Location, Location, Location
You want to buy some land or an established house.
You also want your decision to help achieve a more sustainable lifestyle. Where do you start?
- · Is the location of your purchase important?
- · What can you do to make your purchase eco-wise?
- · Who can help you to make the best choice?
Let’s look at these options in detail.
When buying land, it is important to first understand the climate of the area in which you are considering buying. Does it have a warm, mild temperate or a cold climate? You should be looking for a block that would allow you to have good northerly aspect, without overshadowing of adjoining buildings or trees. This allows you to orientate your home to maximise the northern winter sun for good passive design. If the climate is subtropical or tropical and there are distinct wet and dry seasons, with humid summers and mild winters, perhaps you should be looking for some shading around the property to help reduce heat entering the premises.
What should I consider?
- Consider the suitability of the slope and accessibility of the land for now and consider any limitations should you or a family member becomes less mobile.
- Consider whether the presence of trees may pose future maintenance or increased bushfire threat.
- Is the land of sufficient size for your dream home?
- Do you need a planning permit to build a house?
- Consider whether you have space to grow some veggies or your own patch of garden.
- The slope of the land and soil type may have an influence on footing designs, resulting in higher construction costs.
Additionally, give some thought to whether the land is a long way from friends and family, or your place of work. Is it a place where you will spend a lot of time and money commuting to and from? Will it suit your tree change or sea change lifestyle choices?
What can I do?
Take a compass with you and determine where North is and place a marker on the ground to refer to. If you already have a home design in your mind, try to peg it out on the land and see how it fits. Visit the land several times and at different times of the day to see how it receives solar access and prevailing winds.
Once you think you have the right block of land, it is time to consider a home that is designed to meet your current and future needs, while remaining comfortable, safe, efficient and healthy.
Green Design Solutions can Design a home for your block and your unique requirements.
We understand how confusing it can be when you are committed to creating a home that meets your environmental goals and values.
That’s why we created our Plan Books containing designs for five single-storey, passively designed home under 18 squares.
With 32 pages of elevations, floor plans and solar diagrams with internal and external 3D images, this book is designed to give ideas for your environmentally responsible home.
Receive a free downloadable E-book,
How to Create a Home for Life with your purchase of the Green Design Plan Books.
Buying an established home
If an established home is your preference, you need to start looking for your perfect home with some ideas in your head about what it has to, what it could include, the location within some preferred areas, proximity to shops, schools and public transport and of course, your budget.
As with purchasing land, your need to know your climate and identify where the prevailing cooler winds are coming from. Look at the surrounding properties and their height, particularly the properties on the northern boundary. If there is a large block of units or large two-storey home close to the northern boundary, you many want to review the proximity of the house to these structures as it can influence how much access you will have to the North winter sun.
Perhaps many things about the home tick the right boxes for location and size, but the home is an older construction and sustainable design features were not considered at the outset. There are still ways to improve the homes thermal performance, but it may impact the buying price.
For existing homes, you can still take steps to improve it efficiency:
- You could install high-level insulation batts in the ceiling and under the floor
- Whether it be brick or weatherboard, you can have spray foam insulation injected between the external cavity wall and frame.
- Depending on the style of window frame, you might be able to get secondary glazing installed or an energy efficient window film.
- It is also important to seal the gaps and cracks around doors and windows to prevent heat loss in winter and heat entry in summer.
- Don’t forget to seal the exhaust fans with covers such as Draft-Stoppa.
You may also like to explore installing ceiling fans to create a cooling breeze in summer and push the heated air down from the ceiling in winter. Another step is to buy energy-efficient lights.
By spending a little bit of money on retrofitting the home with energy-efficient fittings you will create a more comfortable home, and also have lower running costs.
Green Design Solutions can provide advice and source products on what you could do to improve the efficiency of established homes.
We understand that you may need some help in determining whether your purchase of an established home will lead to regrets or expensive redesign.
Don’t second guess!
Book a no-obligation Expert Consultation and benefit from one-on-one time with Janine Strachan to help you assess any established home you are thinking of purchasing before you buy. Send your name, phone number and the best time to for us to call. (Booking fee applies)
Janine Strachan, the Director of Green Design Solutions, is an expert in sustainable housing and planning. She holds a Masters in Environment & Planning, a Bachelor in Environmental Management, qualifications in Building & Construction and is a Livable Housing Assessor.