Climate change is becoming an important issue for all of us. Each year we’re experiencing rising temperatures, more severe storms (how about that storm last week on the Sunshine Coast… crazy!) and more drought affected regions. Each and everyone of us has a role to play in helping our environment. So here at Beachside Construction, we’ve put together this list of exterior design ideas for a more sustainable home, whether you’re building a new custom design home, or staying put.
It’s a pretty obvious one, but probably the best place to start. On average, solar panels will save you $400 per kw in electricity bills. So, for a 5kw system (a popular size for an average 4 bedroom home), you could save $2,000 per year. Installation of panels costs around $6,000, so you could be paying this back after only three years. There are also rebates available through the Australian Government’s Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).
If solar panels aren’t possible, you could consider switching to a green energy supplier. Check out The Green Electricity Guide for an unbiased ranking of the environmental performance of all retailers selling electricity to Australian households.
Don’t waste your waste
These days, most of us know what we can and can’t recycle… what can be thrown into the yellow lid bin and what goes into the red lid. But what about our organic waste? When organic waste is taken to the dump and placed into landfill it produces some pretty toxic chemicals, the leading one being methane. Landfill sites also use an array of petro-chemicals to break the organic waste down into compost. Unfortunately those petro-chemicals are stripping the resulting compost of minerals and trace elements which help improve soil quality and grow more nutritious produce.
So, opt for a home solution instead. Which one? Rotating composts, in ground composts, worm farms… there’s a lot to choose from and each have their own benefits. Whichever you choose, make sure you’re using the resulting compost or worm castings in your plant and/or vegetable gardens.
There’s also a new company on the market called Jorgji www.jorgji.com which is a self-composting food waste bin and a Rapid Composting System. These work incredibly well in large commercial areas and urban areas (think your local community farm, like the one at Bells Reach). The system can turn organic waste into useable compost within 24 hours… awesome!
Keeping your home cool from the outside
As the days are heating up again, you might like to consider some simple screening ideas to keep the heat out. Depending on the orientation of your block and how your home is positioned, you can use the following guidelines:
- Use horizontal elements (eaves and awnings) to direct away vertical sun (high, midday), and;
- Use vertical elements (screens and blinds) for horizontal sun (morning and afternoon).
A tree or hedge planted outside a West facing exterior wall can also direct heat away from your home. You could even use some of your nutrient rich compost to keep it healthy and flourishing!
So there’s three external design tips you can do to help make your home more sustainable. Thinking of building a new home on the Sunshine Coast? Give Beachside Construction a call today on 0409 591 005. We’d love to chat with you about designing and building a custom home.