Sustainable living and wellbeing are two of our core driving principles at Newenham. Interestingly the two go hand-in-hand. We have taken the opportunity to design a masterplan at Newenham that pays respect to the natural form of the land and maximises the opportunity for a sustainable community.
As developers, we aren’t in the business of building homes, so our goal is to encourage our residents and builder partners to consider how they can design and build homes to minimise their impact on the environment and maximise their opportunity for wellbeing in their homes, whilst considering the relationship their home has with the greater surrounds.
If you are considering building a home in Newenham, there are a wide variety of factors to consider during the design phase. These will provide you with the opportunity to live more sustainably, more healthily and hopefully more cost-effectively over a period of time.
Below is a list to get you started. We hope it may prompt you to talk to your builder or home designer about taking an holistic approach to your home design.
According to Alex Brown, Director of Alexander Brown Architects there are a few essential points to consider when starting on your home design journey.
A well-designed and positioned home provides comfort all year round, cutting your energy bills and reducing greenhouse emissions; the concept of passive design takes advantage of the climate to assist in maintaining a constantly comfortable temperature. Ideally, passive factors eliminate the need for auxiliary heating and cooling, which can account for more than 40 percent of the average household’s energy use.
For example, your house should preferably face as far north as possible to allow for maximum exposure to the sun in winter, while providing shade on the walls and windows in summer heat. To maximise this further, consider shading in the form of eaves, awnings, shutters or pergolas over glass to minimise unwanted heat. On top of this, a north facing structure provides the best access should you wish to utilise solar power at any stage in your home build.
If you’d like to read more about how you can reduce your energy bills, read more here – cooling and heating your home.
Using natural air movement from the outdoor environment can assist in passively cooling and ventilating your home. Optimise your air flow paths through the building using windows or vents placed on opposite walls; this allows natural breezes to find their way through the home.
Factors that may affect ventilation include how tightly your house is squeezed into the building envelope, the amount and direction of wind available, and incidental openings. You can also add a screen door to allow extra fresh air into your home, as well as provide an extra layer of security.
The use of durable, low maintenance materials minimises the need to replace or fix materials over the building’s lifetime. Selecting sustainable building resources that have little to no impact on non-renewable sources, nature or human health is also enormously beneficial.
To determine the best materials, ask for a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to assess the impact of the products being used – many builders will be able to supply you with this. Other factors to consider are lightweight framing such as steel or timber, and the brick or block work that you’ll be using.
Did you know that the Australian Government estimates approximately 42 percent of the solid waste in Australia originates from buildings (read the full article here). Whether it comes from clearing the land, manufacturing, or transport, it eventually becomes landfill. Reduce the demand by renovating, recycling and reusing materials where possible. Ensure you dispose of your waste correctly too – we recommend you always recycle where possible and buy local where you can in order to decrease travel waste.
Solar power is increasingly available to residents across the country, the opportunity to move away from coal and gas is an important consideration for all new home developers, we believe. Not only is this great for the environment, but it also has the potential to reduce your bills enormously! On top of this, look at filling the house with energy efficient light bulbs – regular bulbs use 8 to 15 percent of a house’s energy, but this can be halved through a simple change of globes – read more about energy efficient lights.
You can also look into energy-efficient whitegoods such as the fridge, oven and washing machine. Look for high energy efficiency star ratings – each star represents 20 percent efficiency.
Rainwater tanks are valuable additions to any home in Australia’s climate, offering the chance to reduce your water bills and utilise the rainwater in a variety of ways. Whether you choose to water the garden with it, use it as an alternate source during restrictions, or use it as water to flush the toilet and do the washing, you’ll be making the right choice. Be sure to add water saving taps and showerheads throughout the house, too, to limit your water use as much as possible.
The potential to include sustainable furnishings in your home these days is endless. Purchase furniture made from materials that can be reused and recycled, and therefore lengthen the life of each piece. We also recommend you support local businesses who make brilliant locally-made products rather than mass produced items. You can also fill your rooms with vibrant indoor plants that clear the air, such as a Peace Lily or Bamboo Plant. Not only are they great for the environment but they provide a lovely energy lift and colour boost in every room (not to mention their design popularity at the moment).
As you can see, there are a wide range of things to consider when building your home to ensure its impact on the environment is minimal and your living costs are reduced.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss the options with you – our Design Manager is available at the Sales & Information Centre every Wednesday from 1-5pm.
To talk to our sales team about securing your future at Newenham, visit our Sales & Information Centre, open daily from 12 – 5pm at 164 Flaxley Road, Mount Barker or call us on 0429 107 497.
We look forward to welcoming you to Newenham soon.