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Sustainable building & renovation

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Building sustainable housing is vital to ensuring our city can preserve our environment and protect our lifestyle into the future.

Sustainable homes are designed for energy and water efficiency, safety and security, lifestyle flexibility and affordability. They incorporate environmentally friendly construction materials.

If you are building or renovating there are a number of simple and cost effective ways that you can make your home sustainable, and they don't have to cost the earth.


Design your home right from the start and you will save money and the environment. Here are some simple tips:

  • orientate living areas of the house towards northern winter sun
  • create shaded areas and overhangs to protect the inside of the home from direct sun
  • position windows high to assist natural light and ventilation
  • design for cross-ventilation to allow breezes to flow through the house.

Energy efficiency

  • Energy efficient design will reduce use of energy for cooling and heating.
  • Install energy efficient LED and compact fluorescent lighting.
  • Invest in an energy efficient hot water system - either solar, gas or heat pump.
  • Purchase the highest energy star rated appliances.
  • Install an energy monitoring system to keep track of your usage.
  • Install insulation to regulate the indoor climate.

Water efficiency

  • Install a rainwater tank - you can choose from unobtrusive underground tanks or slimline above ground tanks.
  • Choose AAA rated water efficient appliances, showerheads and flow regulators.
  • Choose xeriscape (water efficient) gardens.
  • A water monitor inside the house will help you keep track of consumption.

Safety and security

  • Install non-slip tiles.
  • Provide sufficient, well-located power points to avoid tripping over electrical cords.
  • Ensure landscaping doesn't conceal intruders.

Social sustainability

  • Install zero-threshold showers (no hobs) for wheelchair access.
  • Provide wide hallways and doorways.
  • Lever style handles are easier for those with disabilities.
  • Design flexible rooms that can adapt to meet your changing needs.

Eco-friendly construction

  • Use recycled materials where possible and lightweight building materials for maximum energy efficiency.
  • Consider environmentally friendly bamboo flooring.
  • Consider greenboard cladding that doubles as wall insulation.
  • Consider low-toxic, eco-friendly paints.
  • Choose materials with low 'embodied energy' - in other words, materials that use less energy in their manufacturing process.
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