With cautious planning, smart design, and a strategic choice of the home design & builder contractor, home renovation can increase the sustainability & liveability of any space. Several local administrations have preparation guidelines that permit small internal & external alterations that do not affect construction or services to be done without the approval of the council, but it’s constantly a good idea to double-check. Service changes (drainage, plumbing, electrical, and gas) must be approved and inspected by the appropriate authority, but they may not need planning or building consent.
Here, we will concentrate on the areas of the home that increase your home’s environmental performance. Some building owners may be willing to contribute to long-term improvements in the hopes of expanding and future-proofing home values. Even small home renovation is likely to necessitate the use of tradespeople.
Thermal Comfort Enhancements
Glazing And Windows
- Replace windows and glass with climate-appropriate high-performance units, or consider adding double glazing to functional timber windows you intend to preserve.
- To simulate double glazing in cool & frigid climates, utilize polycarbonate films with magnetic attachments during the winter.
- As you reinstall sashes, improve the air seals.
- Install adaptable shade devices & relocate or decrease the size of east & west-facing windows.
- Remove any trees or shrubs that are limiting sun access to north-facing windows, and encourage your neighbors to prune or remove any trees that are impeding solar access.
- You should shade the windows with issues.
- To avoid convective heat loss in cool areas, install heavy curtains that contact the floor and walls on either side, with sealed pelmets on top.
In areas where exposed thermal mass is desired, eliminate carpet or additional insulative coverings from slabs and replace them with tiles or polished concrete finishes. To make your home more productive, you should install thermal mass in the homerooms with slight or no thermal mass and are subjected to passive cooling or heating. For instance, dark-colored closed water containers or phase alteration materials in breeze-exposed or solar locations.
Draughts, Ventilation, and Air Movement
Improve cross-ventilation by doing the following:
- Windows and doors that are fully openable and catch the breeze.
- To enhance breeze channels by shifting doors.
- Unless needed as a windbreak, planting that hinders breeze access is removed when landscaping, sheds, or fences are built.
- Put in ceiling fans or fans throughout the home.
- Install fans that can be sealed in the winter and ventilate your roof area in the summer.
- To reduce winter flows & air circulation and create cooling & heating zones, you should install doors in stairwells or hallways.
Draught-Proof Your Entire Home During Home Renovation
- Replace halogen downlights with low-energy ones, seal holes, and cover them with insulation.
- Reachable wall, floor & roof parts should be insulated.
- Insulate slab edges without making termite entrée in colder climates or where slab heating is employed.
- In roll form or sheet, you should install insulation under the floor with extra bulk insulation on the uppermost in calmer areas if crawl spaces are suitable.
- You should take guidance from the experts of insulation about cavity brick wall insulation solutions that do not compromise the cavity’s sealing integrity.
- You must fit fresh insulation below the novel exterior cladding & utilize spacer battens to generate an air gap next to to an inward-facing insightful insulation layer when recladding timber-framed walls. This chasm makes it easier to set up new services.
- To limit heat loss from the ground outward and uphold advanced earth-coupled temperatures below the slab, consider putting a foam insulation layer up to 900mm broad under walkways or paving surrounding the home.
- When replacing a roof, add insulation to the attic. Install bulk insulation at the ceiling level and reflective foil with a downward-facing under the roofing.
Increasing the effectiveness of energy use
If your home lacks sunlight access to the north-facing glass, consider installing an active solar heating system. Replace your heating and cooling system with one that meets the following criteria:
- Has the greatest energy star rating you can afford.
- Only heats or cools the rooms that are currently occupied.
- Replace your water heater with a solar or energy-efficient model.
- In the future, it can be prolonged to accommodate new features.
- Replace inefficient lighting with LEDs or other energy-efficient options.
- Increase natural lighting by removing or pruning light-blocking vegetation and installing skylights or daylight tubes.
- When replacing appliances, go for the one with the highest energy star rating.
- When rewiring, install smart metering and control systems.
