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There has been much debate over the years as to whether going green gets you green – do sustainable features improve the selling price of a house?
Some studies have demonstrated that consumers are less willing to pay a higher price for green-rated homes when times are hard economically. A definitive study was recently conducted in California from 2007 to early 2012, covering the unusually-large number of 1.6 million houses. The Los Angeles Times and Washington Post both ran articles about it. It found that green certification improves the selling price of a house by an average of nine percent. It also discovered “the Prius effect” – if an area housed consumers who supported environmental conservation, it was evident from increased ownership of hybrid cars, and in such areas people were more willing to fork out a premium for green-certified houses. Where there were less Priuses, people were less willing to spend more.
This research was carried out by Nils Kok of the Netherlands’ Maastricht University and Matthew E. Kahn of UCLA. Kok is presently a visiting scholar to the University of California. The effects of locational factors such as amenities like views and pools, the data of the sale, crime rates and school districts were eliminated.
Green homes could negatively affect the environment because, being further from the centres of cities, they require a longer commute to work. Despite this, Kok and Kahn are firmly of the belief that the green characteristics of homes – which produce considerable reductions in energy bills – should be highlighted.
The nine percent premium for green homes is similar to results obtained in Europe, where houses that are energy-efficient are more common. One study found that homes with an “A” rating under the system of the European Union fetched 10 percent more, while houses that were rated poorly sold for substantially less.
Houses are more green if they have insulation, an efficient heating system, an energy recovery system, appliances that use less energy, lower-energy lightbulbs, low-flow plumbing and double glazing. This latter also improves the appearance of a house. Hardwood floors are more durable and easier to clean than carpet or vinyl, although they absorb less noise. The flashing and caulks of sidings and roofs should be effective. Gutters should guide water away from the house, and could terminate in barrels so the water can be used on the garden or to clean a car.
This article has been written for Your Future Home by Timothy Chilman who writes internet content on behalf of www.homesales.com.au
When most homes think of a “green friendly” cleaning processes, many think the old mop and bucket may be a good fit. It is common to think that using a mop and bucket is sustainable because you can control how much water you use, as well as the amount of chemicals that go into it.
However, the mop and bucket is an outdated, 3000 years old cleaning process that not only has negative repercussions on the environment due to its water wastage and overuse of chemicals but it is mostly ineffective due to the “wiping” of dirt rather than the removal.
Below are 3 key ways to implement a sustainable cleaning process for your home:
Using chemical sprays to get rid of stale odours only “covers” up the problem and is merely a short-term solution. Using a microfibre cloth and wiping down a surface, whether it be a window sill or hard floor, is a highly effective option that eliminates the need for synthetic chemicals which leave behind volatile organic compounds.
The number one rule to remember when it comes to stale odours and smells is that “no smell is a clean smell”.
Less water usage
Traditional carpet cleaning methods use large volumes of water, which also results in damp surfaces creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Steam vapour at a high temperature eliminates all mould, dirt, grime, bacteria and odours from all flooring surfaces, from carpets to ceramic tiles. The amount of super heated dry steam to clean an entire home can be produced from as little as one litre of water. With steam, you will ultimately see your water consumption decrease by as much as 90 per cent.
Less energy consumption
Using time efficient and more effective cleaning equipment doesn’t just reduce the manual effort it takes to clean, but the power and energy used to keep these machines running.
Mechanically driven brush systems and machines that provide a 3 in one approach use significantly less power than their traditional counterparts. How much energy would you save it you could cut down the cleaning time by 75 per cent for each room?
Avoid increasing your carbon footprint
Thinking of ways your home can carbon offset its cleaning equipment is a way in which you can make your machine cleaning 100 per cent sustainable. A way that homes can do this is by using their dirty waste water by pouring it onto their gardens.
If you are using the right machine, your water waste should be 100 per cent chemical free, eliminating any potential harm to the environment.
This article has been written for Your Future Home by Murray McDonald, Director Duplex Cleaning Machines www.duplexcleaning.com.au
Power used by appliances can account for 25% of the total energy consumed in an average household. As the majority of these energy-sucking devices use a built-in standby mode even when they are not operating, power is consumed day and night. Switching off these ‘vampires’ at the power-socket eliminates standby power – saving the average household at least $120 per year on their electricity bills.
