Published at: 8/26/2016 10:56:32 AM
There’s a real pay-off to focusing on homes with environmentally-friendly features. And it goes beyond the feel good factor all the way to your hip pocket.
The ‘green’ movement has become mainstream and it’s not just about nurturing the planet.
Looking for a first home with eco-friendly features can see you rewarded with generous savings on utility bills. It makes your home a more affordable place to live as well as providing the personal satisfaction that you’re doing your bit to save the planet.
Beat the heat
Eco-group Sustainability Victoria say that on a hot day the amount of heat coming through each square metre of windows facing east, west or north is similar to the heat generated by a small bar radiator.
Look for homes benefitting from natural shade like trees or man-made sun protection like exterior shutters. It’s a simple but effective way to save on summer cooling costs.
Keep cooling costs down
In some of our chillier southern states, home heating can account for one third of winter energy bills. Basic home features like weather-stripping or draught seals fitted around door frames and windows offer surprisingly effective protection against the cold.
Insulation is another must-have providing cost-effective comfort - and cutting heating and cooling bills by up to 40 percent. Take a peek in the roof cavity if possible to check the home is insulated.
A growing number of homes feature rainwater tanks, and this gives a source of free water to keep gardens green and reduce your eco-footprint. Check if the tank is, or could be, plumbed to the home’s existing pipework for flushing toilets to enjoy further reductions in water bills.
Energy efficient appliances
It’s worth taking a good look at the appliances that come with any home you’re interested in. Appliances can collectively account for 33 per cent of your energy bills. Where possible, check the energy rating labels that show how the energy performance of the product, and be mindful that older appliances can be real energy guzzlers.
Finally, check the hot water heater is a suitable size for your household. Water heating accounts for a whopping one-fifth of household energy use, and an oversized heater is going to chew through power unnecessarily.
 Sustainability Victoria media release: Beat the heat this summer and keep costs down, 13 January 2014
 Sustainability Victoria media release: Top tips to take the heat out of winter energy bills, 16 May 2013