Posts Tagged environment

Do Sustainable Features Affect the Sale Price of a House?

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


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Give your home a green clean

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:

No chemicals

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

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Guest Blog – Switch on: Make the move to LED lighting

About our guest blogger: Michael Downie is the General Manager of Philips Lighting Australia and New Zealand.

We can’t survive in modern society without electric lighting. It’s absolutely everywhere we go – in our homes, places of work, the cars we drive and the streets we live on. Lighting is so ubiquitous that most of us don’t even notice it – until it’s not there.

So it may surprise you to learn that lighting consumes nearly 20 percent of all electricity in the world and almost one third of New South Wales and Victoria’s electricity is used in the home, with between seven and nine percent used for lighting.

As such, there has been a big focus on finding alternatives to the humble light globe. After all, we can’t live without light, so we have to find ways to live better with light.

A technology innovation, which has recently made a big step forward for consumers, is LED (Light Emitting Diode). As energy consumption is directly proportional to a globe’s wattage, LEDs use as little as 4 watts, while incandescent globes commonly used around the home typically use between 40 and 100 watts.

The biggest benefit of LED light is that it uses less than 80 percent of the energy used in traditional light bulbs. Using an LED bulb all day is the equivalent of turning an incandescent light globe off for 19 hours of the day. With an average Australian household having 50 light points, that is a significant reduction in energy.

Another plus for LED is that it lasts an extremely long time, much longer than a traditional incandescent globe. Current LED lamps on the market last from 15,000 to 25,000 hours. So not only are you saving on energy bills, but your replacement costs are significantly reduced over the lifetime of the bulb.

Finally, it is very easy to use LED bulbs in any home, as they can be used in existing light sockets. You don’t need to install any special light fittings; just take out your old light bulb and put in the new one – good LED bulbs should come in both bayonet and Edison screw bases, just like traditional light globes do.

The good news for Australian households is that LED lighting is becoming increasingly affordable and more widely available, such as your supermarket. Making the switch to LED is not only good for your energy bill, its good for the environment and as easy as changing a light bulb.

Other ways to reduce energy in your home through lighting

  • If you are building or renovating, avoid having to use artificial lighting during the day by installing energy efficient windows and skylights to optimise the use of natural daylight. You don’t need to install huge skylights in order to get the benefits of natural daylight inside
  • Use motion sensors on outdoor lights, and set the ‘on’ time to as little as you need
  • Use ‘task’ lights, which are efficient table or floor lamps for specific tasks, rather than lighting the whole room to a high level
  • Use multiple and two-way light switches where you can, rather than one switch for all the lights in one room. If a room has more than one entrance, install switches at each entrance to make it easier to turn off the lights when leaving the room.

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