On average, household standby power consumption remains at around 10% of total residential energy consumption. Nationwide, gadgets in standby power mode cost Australian consumers an extra $1.1 billion per annum in energy costs and result in nearly 5.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
The number of appliances that run on mains power in a typical house has increased to 67 (ranging from a low of 26 to as many as 175 appliances in some homes). The home office and home entertainment categories now equate to over two thirds of standby power consumption, with both big vampire gadgets like computers and smaller vampires like phone chargers. NB: phone chargers are a particularly sneaky species of vampire as they consume standby power even when the phone is unattached!
The worst offenders (in terms of power consumption in standby and off modes) are:
- Computers and related equipment;
- LCD and plasma televisions;
- Set top boxes;
- DVD recorders;
- Games consoles;
- iPod docking stations;
- Integrated and portable stereos.
However any appliance that requires a remote control or has a digital clock display will suck energy, even when not in use. Some less well known vampires include: counter-top appliances such as microwaves, coffee machines, bread makers and mixers. Less obtrusive vampires include camera battery chargers, electric toothbrushes and cordless power tools. And even many energy star-rated appliances keep their clock settings when turned off.
Have you had enough of the vampires invading your home and wallet? Forget about a wooden stake through the heart, to kill a vampire you simply need to eliminate its source of power by switching off at the wall. If you find it hard to reach power sockets stuck behind furniture (or simply find it difficult to remember), consider using an EcoSwitch to wage the war. With a single flick of the green glowing switch, those energy-sucking vampires will soon become nothing more than folklore!
This article was provide to Your Future Home by Paula on behalf of EcoSwitch www.ecoswitch.com.au
Outdoor shading is an essential part of a home’s energy saving strategy and awnings have long been considered a great solution. The role of an awning is to provide the flexibility to regulate the amount of solar energy that reaches the facade, especially glass, of your home. Awnings reduce the ability for solar energy to be converted to radiant heat in your home benefitting your living space with comfortable levels of visual light and more flexibility to naturally ventilate your home.
In Winter, an awning is best utilised to reduce visual light transmission when required and is retracted when you want the solar energy to heat your house.
In Summer, the awning shields your façade from solar energy reducing visual light combined with massively reducing solar load, which converts to radiant heat on contact with any exposed surface. The passive control of solar energy with external awnings saves you money and saves the environment. Reduced reliance on mechanical equipment costs such as air conditioning and heating ultimately reduces your energy bills and is less demanding of utility infrastructure and natural resources.
- Direct radiation from the sun is the most important component shading has to address. Reflected light is strongly influenced by the reflecting surface. For example grass will reflect 20 – 30% and snow more than 70%. Single pane glass reflects only less than 5%.
- External shading devices are the most effective in reducing heat gains because they intercept and dissipate most of the heat in solar radiation before it reaches the building’s surface. This differs to internal shading where the sun’s rays hit the building or window and then traps the heat in. This heat is hard to remove.
- With a markilux awning it’s possible to achieve a 95% reduction in solar thermal energy radiation, however the average awning should block out about 80% of the heat load.
- Recent statistics by the NSW Government estimate that the average Australian home spends $265 a year on airconditioning. By installing adequate outdoor shading and appropriate awnings you can eliminate the use of air conditioning all together or reduce it by up to 75%
- It is estimated that adequate external window coverings can reduce carbon pollution by 200 kgs each year.
TIPS WHEN CHOOSING AN ENERGY SAVING AWNING
The type of awning that you choose to install is also crucial to the savings and energy saving outcome. The traditional image of an awning (ie: a scalloped piece of cloth and bit of metal!) has been replaced by modern outdoor shading solutions. The modern markilux awning incorporates energy saving ability but also design, image and aesthetics, adapting themselves ideally to their surroundings and giving sun protection of
the highest quality.
- TYPE: When it comes to energy savings, there is no real difference in retractable or fixed awnings during peak Summer months, as they are both effective at blocking sunlight and reducing energy usage. During the Winter however, some homeowners may prefer retractable or adjustable awnings because they can be retracted or adjusted to expose more of the window glass and thus let more light and heat in.
- SIZE: Proper sizing is important to optimise for blocking the summer sun and allowing the winter sun to shine through for passive solar heating.
- POSITION: The orientation of the window to the sun as well as your latitude, affect how far away the awning must project from the house wall. In Australia, awnings should be fitted to north, east and west facing windows and are more effective for blocking out morning and afternoon rays than internal blinds, curtains or shutters. Window awnings can reduce solar heat gain in the summer by approximately 65% on south-facing windows and 77% on west and north-facing windows.
- CIRCULATION: Awnings require ventilation to keep hot air from becoming trapped around the window. Grommets (eyelets) or other openings along the tops and sides of an awning can provide ventilation. The awning may also open to the sides or top to vent hot air. An awning can greatly assist in the ability to naturally ventilate your living space improving air quality.
