No excuses: we should all try to reduce the size of our carbon footprint.
It’s clearer than ever that selling a home is about more than just a great location and pretty paint colours. Being green is a major selling point, too. There’s no way of escaping it: wherever you go, you may unintentionally be adding to your carbon footprint, illustrating how wasteful and unsustainable your lifestyle is. From the type of car you drive to your choice of grocery provider, you wear your green credentials on your sleeve.
But however guilty you feel about your turbocharged SUV and penchant for using plastic bags, the likelihood is that your home is your most carbon-rich, energy-burning crime. So, if you’re really serious about being eco-friendly, the best place to begin your quest is at home. Eco-friendly houses don’t have to be weird-looking and expensive. Anybody who is serious about reducing their carbon footprint can start making changes immediately.
Read on for the savvy technology that you probably never thought about and snag some of that green living for yourself.
We’re living in an age of profound change, when things are rapidly evolving and constantly variable, from the way we drive our cars to how we travel, eat and everything in between. The world is full of innovative human and technological advancement. Among these great wonders of progress is the way we power our homes. While governments are becoming more and more environmentally conscious, the individual need to be responsible when it comes to renewable energy is all the more crucial. Enter solar energy.
“Now, more than ever before, customers are looking not just for a solar system, but a fully integrated home solar and energy storage solution with back-up power,” says Chris Williams, CEO and founder of Natural Solar. “Smart battery solutions such as the sonnenBatterie give households far greater flexibility as to when and how they use their electricity, while at the same time hedging against future electricity price increases and adding considerable asset value to their house. In the past 12 months, with the end of gross feed in tariffs and a 20 per cent price hike from energy retailers, we are seeing savvy Aussie consumers research solutions that not only save them money, but are also at the forefront of technology.”
Solar energy is environmental friendly, safe and in abundant supply. After all, the sun makes a regular appearance every day. Moreover, solar systems are far better for the environment and can help offset energy costs for homeowners. Yes, costs. That’s what it all comes down to in the end, doesn’t it? “In some cases, the best return on investment may be a solar system only but, in most cases, households benefit more by being able to store the excess daytime solar production in their batteries and drawing this power back from their battery when coming home from work,” explains Chris. “It is all about maximising self consumption and avoiding sending power back to the grid for peanuts.”
One way you can incorporate solar into your home is with an Enphase system. The Enphase home energy solution comes with storage added, allowing users to generate, store and manage their home’s energy by tracking production and consumption. “Tightly integrated by a single provider, the Enphase home energy solution gives you assurance that all its applications work well together,” says Olivia Smith, Enphase communications manager. “It adapts to changes in your household and changes on the electric grid over time, so you’re never caught off guard by your power bill.” With no single point of failure, accessible monitoring via the MyEnlighten app and increased performance thanks to higher energy harvest gain, the Enphase system is a worthwhile investment.
Tesla is also offering the best of the best with the Powerwall 14kWh lithium-ion battery pack with liquid thermal control system, integrated inverter and intelligent software that dispatches electricity. The 120kg battery can be wall or floor mounted (inside or out) and features a fully integrated Tesla inverter. The Powerwall is also integrated with the grid to export excess energy, maximising the opportunity for economic benefit. Like Enphase, Tesla’s Powerwall comes with an app that monitors and manages the system and allows users to reserve a percentage of their Powerwall energy for emergencies or power outages. With a usable capacity of 13.5kWh, 5kW continuous power and 7kW peak power, the Powerwall is ideal for use in our sunburnt country.
Builders are increasingly searching for innovative building solutions to meet demands for faster build times, trade shortages and reduced construction costs, as well as the constantly changing regulatory demands for more energy-efficient and sustainable homes.
Responding to these needs, Australia’s leading building materials innovator, local manufacturer and solutions provider Bondor which has launched a cost-effective luxury wall solution called LuxeWall. The nifty invention is a lightweight energy-efficient architectural exterior wall cladding for facades, general walling and fire-rated boundary walls with much faster installation to meet the demands of today’s residential builders and growing population.
Making your home eco-friendly — and chic at that — doesn’t have to cause you sleepless nights in anticipation. This range delivers outstanding pre-finished architectural finishes, with flush-look walling and corner modules available in a range of trending matt and metallic Colorbond shades, as well as texture coating options for a more traditional masonry appearance.
