Practical choices make for a more sustainable home
It is very pleasing to see our ‘throw-away society’ is beginning to move out of its thoughtless ‘disposable cycle’. We are beginning to realise how much damage we have done, (and continue to do), not only to our environment but to our own hip pockets by not taking into consideration what products are made from and how they are manufactured. When a short life expectancy is built-in to generate more sales, as consumers, it costs us more in dollars — but the extra imbedded energy that’s wasted costs our environment. As dedicated ‘energy efficient’ builders, we are seeing a much greater awareness and distaste of this wasted energy among people wanting to build sustainably. There is much we already do to eliminate this: for example, we use termimesh as a permanent termite barrier — a once-off cost — rather than the poisonous chemical termite barriers that must be reapplied frequently and regularly for the life of a home. Using naturally termite-resistant cypress pine frames for your home makes a lot more practical sense cost-wise, than using chemically treated T2 pine or manufactured steel frame for your home with its high imbedded energy cost. Again, from a recurring cost perspective, it’s important to fit out the interior of your home with both durability and longevity in mind. This means choosing high-quality products that will remain serviceable for the life of your home and that will age gracefully. This is particularly pertinent when it comes to kitchen and bathrooms — the ‘big ticket’ rooms. Products used in these rooms, like tapware, can come with varying warranties — some with none. Better quality tapware, like the Phoenix brand standard in Geoff Gibson Homes, come with a 15-year manufacturer’s warranty. This attention to sustainability detail also applies to electrical appliances like cook tops, range hoods and ovens. Generally, the less expensive appliances have shorter life expectancies than better quality appliances. Omega, for instance, comes with a 5-year manufacturer warranty, working out cheaper and far better for the environment in the long run. It’s often not fully appreciated, but locally sourced products have less imbedded energy costs — therefore cheaper to buy — than products sourced interstate or from overseas. Transportation and fuel being the main contributing factors. As always, ask as many questions as you like, when trying to save as much as you can. A sustainable home is always going to cost less to run — surely that’s your goal.