Podcast with Recycled Interiors – What Makes a Home Sustainable?
Do you ever wonder what really makes a home sustainable?
Making your home sustainable does not necessarily mean that you have to start over with a grand design. There are some small steps you can take right now to make your home more sustainable and energy efficient.
Listen to this chat between our director Simon and Helen from Recycled Interiors to find out more!
- The typical type of construction in Australia of building brick veneer homes, is quite specific to our country and not the best way to build.
- Older houses that have no or little insulation, will be cold in winter, but work really well in summer as they can protect the interior from the heat. In an existing home, insulation is your best friend.
- You can get spray in insulation that goes in your walls if you have timber frame, but it is hard to find these companies. Under floor is good if you can access it, but you lose the most heat through the roof. Look for low toxin and eco friendly insulation products.
- Fixing draughts is important – get weather stops for doors and seal the gaps; small gaps around windows and doors really add up. No more gaps around architraves and skirting boards can make a big difference to the temperature in your home. Keeping the outside out and the inside in – sealing well around windows and doors, double glazing windows, etc.
- Focusing on the fabric of the house – reverse brick veneer with thermal mass on the outside and insulation on the inside, is actually the best way to build. This means the bricks are on the inside and the cladding is on the outer. Insulation is always better on the outside of a home – eg cladding, or rendering.
- Thermal mass = concrete, brick, stone, or rock etc that can absorb sunlight as heat and energy and then release it back into the home at night time to maintain more moderate temperature.
- Phase change material – acts as a thermal mass – it is liquid when it is warm and solid when it is cold – when the sun hits it, it gets absorbed and as it cools down it turns back to solid and releases the heat – it goes inside the walls of your home (how cool!).
- Upcycling a house is possible!
- If you are building a new home, consider the relationship between the thermal mass and the insulation.
- The smaller you can keep your home, the less material and embodied energy you are using.
- Keep it as local as you can – you do not need fancy windows from Europe! Australian products are just as good and very high standard.
- Steer away from concrete if possible, as it is often unsustainable in its production process. The upside of polished concrete on its own is you are reducing the materials if not adding other flooring, and it does have a good thermal mass.
- Alternatives for flooring now include hempcrete and fly ash.
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