western walls can also shield your home from the harsh sun.
- Using trees as windbreakers – Planting evergreen trees to act as windbreaks for your home can make a huge difference and help you cut down the heating bill in your home.
- Choose Drought tolerant plants – Australian Natives and succulents are a great option to help save on the water bill.
- Solar landscaping – There are so many outdoor lighting options on the market that are all powered via solar panels. Path lighting, fairy lights and patio lights to name a few.
All good home renovations deserve a great landscaping plan to match, so when speaking to your landscaper, talk to them about your energy-efficient landscaping options.
Energy-efficient home renovations are easily achievable
Without a doubt, energy-efficient home renovations are easily achievable. Not only will the tips we’ve outlined above help make your home energy-efficient but they will make a difference to your hip pocket when it comes to running your home.
Speaking to your builder about other sustainability measures you can incorporate into your renovation, such as recycling or repurposing material, can also help protect our environment and reduce the carbon footprint your home has.
Get in touch if you want to know more about energy-efficient home renovations or sustainable building practices with your home renovation.