Six ways to create a more sustainable home

Whether you’re about to build your dream house, a homeowner looking to upgrade your fitout, or a renter who wants to make sustainable household choices, there’s always something you can be doing to make your home more sustainable. Here are six ways to get you started.

Layer for warmth and temperature control

And we don’t just mean your clothes. Choosing double glazed windows will keep your home cool in summer and more importantly, warm in winter. Double glazed windows can reduce heat loss of up to 50% compared with having a single glazed window, so you can use your heaters less and save energy during winter. Similarly, insulation in your ceilings, floors and walls maintains your home’s temperature, keeping the cold and warm air out, reducing your need for energy up to 45%.

Power your home with the sun

When you’ve got a naturally abundant, free energy resource at your fingertips, there’s really no reason to be using another energy source. Installing a solar system in your home allows you to power your home using just the sun, making your home much more sustainable, with the added bonus of saving money on power bills! Rooftop solar panels turn those sunrays into electricity during the day to power your home, while solar batteries allow you to store additional energy to use when the sun goes down. You can also opt to install a solar hot water system, which works like a solar battery but specifically stores energy for hot water.

The Victorian Government is offering rebates for solar systems (panels, batteries and hot water) through their Solar Homes Program, with options for both homeowners and renters, so check out how to apply here.

Save your water

If you have the space, install a rainwater tank in your home to use for a range of purposes including flushing the toilet and watering the garden. Rainwater tanks save your home up to 40,000 litres of water per year! Also consider installing water saving devices such as dual-flush toilets and low-flow showerheads. Water-efficient showerheads reduce your water use by up to 40%; if you have an old showerhead, get these replaced with water efficient showerheads for a discounted price under the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Scheme.

Choose energy efficiency

From LED lights to washing machines and dishwashers, your choices matter. When you’re shopping for new appliances, always check their energy and water ratings to make sure they are efficient to reduce your carbon footprint. Low energy consumption scores mean less electricity used. If you’re using halogen lightbulbs, consider replacing them with LED lights, currently the most efficient form of lighting in market. LEDs use much less energy while producing the same amount of light as other forms of lighting, and although they are a bit more expensive to buy initially, they last much longer so you won’t need to replace them as often.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

We’re in the midst of a waste crisis, so before you buy anything, first ask yourself – do I really need it? If you can, buy fewer new items and opt for second hand. Op shops and vintage shops are a haven for pre-loved furniture, and you can get decent used appliances online as well (be sure to check their energy star rating). If you can’t avoid purchasing something new, be conscious of lifespan and recyclability. Reduce your waste to landfill and sort your waste correctly; make sure that you have a separate bin at home for recycling, soft plastics and organic waste.

Compost your food and garden waste

Composting helps you to significantly reduce the amount of waste you send to landfill. You can compost all sorts of organic waste including food scraps, tissues, cardboard, wilted flowers, tea leaves, and coffee grounds. Composting is especially great if you have a garden, as it will improve the soil structure and nutrient levels in the soil, helping your plants, veggies and fruit grow better! If you live in an apartment or don’t have a garden, you can still contribute your compost; some local councils have community composting sites, or you can find a compost near you using apps like ShareWaste.

Get in the know

Ready to lead a more sustainable lifestyle? See it in action, from the top sustainable homes across the country, to Terry’s home solar battery in Victoria. Or find out more ways to create your own sustainable home.