Lesson 1 – What Elements are Needed in Your Natural Building Home

Once you have decided to build you own home you have undertaken a life long journey. You need to start to skill-up on all the aspects you will need to make your dream a reality.

You need to start to think of and learn all the things you may want your home to have or perform. We like to think of those items as elements in the home.

So lets start the journey and see what exactly it takes to make the home of your dreams.

Elements of a Sustainable Home

Social sustainability: Safety + security + universal design = social sustainability
Environmental sustainability: Water efficiency + waste efficiency + energy efficiency = environmental sustainability
Economic sustainability: Cost-efficiency + peace of mind + higher resale value = economic sustainability

Social Sustainability

Safety

A safe and secure home reduces the likelihood of injuries in and around the home.

Security

A secure home uses designs and fittings to reduce crime.

Universal Design

A home that is universally designed is flexible and comfortable for people with varying abilities at different stages of their lives.

 

Environmental Sustainability

Water Efficiency

A sustainable home saves on water which also saves you money in the long term. You can be water efficient by choosing water-saving showers and taps and consider using water tanks for the garden and flushing the toilet.

Waste Efficiency

Careful design and planning can limit waste during initial construction. It may also reduce the need for expensive modifications as needs change.
For more information visit the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

Energy Efficiency

A sustainable home reduces energy consumption, saving money for you and your family. Passive solar design features such as house orientation, ventilation, insulation and adequate shading can improve energy efficiency. In many cases, you can keep your home cool in summer and warm in winter without artificial heating and cooling devices.

 

Economic Sustainability

A sustainable house is cost-efficient. This means smart features are included in the initial design and construction, reducing the cost of changes in the future.

Sustainable design principles and choice of construction materials can have a considerable effect on initial costs, as well as costs over the life of the house.

A sustainable house achieves cost-efficiencies in many ways:

Construction Costs

You can achieve cost savings at the initial design and construction stage through the use of cost-efficient building materials, economic planning and ‘smart’ ideas. For example, standardising the size of wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, windows and bathroom vanities and specifying recycled and readily available materials can save money.

Ongoing Running Costs

Ongoing costs can really add up over the life of the home. Significant savings are to be gained by carefully considering the design of the home and which fixtures and fittings to include. For example, energy-efficient showers and taps use less hot water and can save up to $100 or more a year on energy bills.

Living Costs

Smart design features can save you money on a variety of everyday expenses such as cleaning, replacements and repairs as a result of accidents and breakages.

Long-term Maintenance Costs

Careful choice and selection of materials and the well-thought out design of a smart and sustainable home reduces repair and ongoing maintenance costs. Ask your builder or designer to assist you to prepare an indicative maintenance management plan at the initial design stage. Often the ongoing and long-term savings will outweigh any initial cost.

Future Modification Costs

People’s needs change over time. A couple becomes a family, an individual makes the move to work from home or an older person becomes less mobile. Each will require their home to work in different ways.

Altering an existing home to accommodate changing needs can cost up to three times more than including the same features in the initial design and build stage. A sustainable house has been designed in accordance with universal design principles, and will work for a range of people of different ages and abilities.

Resale Value

Sustainable home features can lead to a greater demand for your home – the greater the demand, the higher the resale value as it will meet the needs of a greater range of people and therefore attract a larger market.

With a massive increase in our ageing population and more people wanting to stay in their own home longer, a flexible and accessible home will become an increasingly valuable commodity.

Peace of Mind

In a sustainable home, the design and choice of fixtures and fittings have been carefully considered to ensure the safety and well-being of the occupants. This may reduce the risk of injury and therefore save on medical expenses, hospital bills and lost wages due to time off work.

Cost Efficiency for our Community

Cost-efficient housing also means savings for our community by reducing the cost of housing on the environment; reducing the likelihood of injury and the burden on the health care system; and reducing the incidence and cost of crime.

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