As environmentally-conscious living becomes a more mainstream way of life, an eco-friendly home is becoming synonymous with style as well as sustainability,.
The prestige and desirability of a house that is kind to our earth is matched by the ultimate cost-saving benefits it can bring. Having an eco-friendly home is also a strong statement about its owner’s values and the investment they are willing to make to help the environment.
It may seem a daunting prospect to turn an existing home into an eco-friendly building, particularly a traditional Mosman property such as an old Victorian or Federation house. In reality, the age, size and construction of your house need not be a barrier. There are many ways to upgrade your home to be more environmentally friendly.
Heat and cool in a sustainable way
Insulation may not be glamorous but it’s the best place to start if you are looking to do your part to help save the planet. Keeping the heat in and the cold out is easier if you have good wall, ceiling and floor insulation. Double-glazed windows are also a must to prevent heat loss, and external blinds will keep west-facing rooms cooler. This means less need for heaters or air conditioners, so less burning of fossil fuels.
Solar panels are the obvious choice for almost any Australian homeowner. Using solar power can make a difference to your energy bills, while reducing your footprint on the earth. With the potential for government subsidies and the increased availability of high-powered batteries to store the electricity you generate, solar panels are fast becoming a common addition to new and existing homes.
You don’t need to live in the outback or a remote mountain range to be water-efficient. If your Mosman property is large enough, consider installing a rainwater tank to supplement your water needs. Another option that is becoming more commonplace is greywater recycling. This can be used to water the garden or flush the toilets, for example.
A simple and relatively inexpensive way to save water is to install low-flush toilets and low-flow shower heads, both indoors and out. These small touches will all add up to help you turn your Mosman property into the earth-friendly home you want it to be.
It’s easier than ever to be energy-efficient in your home. Start with changing the lighting. LED or CFS (Compact Fluorescent Light) lightbulbs are longer-lasting and use much less energy than ordinary incandescent bulbs. Another idea is to install monitor-sensing lights throughout the house to reduce the amount of time your lights are burning.
For a couple of easy green wins, switch to an energy provider that will power your Mosman property with renewable energy sources rather than coal. Also, buy the most energy-efficient appliances your budget will extend to.
How green is your garden?
Gardens provides a great opportunity to make your home more eco-friendly. Work with your landscaper to ensure you have drought-hardy native plants and trees that won’t require a lot of watering. If you don’t have one already, a veggie patch is a charming and practical addition to any sustainable home. Imagine picking your own fresh, pesticide and fertiliser-free fruits and vegetables, having nourished them with compost from your own kitchen. If you have the space, a few chickens in a pen will reduce your food waste even further.
Although making some of these changes may mean a cost up front, the resulting energy efficiency makes economic sense in the long run. And don’t forget: you’ll be making your neighbours green with envy.
Stylish, sustainable homes
These days, some of the world’s most luxurious abodes showcase the best in sustainable living.
Take a look at a few examples here of deluxe international living that incorporates eco-friendly building design or materials. Many of these homes combine elegant, state-of-the-art design coupled with sustainable credentials, including LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Energy Star certification. Examples include a private 2-acre estate in Makena, Hawaii, which features solar panels on every roof, and the striking villa in The Netherlands equipped with geothermal installation for all its heating and cooling needs.
Many celebrities live in homes equipped with the latest in sustainable living. Julia Roberts’ 6,000 square-foot home includes recycled tiling and solar panels. Leonardo di Caprio is reported to be in the process of building the ultimate eco resort in Belize. Its villas and bungalows will incorporate circadian lighting and solar panels so that each home is energy efficient.
Closer to home, take a look at these seven sustainable and stylish homes in Australia for some more ideas on how to evolve your Mosman property into an eco-friendly dwelling.