Building a sustainable house: top tips from Sarah and Canen

1 Explain your sustainability goals to your designer and builder. Analysing the site and climate for solar passive design opportunities is pretty standard for most designers now, but make sure they know how important this is to you. Consider asking an Accredited NatHERS Assessor for additional input.

2 A well-insulated building envelope is key for having a higher performing house. Make sure the builder knows that you wish to inspect the insulation with them before the linings go on and ensure there are no gaps in the installation or from service penetrations (including using expanding foam in small areas that will not fit insulation like around windows).

3 Make the extra investment in higher performing windows! Once you have a well-insulated envelope, your windows become your weakest thermal point. You can make back some of the additional costs of double glazed windows by being conscious of the types of windows/doors that you are using. For example, bi-fold doors are more expensive than stackers.

4 Install solar photovoltaics and an efficient hot water system so that you will get the bulk of the energy for your home from renewables. Solar panels have come down in price significantly and battery systems will also continue to fall. Consider crowd-purchasing models for solar batteries.

Read more in Edition 93 of Hunter&Coastal Lifestyle Magazine