- Think about putting renewable energy generation on your roof.
Improving Water Efficiency
- Retrofit the maximum WELS star-rated toilets, showers & taps possible
- Install flow restrictors on faucets that deliver too much water (e.g., hand basins, sinks).
- Put in rainwater tanks (some councils require approval over a certain size, so check first)
- To save time and increase privacy and air quality, reduce lawn areas and convert parts of your garden to mulched, low-water planting beds.
- Restore biodiversity by growing native plants in your area, which will also help you save water because they are adapted to your climate’s rainfall patterns.
- Consider reusing greywater in your garden, but before that, consult a soil specialist. They can help you learn more about the consequences for your soil type and plants, as well as which methods have been approved by your municipality.
Improving the Quality of Indoor Air
- Use only low- and no-emission paints, as well as E0 (zero formaldehyde emissions) or super E0, produced wood and joinery. First and foremost, concentrate on the largest surface areas: walls, ceilings, and, especially, floor coverings.
- In difficult-to-ventilate rooms, ensure high levels of regulated natural ventilation or fans.
- In colder climates, think about heat recovery ventilation systems.
- Use specialized sealants to neutralize out-gassing paints and finishes that are already in the home.
- To prevent mold growth, keep subfloor spaces dry, well-drained, and aired.
- Make sure that current exhaust fans are vented to the outside rather than only into the roof space.
- To prevent mold and mildew, ventilate moist areas to the outside.
- Stay away from carpets and furniture that harbor dust mites or allergens.
- Plants may absorb VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other contaminants in the home.
- Consider installing a ducted vacuum system to extract poisons and allergens from home and transport them to an outside mounted receptor.
Increasing the amount of space and amenity
- Consider summer shade, pest protection, and winter sun when building or improving outdoor living spaces near the kitchen and indoor living rooms.
- Add purpose-built storage to the mix.
- To improve the connection to the outdoors or access to future extensions, consider shifting the laundry to a living area cabinet or circulation space.
- Experiment with different furniture layouts to provide more space for additional uses and storage.
To renovate your kitchen
- Choose long-lasting, non-dating finishes for your kitchen renovation.
- Keep the refrigerator adequately aired and away from heat sources or the oven.
- Choose materials with better finishes that have negligible or no VOCs.
- Take into account traffic flow and safety.
- Select appliances that are both energy and water-efficient.
- Include effective composting and recycling facilities.
To make a bathroom renovation
- Select the highest-rated toilets, showers, and faucets.
- To avoid the need for additional restrooms, consider a two- or three-way design.
How to Select the Right Home Renovation Contractor?
While the procedures of building a new home and remodeling have a lot in common, your home renovation contractor will require a unique set of talents, which may change based on where you are in the process. Do you, for example, need build or design services, council permissions, engineering certification, construction certification (if private), survey or geotechnical reports, or are these handled by your designer?
Check the background of the house renovation contractor, especially when it comes to renovations. It’s crucial to have a lot of renovation experience. Consider the following inquiries:
- Have you been in business for a long time?
- Do you know what sustainable practices are and how enthusiastic you are about them?
- How do you tackle waste reduction, recycling, and reuse?
- What do you think the most vital features of environmentally friendly renovation are?
- What precautions do you take to ensure that supplies are obtained from environmentally acceptable sources?
- Do you have any knowledge of certification procedures?
- Are you willing to order products from pre-approved vendors?
- Do your subcontractors care about the environment?
- How would you isolate the renovation site (and its associated dust, noise, and vibration) from the living areas?
You should request a tour of a current project. Speak with prior clients and, if possible, inspect their homes. Inquire about and inspect evidence of a well-organized, clean, and safe site; pleasant and attentive personnel and contractors; and environmentally good methods such as energy-efficient windows, durable eco-certified products, sediment fences, and waste separation from the clients.
Before you sign a contract, be sure you’re comfortable working with the home renovation contractor and the necessary expertise and experience to do it, and a commitment to long-term results!