Be savvy and save money: Tips for a sustainable home

Australians are becoming more and more environmentally conscious and consider sustainability to be a key factor when comes to making lifestyle choices, whether it’s how they commute, shop, dress, eat, or create and decorate their living spaces.

When it comes to living sustainably and making our homes eco-friendly, the good news is that small changes can have a big environmental impact and help you save money too.  

Sustainable home design 

A sustainable home is designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. For example, a sustainable home design takes advantage of natural light to reduce electricity consumption, while the building materials used should have a low carbon footprint in terms of its manufacture, shipping, installation, as well as ongoing maintenance.

In terms of size and layout, smaller homes tend to be more efficient as they require less energy to run. But no matter what your home looks like, there are many simple ways to make it more sustainable – from your choice of furniture and paint to controlled water and energy usage.  

Build or renovate with sustainable materials 

If building or renovating your home, consider the following factors:

Choose sustainable building supplies 

For sustainable home renovation, consider choosing eco-friendly materials that are sourced and processed to reduce their environmental impact – such as reclaimed wood, bamboo, cork, straw bales, or recycled steel. You can also find a range of natural insulation materials like sheep’s wool and cellulose fibre (made from recycled newsprint). It’s best to speak with your builder to see what options are available.   

Seal doors and windows 

Insulation is a huge contributor to a home’s energy efficiency – in fact, a fully-insulated home can reduce the cost of heating and cooling by around 40 to 50%. A good place to start is by installing double-glazed windows which can save you money on energy bills in the long run. You can also have your windows and doors sealed, either by a professional or through home DIY, to draught-proof your home.   

Use eco-friendly paint 

When working on DIY projects, the paint you choose can really matter. If you can, opt for water-based paints over oil-based ones – they contain natural pigments, are less toxic to manufacture, and are better for the indoor air quality of your home. 

Create green spaces 

Adding a green space to your home is not only great for the environment, but it also has health benefits, such as stress reduction and it could even improve your immune system. That’s why it’s no surprise that 2 in 5 Australians  are attracted to the sustainable lifestyle of a green nomad.

To enjoy these benefits from your own home, you can create a wildlife oasis in your backyard by investing in birdbaths, nest boxes, and bird feeders to help support your local flora and fauna. Even if you live in an apartment, it’s still possible to greenify your home with houseplants, a plant wall, or a veggie patch of potted plants on your balcony.

Support local businesses 

Wherever possible, shop locally, not just for materials and tools but also hire local tradespeople and repairers. This not only helps to support the local economy, but also ensures that tradies don’t have to travel long distances to get to your home. Not only will you be reducing their carbon footprint, but you may also save on paying additional travel fees. 

Responsible resource usage    

When selecting and installing equipment or appliances around the house, do your research and go with energy-efficient options where possible.

Get solar panels 

As a renewable energy source, solar power helps cut your carbon emissions and reduce your dependence on fossil fuels. Thanks to modern technology, solar panels can now last for many years, supplying electricity during the night and through power outages. So even though there’s an initial cost for switching to solar, you are more likely to end up paying a lot less for the power you use in the long run.  

Install rainwater tanks 

A rainwater tank collects stormwater and funnels it to different points of use throughout your home, such as the toilet, washing machine and outdoor hose. By decreasing the amount of tap water used for other household needs, it significantly reduces your water bill – while lessening harm to our waterways and easing demand on reservoirs or dams. 

Upgrade to water-efficient appliances 

The Australian Government’s Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme mandates that all water-using appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, showers, taps, and toilets must display a water rating out of six stars to show how efficient a product is and how much water is consumed per use. 

Checking the WELS rating before buying a new appliance can help you manage your water usage and help you save on your next water bill.

Be mindful of appliance energy ratings 

In Australia, many household appliances – including air conditioners, washing machines, dryers, fridges, and dishwashers – must display an Energy Rating Label, which provides information on their energy efficiency. 

While energy-efficient products may be more expensive to buy, over time they may cost less money to run. Use the Australian Government’s energy ratings calculator to help find and compare energy-efficient appliances. 

Eco-friendly DIY home projects 

Next time you’re thinking about putting a piece of furniture out for a council pick-up, consider upcycling it instead of getting rid of it. Not only will you give your household item a new lease on life, but you could end up creating something unique, useful, and ultimately prevent it from ending up in landfill. 

You can discover lots of DIY projects waiting to happen just by looking around your home, from converting drawers of an old side table or tallboy into planters for your garden or applying sun-safe paint to an old dining table and chairs to use as outdoor furniture. 

Instead of buying new wall art, you can breathe new life into old scarves, vintage fabrics or old jewellery by displaying them in frames around your home. 

You can also create collages using greeting cards you received, wrapping paper that’s too pretty to throw away and clippings from old magazines. Not only will you give your old belongings a second life, but it can also be a fun arts and craft project that could involve the whole family.

Sustainable living 

If you are one of the many Australians shifting your mindset about how you live and the impact your home has on our planet, then these home improvement ideas could be a good way to make your home more environmentally sustainable.

After making eco-friendly upgrades to your house, don’t forget to review your home insurance policy regularly to see that your home and contents has the level of protection you need. 

Find out more about Real Home Insurance online and get a quote today.