Energy efficiency for comfort and savings
Simply put, an energy-efficient home not only reduces your energy costs, it is also a better place to live. It is easier to heat and cool, and to maintain comfortable temperatures throughout the house. Indoor air quality is improved as moisture, dust and other airborne pollutants can be controlled more easily. At the same time, an energy-efficient home is better for the environment, because less energy means fewer greenhouses gasses contributing to climate change and polluting our natural environment.
Most renovations usually present many opportunities to include energy efficiency improvements. Incorporating these improvements at this stage will cost you less as you can ‘piggy-back’ them on other renovation work.
If your renovation involves removing plaster or drywall from an exterior wall, you may have the opportunity to install insulation
Windows and doors that have deteriorated or that leak can be repaired or replaced with weather seals to stop draughts and high performance glazing.
When selecting new windows, choose high performance units with insulation spacers, inert gas fills and low-emission coatings. The most energy-efficient windows gain more solar heat during the day than they lose at night. The Window Energy Rating Scheme (WERS), a certification and labeling program managed by the Australian Window Association, can help you to compare the energy performance of windows.
Building an addition to your home may require changing your heating system to accommodate the extra space. If so, heating and cooling systems should be clean and energy efficient in order to maintain good air quality and to provide adequate comfort. Systems based on radiant heat, such as hydronic heating, provide a clean form of heating with virtually no emissions. Modern gas and electric heating systems are generally given a star rating to indicate their energy efficiency. It is important that gas heaters be adequately flued to the outside to remove fumes. Zone control allows different temperature settings for different areas of the house, providing energy savings and increased comfort.
Replace incandescent lights with less energy-intensive fluorescent and halogen lighting by either changing the bulbs or the complete fixture.
When you buy new appliances, check the Energy Rating star label. All appliances sold in Australia carry this label to make it easy to compare the energy use of appliances and to help you identify the most energy-efficient models.
If energy efficiency, water efficiency, indoor air quality and environmental responsible building in general are important in your renovation, look for someone who can both design and build the alteration you want.
HIA GreenSmart professionals can help you with these ideas. HIA GreenSmart professionals choose to voluntarily go beyond current building regulations for energy and water efficiency, and look at the way the home is built to make sure the impact on the environment is reduced.
Homes that make the most of HIA GreenSmart principles can be great to live in – comfortable all year round, quiet and draught-free, saving you money on energy and water bills. They are good for the environment, reducing pollution and making better use of natural resources.
To find an HIA GreenSmart professional in your area, visit tradebuild.com.au.
The Green Loans Program is available through the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, and gives homeowners access to a free, comprehensive Home Sustainability Assessment to reduce their energy and water bills, increase the comfort of their home and help reduce damaging carbon pollution.
This independent assessment by a qualified expert assessor will provide advice from the smallest behaviour change to major investments such as a solar hot water system or photovoltaic panels.
Finally, check to see if you are also eligible for any federal and state government incentives to help with these changes.