Adding Value by Greening your Home

NABERS is a national system that rates the energy efficiency, water use, waste management and environment quality of a home on a scale of one to six stars. An ABS study found every star a house goes up by adds three per cent to its value, so greening your home will not only reduce your energy bills but improve its resale value as well. There are several ways to go about it.

Improve energy efficiency

This includes installing insulation in your ceilings and walls to reduce heat loss in winter and awnings to insulate against heat gain in summer. Modern blinds and awnings are designed with energy efficiency in mind. Another way is to upgrade your appliances to more energy-efficient models. Most appliances now carry energy ratings and manufacturers compete with one another to be the most energy-efficient in their class.

[Read more…]

Using Your Interior Colours Outdoors

If you live in a nice location at the beach or in bushland, or you have a nice garden you want to enjoy more, extending the interior colours of your home into your outside living areas is a great idea. It helps to blur the line between the two and leads your eye (and your feet) out into the view. There are several ways to extend your interior colour scheme outdoors. These include:

Floors

Your floors are the most effective way of merging indoors and out. If you have tiles, slate, or wooden floors, it’s simply a matter of extending these beyond the boundaries of your doors. If you have timber floors, make sure the grain flows the same way in your extension, otherwise it may spoil the effect. Nice earthy colours work best and doors and windows that fold back out of the way add to that indoor/outdoor feel.

[Read more…]

Updating the Front of Your Home

Whether you’re thinking of selling and want to add curb appeal, or you just want to brighten up the front of your home, there are plenty of ways to update it without spending a fortune.

Paint

A coat of paint can make anything old look new again and all it costs is the price of the paint and a few hours of your time. Whether you decide to paint your whole house, or just concentrate on the trims around windows, eaves and doors, you can easily achieve a whole new look to the front of your home. If you have a fence, consider painting it in the same colour to extend the theme and if your gutters and downpipes have seen better days, either paint them a contrasting colour or replace them with new ones.

[Read more…]

Green Design Trends for New Homes

Modern house design is becoming increasingly green, with eco-friendly ideas beginning to appear in even the most conventional of designs. This is because sustainable design makes sense. It saves money, reduces waste and has less impact on the environment. This article takes a look at some popular trends in new home design with decidedly green credentials.

Passive design

Passive design seeks to minimise energy loss from a home and to maximise passive energy gains. A truly passive house requires only 10% of the heating and cooling needed in a conventional home and it is achieved by super-insulating, making the house virtually airtight and strategically positioning blinds and awnings to optimise passive heating and cooling gains.

[Read more…]

How Blinds and Awnings Help Your Home’s Green Rating

Your home’s green rating is a measurement system based on its water usage, waste management, indoor environment and, most importantly, its energy efficiency. The average household in Australia produces more than 18 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year and a lot of this is from heating in winter and cooling in summer. Energy conservation measures can dramatically reduce these greenhouse emissions, and having the correct blinds and awnings can play a big part in this.

About windows

Windows are a major source of heat gain and loss, adding to our cooling bills in summer and our heating bills in winter. Installing the correct window coverings can have a dramatic effect on your household energy consumption. It can lower the average electricity bill by as much as $60 a year and reduce carbon emissions by up to 200 kg a year.

[Read more…]

Getting the Right Building Checks Before Renovations

Renovating or extending your home is not as easy as picking up a sledgehammer and getting stuck in. There are several hoops you’ll have to jump through before you can even bang in that first nail.

Who needs approval

Because it’s your home that’s being renovated, whether you are doing it yourself or having a builder do it for you, you are responsible for getting any permits that are required.

If you are using a builder, he can take care of this on your behalf, as long as the contract you both sign clearly specifies whose responsibility it is.

[Read more…]

Making Your Outdoor Area Accessible All Year Long

Australians make more use of their backyards than most people. We enjoy a relatively moderate climate for much of the year and many of us like nothing better than to entertain or simply chill out in our private outdoor spaces.

We can experience hot summers though, while winter rain and cold can put a dampener on outdoor entertaining. With that in mind, here are some ways to protect your outdoor areas from the elements and make them accessible for 12 months of the year.

Retractable awnings

Having a retractable awning means you can enjoy the winter sun on your patio and then, when summer rolls around, increase the shade as the heat becomes more intense. Motorised awnings allow you to set just the right amount of shade and, because they’re fully retractable, you can store them safely away to avoid wear and tear in inclement winter weather. Available in a wide range of fabrics and colours, retractable awnings are a simple and cost-effective way to make the most of your outside area during summer.

[Read more…]

Guide to Creating Space in Your Home

If you are outgrowing your current home but aren’t yet ready to move, creating more space can help solve the problem. This can be achieved in three main ways.

Altering existing space

Many homes have a lot of small rooms that are impractical as anything other than bedrooms because of their size. If you don’t need three bedrooms and want a larger master bedroom or open plan area, consider removing a couple of internal walls to create larger rooms. The dividing wall between a kitchen and dining room could also be removed to create a large, open-plan kitchen and eating area.

Remember, of course, to check with a builder or your local council before knocking down walls that could be load bearing, as this would seriously weaken the structure of your house.

[Read more…]

Creating More Light in Your Home

If you live in a colder climate with less days of sunshine a year, or you have an older style home with small windows, high ceilings and overhanging eaves, bringing natural daylight into your living spaces can be something of a problem.

Luckily, there are several ways to overcome this, without spending a fortune or carrying out extensive renovations. Simple techniques to create more light in your home include:

Skylights

These are a great way to brighten up any dark room. Skylights can be custom made and installed relatively cheaply, and are perfect for rooms with high ceilings where light is a problem. They are fully waterproofed, made from toughened perspex to prevent breakage, and can even include a mirror, if installed in an angled ceiling to allow maximum light penetration. The addition of skylight blinds will also stop interior heat from escaping through the skylight at night.

[Read more…]

Turning your Courtyard into an Urban Oasis

Transforming your courtyard into an oasis requires some careful forward planning and a clever use of urban outdoor elements. Here, we’ve got some great ideas for transforming your courtyard into a great place for enjoying your morning coffee and entertaining guests in the summer. From tips on selecting the right external shading such as a retractable awning, to choosing a colour scheme that will compliment your home’s interior, we’ve got a great range of tips for transforming your courtyard into an urban oasis:

Plan ahead

Like any room in the house, your outdoor space requires careful planning to ensure the end result looks good. Think about the colours you have in your home and think about extending that theme outwards. Stepping out into your courtyard should be like stepping out into an extension of your living space or wherever the courtyard runs off from.

[Read more…]