Adding eco-friendly features to your property wish-list can be a big money-saver.
The planet needs our support, and your household budget could probably use a helping hand too. That’s why it can pay to look for a home with “green” features. It’s an opportunity to slash utility bills and boost the wellbeing of the environment – and your family.
Check out our top 8 green home features to save money and show the planet some love.
1. Good orientation and design
Home heating and cooling accounts for a whopping 40% of household power bills. So instead of scoping for an air-conditioner, look for floorplans that allow good cross-ventilation. It helps to capture cooling breezes and reduce moisture build-up that can encourage mould growth.
Consider a home’s orientation too – whether it faces north or south, or if it is positioned to capture cooling breezes. Good orientation can reduce or even eliminate the need for energy-guzzling heating and cooling appliances. The ozone layer will love you for it.
Insulation is a must for year-round comfort, and it can almost halve cooling and heating bills.
Good insulation can also make a home healthier by lowering the risk of unhealthy mould and damp. So ask the selling agent if a property is insulated or take a peek in the roof cavity to check for yourself.
3. Ceiling fans
The humble ceiling fan has a lot going for it. They are super cheap to run, potentially adding just two cents per hour to your electricity bill – 20 times less than split system air conditioning. It makes fans a feature to look for. Just be sure to flick the switch on any ceiling fans to check they run smoothly and quietly.
4. Double glazed windows
Nothing beats windows for letting in natural light. The downside is that glass is a poor insulator. In winter up to 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost through windows. And in summer, those same windows can be responsible for 87% of interior heat.
Curtains and blinds can offer some relief. But if you find a place with double glazed windows take a closer look. By trapping hot or cold air between the two panes, double glazing can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs.
5. An efficient hot water service
Surprised? Don’t be. Water heating can account for one-quarter of our household energy bills. It can make an energy efficient hot water heater a must-have feature. But what exactly does a low energy system look like?
Solar hot water heaters are often the cheapest to run. If that’s not an option, look for a continuous flow, or “instantaneous” system – these only heat water as it’s needed. Another energy efficient choice is a heat pump.
6. Appliances with a high energy rating
Homes are often sold with at least a few appliances in place – typically a dishwasher or air-conditioner. (The contract of sale should specify which appliances are included in the sale. Do check this so you know exactly what you’re buying).
It’s important to look at the energy star-rating of these appliances – the more stars, the less power they use. A dishwasher with a low energy efficiency rating for instance can cost 24 times more to run each year than an appliance with a 10-star rating.
7. Rainwater tanks
Harvesting natural rainwater can be a big money saver. A water tank can potentially cut mains water use by 40%, a saving that can put an extra $196 back in your hip pocket each year. It also means you can water the garden guilt-free even when water restrictions apply.
8. Native plants
If you’re looking for a house rather than an apartment, a garden filled with native species should be on your radar.
Native plants tick a lot of boxes for eco-friendliness. They are drought tolerant, low maintenance, require less watering than non-native species, and the local wildlife population including birds, butterflies and lizards will thank you for providing plants that offer food and shelter.
When you find a place you love, talk to your Aussie Broker today about the home loan that’s right for your needs.
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