- MATERIAL: Choose fabrics that have a minimum 98%UV and 50+SPF factor. Lighter coloured fabrics will be cooler and lighter underneath and darker coloured fabrics absorb the heat more, so can be warmer and darker under the awning. Quality is key. The fabric should be water resistant, durable, tear proof and not susceptible to rot, quick drying, resistant to heat, cold and other environmental influences.
This article has been provided to Your Future Home by Tess from The Guides on behalf of Markilux. For information on Markilux products visit www.markilux.com.au
- Be sure to choose a professional who is suitably accredited and qualified to install air conditioning systems. Improper installation can result in leaky ducts and poor air flow as well as diminished performance levels.
- Properly maintaining and cleaning the air filters in the air conditioning system can save money and extend the life of the unit. Fujitsu offers a vast range of split systems to choose from and the front panel can be easily removed for cleaning.
- Be mindful of the space you are air conditioning. Are the doors and windows closed when the system is in use and is the ceiling insulated? All these factors can affect heat retention in the room and how efficiently your system will operate.
- Using timer settings on air conditioning systems helps manage energy consumption as well as home comfort. By setting the unit to turn on before the household wakes for the day, or gets home from school or work, gives the home time to warm up and means less demand is placed on the system when the home is occupied.
Check out Fujitsu’s great new energy management technologies at www.fujitsugeneral.com.au
These tips have been provided to Your Future Home by Emily Kennedy from Write Away Communication + Events on behalf of Fujitsu General.
Many property owners are recognising need to think green – not just for the environment but also to save money. With the increasing drive to GO GREEN it is a perfect time to focus on environmentally friend products available in the home building and renovation market.
There is an ongoing shift towards people wanting to use natural free energy sources when building or renovating. Rain water tank expert Liza Joubert is calling on all home owners to think more about the energy we use and waste in our homes and how we can change our wasteful ways.
There is a huge variety of green products available and most people don’t realise that eco-friendly does not mean more expensive. But we all really need to start preparing now to save water, electricity and become more energy efficient.
According to Liza, a sustainable house could consider the eco products available for the home.
- Rain harvesting tanks: This means free and good quality and the opportunity to save money on water usage bills
- Solar energy: For the home or pool heating this is the perfect way to save money and power
- Shower heads and new dual flush toilets: These save water in the home
- Water wise gardens: Choosing plants and landscaping that suits the hot summers is the best way to save water
- Insulation: saving energy and save on your power usage bill
With the increases in utility bills, there is a real movement towards educating consumers about being more environmentally friendly in their homes and choosing green products.
This article was provided to Your Future Home by Liza Joubert from www.jojotanks.com.au
Solar power is gradually becoming an energy source that supplements traditional energy supplies and results in energy efficiency, cheaper power bills and a reduction in carbon emissions.
A new air-conditioning system has recently become available in Australia that combines solar power and traditional energy – the Sealey Solar Hybrid Air-Conditioner.
Easy Efficiency is the first distributor of this sustainable air-conditioning system in NSW. Nathan Barton, Director of Easy Efficiency, said he chose to distribute this air-conditioner for a number of reasons:
“This hybrid unit uses half the power of a standard electric air-conditioning system, and as a result emits half the amount of carbon into the atmosphere,” Nathan Barton, said.
The cost of running the unit is also half that of a standard air-conditioning system, and it actually pays for itself in energy savings.
“The Sealey Solar Hybrid Air-conditioner can be used in homes and small to medium businesses and heats and cools. Units have already been nstalled across Australia – from the cooler temperatures of Tasmania to the hot humid temperatures of Far North Queensland.
This new solar hybrid unit has also been quality tested in a number of areas. It has undergone rigorous testing by a division of the SGS Australian laboratories and meets and exceeds all Australian standards. They have achieved the quality management rating: ISO9001 and achieved seven years of the highest ratings.
Designed for commercial and household use, they are built to last and come with a 5-year warranty.
“Their durability is great for the consumer, “ said Nathan Barton, “and it’s also good from a sustainability point of view, as the Sealey unit has a long life expectation.”
Its durability has been achieved by using state-of-the-art technology and quality parts. They include Toshiba compressors, and use inverter technology. This results in power savings, has a longer lifetime, and makes them whisper quiet and ozone friendly.
This article was written for Your Future Home by Lisa Stallard on behalf of Easy Efficiency. More information about the Sealey Solar Hybrid Air-Conditioner can be found at www.easyefficiency.com.au