Eco-Homes: An Answer to Climate Change

January 13, 2020
Invex Team

At the moment, Australia has a housing stock that in climate terms is very damaging to the environment. Eco-Minded Homes can help.

The growing awareness of climate change, sparked by activists such as Greta Thunberg, will have a big impact on the way we build and maintain our houses. We can all make small changes in our homes. Some suggestions:

·       using tinted window film

·       shutting blinds in the summer to keep heat out

·       buying energy-efficient appliances

·       planting trees

Another approach is to renovate an existing property so that it meets green-home targets. But you probably have to go pretty big and deep in terms of disruption and cost for this option. The cost of retrofitting homes to meet tough green standards can be high. The benefits over the long term are there, however. You can expect to recover your cost in time due to paying lower energy and maintenance bills.

In our opinion, the biggest opportunity to reduce emissions from housing is with new builds, because they are like a “blank canvas”. Developed to have a limited effect on the environment, these so-called eco-homes are built to be as self-sufficient as possible. And they are quickly becoming a status symbol. Using many natural resources, eco-homes aim to lower their carbon footprint and significantly reduce the amount of heat and power you consume.

Building eco-homes can help you save time and money as the materials used are easily accessible. Many builders are able to buy the materials locally, which not only saves time, but also reduces the carbon footprint by minimising the distance they need to be shipped. Also, using recycled materials means a lower upfront cost and construction is often quicker – these materials are more likely to be available and nearby.

The benefits of an eco-home cannot be understated

Studies show that relying on renewable energy lowers operating costs and can end up reducing monthly bills by up to 20-30%. Saving this much a month will make a big difference to you financially. Eco-homes require less maintenance as they are constructed to last a long time. Less money is spent making repairs or applying touch ups because green materials are durable and look newer for longer. And the extended lifespan of an eco-home will also lead to a higher property value so if you decide to sell you will increase your initial investment.

Demand from buyers and tenants is likely and crucial to drive the sustainable building movement forward

In the future, both homeowners and businesses will be looking into green buildings. A new breed of eco-farmhouses has already been introduced in some countries, for example. Growing up in an eco-conscious society, millennials are clearly more aware of their effect on the environment and are likely to be behind the rise in eco-friendly homes. Children and young adults wear their green credentials with pride. We’ve all heard of flight-shaming, but home-shaming could become a real thing too!

According to a survey conducted by The Guardian, more than two thirds of millennials “buy as many eco-friendly products as they can”. 

In a recent survey, 66% of global respondents say that they’re willing to pay more for products and services which come from companies that are committed to a positive social and environmental impact. But is it possible to provide more eco-conscious homes without increasing property or rental prices? Pushing boundaries too far for property developers is a leap of faith. The time taken from finalising design to handing over the completed development and receiving feedback from the market can be a couple of years.

Feedback from low rise developments can be gained earlier as plots are released progressively and designs can be amended to reflect initial feedback from the market. But with more resources being introduced every day, eco-homes will become even more accessible at a lower cost, meaning they are likely to continue to rise in popularity. Overall, there is a strong business case for greener homes.

 If you’re buying as an investment, it is important to make sure the asset will suit the environment and market expectations. In terms of the viability of eco-homes, the cost of management and maintenance of a home is a big concern to buyers because it eats into investment returns.

Will your next property be an eco-home?

Hero photo by Ostap Senyuk on Unsplash
Thumbnail photo by Paul Gilmore on Unsplash
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