Guide to Building a Sustainable Home
Do you want to build a green home but don’t know where to start? Here at Shelford, we are committed to helping families in Perth make the most of their homes, including moving towards achieving sustainable choices. Sustainability fulfils our social responsibility and improves the environment, and it benefits our clients and their living costs. We believe in being smarter and having more choice and flexibility when building a more sustainable home for our clients to get more value from their homes.
Why build a sustainable home?
Building a sustainable home includes design, build, and product selections. But first, why should you consider building one?
A sustainable home adds savings to the most valuable commodities, namely energy and water. A sustainable home is a resource-efficient home. In addition to having a positive impact on our environment, careful planning for a sustainable home will also help save on home running costs, such as energy and water bills.
Due to mandatory energy building standards, all new homes constructed in WA need to achieve an energy efficiency rating. Achieving this is a culmination of numerous design elements working together for the right climate zone. We always strive to incorporate energy-efficient design principles in all standard plans. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving energy efficiency. When building a sustainable home, here are the things to consider.
Location and block orientation is the first thing we look at when designing a house on your chosen land. Starting with the layout on your block is important for us to create a home that naturally delivers the best comfort without too much mechanical heating and cooling. We aim to design a house that provides the most natural comfort and a healthier living environment.
When building your home, we ensure that the orientation allows the house to make the best use of the natural, substantial energy and lighting from the sun. We make sure you have naturally well-lit daytime living zones facing north that capture the sun, creating thermal comfort during the winter and the summer. We also make sure that the bedrooms avoid facing the west as they can be hot when going to bed. At Shelford Quality Homes, we take pride in our flexibility with design and thoroughly consider orientation with every home we build for our clients and work with them to find the best solution.
There are pros and cons to choosing light over dark-coloured roofing. For instance, a lighter-coloured roof will keep your home naturally cooler all year round. However, if you already live in an area that is naturally cooler all year round, you may want to go for a darker colour to keep your home warmer.
Here at Shelford, we work with superior roofing suppliers and trades, such as Colorbond steel. Colorbond steel is durable and resilient to the Western Australian climate, and all Colorbond steel contains recycled content – the steel itself is 100% recyclable. Our Colorbond steel colour choices for our clients feature 21 core classic colours (except Night Sky) with Thermatech solar reflectance technology designed to reflect more of the sun’s heat in the summer, which means it keeps your house cooler.
Glazed windows increase the sustainability of your home. We recommend investing in window glazing and being open to changing the shape and size of your windows. We have been getting smarter with aligning Shelford with a glazing manufacturer that delivers quality and value. Investing in glazing for your home offers long-term cost savings, keeps out the worst of the sun’s glare in the summer, and maintains heat in the winter. When you consider adding double glazing to your home design, it can guarantee a big difference in achieving greater thermal comfort and reducing the hot and cold spaces around your house.
Our standard Ultimate Living home designs come with solar panels as standard for our clients. We believe that solar energy is not only the cleanest source of energy for your home, but it is also an effective way for your household to be more efficient and sustainable and add value and savings in the long term.
When investing in solar energy, consider the right orientation and cabling efficiency right from the start of the building process. At Shelford, we work with solar providers that deliver quality and value to our clients. We provide options like a battery-ready solar package as well as upgrading your home to battery.
Energy efficient inclusions
Using solar energy goes hand in hand with another option we provide our clients – going all-electric. You can opt for induction cooktops and reverse cycle air conditioning, which is very energy efficient. Our standard Ultimate Living home designs feature reverse-cycle air conditioning. You can also add a heat pump hot water system or solar hot water unit. In our Rural home designs, we feature solar hot water as standard because we understand the efficiency and value of having a solar hot water unit in our client’s wide farmhouse home designs.
Our home designs have standard insulation, but investing in thicker insulation is always an option. We have teamed up with suppliers that understand great insulation and we offer different degrees of upgraded insulation based on thickness levels. We also insulate your cavity walls for thermal efficiency and improved thermal comfort to help reduce the need for artificial heating and cooling. The more energy efficient your home is the lower your household energy bills, peak energy usage, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Shelford’s build flexibility
Our standard design and construction method involves double brick. However, we also have other options available to cater to a more sustainable building method. Options available include:
- Double brick
- Brick veneer
- Reverse brick veneer
- Rammed earth (more expensive, however possible)
While every new home must meet minimum energy efficiency standards, we will be showcasing a new display home in the South West called the Solaris, which takes sustainable home building to a new level. With the Solaris, we have achieved an 8.4 energy efficiency rating. This means that the Solaris display home is a perfect example of how Western Australian families can reduce energy bills and, at the same time, add extra value to their home design.
If you want to learn more about building a sustainable home or different energy-efficient options for building your new home, contact us today! We remain flexible and responsive to the needs of families in Perth and the South West while providing you with exceptional service, quality, and value. Whichever sustainable home design you go for, we assure you that you are building your home with confidence.