There is a lot of talk, posts, blogs and videos about how we as homeowners can reduce our energy consumption to combat climate change and save money whilst improving comfort in our homes. It can all seem overwhelming and too expensive so it oftens gets put into the ‘too hard’ basket.
Sustainability Victoria have produced a great little video about this very topic, and we are sure you’ll find some great tips particularly when planning a new build.
But, if you have an established home, what can you do to be warmer in winter, cooler in summer, save on your energy bills yet not have to spend a fortune trying to achieve this?
Let’s look at the key elements covered in the video:
- Insulation – ceilings, walls and underfloors
- Windows – orientation, double glazing and coverings – blinds and curtains
- Ventilation and draught proofing
- Appliances and Lighting.
In an established home, it can be very costly to address some of these aspects.
Change out your windows for double glazing, add outdoor blinds or heavy internal window coverings. According to the building code, windows should be 20% of your wall space. Design trends favour larger windows for lots of natural light and to bring the outdoors in. Double glazing is incredibly effective but if up to 80% of your walls are not insulated, then that is a huge space from which air can transfer; losing warm air in winter and absorbing heat in summer.
Downlights have been trending for years and are standard in many homes. To change from LED’s to pendant lights, there is the investment in the pendants for each space, a sparkie to perform the electrical work and then a plasterer and painter to fill the multiple holes left in the ceiling and re paint.
Heating and cooling systems, hot water systems, ovens, microwaves, fridges, washing machines, dryers and on the list goes! These can be replaced over time as needs be with more energy efficient models.
Now there is a cost-effective way to address issues of thermal comfort and energy savings. If you want to look at return on investment, then insulation is hands down the winner. It provides the thermal benefits all year round and can save as much as 45% on your energy bills. Draught proofing can be easily reviewed as part of your insulation package also.
Let’s take the example of a 120 sq mt home and compare insulation and double glazing of windows as a simple example.
Insulation can be added to the ceilings, walls and under-floors along with draught proofing of doors and window frames for about $10,000 all up.
If you want to double glaze your windows, for the same sq. mt considering windows must be a min of 20% of your overall wall space, the cost is $34,000.
Still think you don’t need to insulate your existing home?