With 60% of the world’s electricity being consumed by residential and commercial buildings in developed countries, space heating accounting for a further 60% of residential energy consumption and water heating representing 18% of domestic usage, it’s clear that new homes must be designed to reduce energy consumption/wastage and the subsequent impact on the environment. However, designing a genuinely sustainable home that people would actually care to live in is a science, especially when there can be no compromise, either way. Read this article, then for more information download our eBook: “10 Tips for Energy Efficient Home Design“.
The 4 key features of a truly sustainable home.
- House size
It goes without saying that the larger a house is, the more energy it will take to build it and to run it, and fill it with more ‘toys’.
Yet the wealthier we get, the bigger our houses tend to be, and “big” is usually the nemesis of “sustainable”.
We Australians along with North Americans have some of the largest homes on the planet; it is no coincidence that we also lead the way in per capita emissions.
At Civic Steel Homes, we put liveability way ahead of size – after all, what’s the point of having 5 bedrooms if you only use two? Think quality not quantity.
- Embodied Carbon
Every building material used in the construction of a home brings with it its own carbon footprint or embodied energy, and it all mounts up.
Building a new home uses resources such as energy, water and raw materials, as well as generates waste and potentially harmful emissions.
To work out the total embodied carbon in a home you have to take into account the carbon in the material plus that of any energy used in the building process.
Once again, traditional new Australian homes have a voracious appetite, with the average Aussie home easily clocking up over 100 tonne of CO2, as opposed to homes in England which total around 50 tonnes.
Efficiency is the embodiment of sustainability, not just in terms of constructing the home, but also running it over the life of the building.
Even though greenhouse gas emissions from residential energy represents 11.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions, the size, location and embodied carbon of a home also impacts energy, industry and transport emissions.
The push is on for more passive homes, designed specifically for the local weather and climate, and created to maximise heat gains in winter via aspects such as solar heating, and minimise cooling through purpose-built ventilation.
Clever design and correct orientation is your biggest weapon against mechanically heating, cooling and lighting your home.
- Energy production.
The falling cost of solar power and government rebates is certainly helping to make solar more popular, and while the cost of electricity keeps soaring, alternative green solutions will continue to grow in the market.
Switching from fossil fuel-generated electricity to low carbon alternatives such as solar hot water, heat pumps and natural gas will certainly reduce your footprint.
These add on energy savers will help bring down the energy consumption of a new home but they won’t undo the damage caused by poor design.
Always put more of your energy and build budget into smart design and proper orientation before trying to rescue a power hungry monster with a 5-star appliance.
Absolute liveability assured.
Your new Civic Steel Home will be designed from the ground up with quality, function, liveability and orientation always top of mind.
Our goal is to produce a home that will be a sheer delight to live in for years to come and as always the emphasis is on quality rather than quantity.
Civic Steel Homes wrote the book on sustainability.
The last word on sustainable homes, “10 Tips for Energy Efficient Home Design” will tell you how to dramatically reduce your energy usage. If you’re about to build a new home, this fact-packed Whitepaper will be one of the most important design documents you’ll read.
Simply click on the image on the left to start the download.