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Carbon pricing puts focus on green & affordable housing challenge

By David Gordon

The passing of the carbon pricing legislation through federal parliament will see the future cost of energy become an accelerating market force driving a new generation of green homes and renovations throughout Australia, according to architecture advice group Archicentre.  Archicentre general manager David Hallett said the need for home owners to reduce the energy consumption of their homes is also likely to see an increase in architect designed homes and renovations to maximise savings and improve lifestyle environments. ‘Good en- vironmental design that starts at the planning stage is the founda- tion of creating a home which is comfortable to live in and protects home owners against increasing energy and water costs. ‘Good housing design can also create a valuable asset when the home is sold with sustainable homes likely to become increasingly attractive to the market.’

Mr Hallett said that at an early stage planning for better use of materials in construction, improved orientation of buildings to maximise solar energy and lessening the use of air conditioners and heaters in homes can make a major impact on energy costs and property value. ‘We also expect to see an increasing return to the use of the traditional eave in future housing design.

‘Historically the eave or verandah was a fundamental part of Australian homes; however, in the last decade its removal for the sake of fashion and cost has seen the building of thousands of homes poorly equipped to cope with climate-change demands such as increasing temperatures and storms. ‘The use of eaves in homes has a major impact on a property’s sustainability by increasing water harvesting po- tential, providing valuable shade over windows and walls, keep- ing homes cooler in summer and conserving power.

‘Eaves also offer the added protection to the interior of the home from flooding that can re- sult from concealed gutters.  The best advice for home owners and home buyers is to run the green ruler over the property to ensure that it can be improved in a cost-effective way to deliver an optimal environmental outcome. ‘One of the biggest issues is changing people’s behaviour and attitudes to how they man- age resources in their homes and workplaces. The simple task of placing a
desk near a window in the home office could see natural light being used rather than full-time lighting being required.

‘Just wearing cooler clothes in summer in the home could see the air-conditioner used less to save money on energy bills. Closing curtains or internal blinds over windows on predicted hot days can also keep the home cool.’
See more at www.archicentre.

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