Even one environmentally friendly change can make a positive contribution to reducing your carbon footprint. LuxeWall creates sustainable and energy-efficient homes by reducing energy usage for heating and cooling.
Its superior thermal performance and air leakage control, through its interlocking wall modules, acts as a thermal barrier, making it easier than ever to go green. Sustainability isn’t something we normally associate with style, but this product proves it can be done.
A Queensland University of Technology (QUT) study into the use of Bondor’s InsulLiving building system has found InsulLiving homes performed the equivalent of an 8.5 to nine-star energy rating. QUT’s research team conducted air tightness tests and thermal imaging on five homes constructed using Bondor’s innovative InsulLiving building products — InsulWall and SolarSpan — to measure air and heat leakage. InsulLiving homes averaged an air leakage rate of 4.4, with a Mount Gambier home achieving a leakage rate of just two, compared to a rate of 15 for a typical new Australian home (CSIRO 2015). The air leakage rate measures the number of times per hour that the whole volume of air in a home is exchanged with the air outside. Reducing air and thermal leakage can significantly reduce the energy demand to heat or cool a home. QUT’s Dr Wendy Miller says testing showed InsulLiving results in a home with much better air and thermal tightness than traditional stick-frame construction. Well, we’re convinced.
Make a difference with these eco-friendly products that will keep your home responsibly powered and furnished.
On those extreme summer scorchers, some form of mechanical cooling is a tempting option. An increasing number of Australians certainly think so, as air conditioners in Australian households have more than doubled in the last 10 years. The problem is air conditioners are energy guzzlers and their increased use, especially during heatwaves, is placing a burden on energy supplies. Thankfully, the legends at Daikin have introduced the US7. Featuring a seven-star energy rating, it is the highest-rated and most energy-efficient split system on the Australian (and New Zealand) market. The US7 is an all-in-one system with not only heating and cooling capabilities, but also advanced air purification technologies, humidification and dehumidification functions. Its next-generation R32 refrigerant has a substantially lower Global Warming Potential Factor than the common R410A, providing am eco-friendly solution to keeping you cool.
When it comes to giving us relief from the heat in summer, anything that may even marginally make us cooler is a welcomed addition, but standingin front of the opened fridge is not exactly the most efficient solution. But a ceiling fan is a good way to stay cool in summer without high energy consumption. Providing exceptional cooling comfort, the award-winning Essence fan is both a money-saving machine and a design masterpiece for larger spaces, indoors and out. Ranging from 2.4-4.3m in diameter, Essence features a silent, gearless direct-drive motor that provides high volumes of air movement at low speeds, without disrupting the environment. This air movement makes you feel up to 6°C cooler, allowing you to either run your air con at a higher thermostat set point or turn it off completely. Hang a work of art on your ceiling with Essence and make your home more eco-friendly, without sacrificing comfort.
In Australia, the sun is almost always shining, so having a solar panel on your roof with a few kilowatts is a smart move as it can go a long way to reducing your power bill. But typical solar tiles have their downsides. They are heavy, unsightly and can only be fitted on certain areas of a roof, usually those that face the street. They can spoil the look of a beautiful roof and require a crane to install. To solve this problem, Monier has come up with its own modular and sleek tile-integrated solar panels, which blend in nicely with the rest of the roof. They are called SOLARtiles and they have all the benefits of a regular solar panel but none of the drawbacks. Even better, existing tiled roofs can have this technology embedded directly into them (provided they have the right specs).
Conscious consumer demand for eco-friendly and ethically sourced furniture isn’t showing any signs of slowing down — and for good reason. Thankfully, choosing sustainable furniture doesn’t mean you have to compromise style. Sydney-based JD.Lee Furniture offers high-quality products made with the environment (and style) in mind. “The importance of sustainable crafted furniture and its focus on longevity is at the forefront of our design process,” says Jeremy Lee, founder of the eponymous brand. “With a holistic approach to furniture design and manufacturing, we aim to reduce our waste and energy consumption to the best of our ability. We focus on using sustainable sources of timber, non-toxic glues and natural finishes, though we are of the understanding that the best thing we can do as consumers is buy less. That’s why our aim is to design simple pieces that won’t change seasonally and that are built to last.”
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