Building a new home? Going green is a no-brainer when you consider the many well-researched benefits it brings.
- Reduced Costs
By providing more energy-efficient insulation, water heaters, lighting and appliances, a green home typically saves on operating costs. Plus it reduces the overall life-time cost of maintaining a home.
Since 2008, higher insulation requirements in the Building Code have resulted in new homes (and extensions to existing homes) using about 30% less energy to achieve comfortable indoor air temperatures.
- The Comfort Factor
We’d all like to live in a home that performs well and enhances our lifestyle. A better-designed, drier home is warmer in winter and cooler in summer, making it more comfortable to live in.
Energy efficient homes make the most of the sun through north-facing windows and thermal mass materials such as concrete floors. Sealing your home against the elements with airtight insulation stops drafts which compromise air temperature, making it easier and cheaper to heat your home. Ventilation is also key to removing moisture which makes a home harder to heat.
Incorporating energy efficient design features in your new build provides comfort all-year round.
- For the Sake of Your Health
Damp, cold, and mouldy houses are associated with poor health. Insulating homes makes them warmer and drier, while lowering energy use.
A study of 1350 households for the Otago University’s Housing and Research Programme showed fitting insulation significantly improves the health of those who live there. Those who installed insulation reported less wheezing, fewer days off school or work, fewer doctor visits and fewer hospital admissions for respiratory conditions.
Inadequate ventilation is associated with a higher risk of airborne infectious disease transmission as well as the accumulation of pollutants and dampness. Dampness is relatively easy to fix. Smart airflow systems control and eliminate moisture from your home. And using low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) and low-toxic interior paints can reduce toxins, increasing air quality in a home.
- Water Savings
Saving water reduces both your water and energy bill. Water heating is usually around a third of your total energy cost. By installing more efficient, environmentally friendly systems including WELs rated tapware, Energy Star labelled appliances and recycled water systems, you can dramatically minimise your water use and wastage.
- Better Re-Sale
Many aspects of energy efficiency are not yet required by Councils. But international building trends indicate that’s likely to change in a few years. There’s now a huge appetite for energy efficient design among buyers worldwide.
Recent US studies confirm that from January 2015, the market demand for houses built to green standards was 10% to 14% more than for comparable homes without them. Upfront investment in green building makes properties more valuable, with an average expected increase in value of 4%. Through lowered maintenance and energy costs, the return on investment from green building is rapid: green retrofit projects are generally expected to pay for themselves in just seven years.
Results from the Homestar/realestate.co.nz survey released late 2014 showed modern homes are most sought after. 88% say efficient homes can sell for more. Orientation to the sun was rated as important by 86% of respondents in 2013. Three years later, that had risen to 91%. A high level of insulation is now ranked as important by 90%. Real life performance of a home rather than cosmetic features is crucial.
By building a green home now, you will be more comfortable, enjoy many health benefits and energy savings. Plus it’s good to know the value of your asset will increase far more than a standard home.