ARTICLE Tim Walters 

Q:

"How important is sustainable design in the home? I am always hearing how important the quote “built to last” is. I want environmentally sustainable options that suit our renovation. Any guidelines or information?"

A: 

I think we should all consider sustainable design. When I think about sustainability, I think about the products used, how they are manufactured, what material they are manufactured from, where do they come from and how long will they last. How do they impact on the user and the area which they are used? 

In most renovations you should think about things like your cladding material, wood vs engineered product. Wood obviously has to come from a tree being cut down. Is it local? Is it from a sustainable resource? How long will it last, and what ongoing maintenance will be required to expand its lifetime. Fibre boards are also an option. No trees are cut down to make them, they generally have less maintenance and don't twist and warp as easily. You can also think about natural vs manufactured products for carpet, wood finish flooring, tiles, roofs, joinery and decks.

A solar power on the roof

Then we have the environmental impact for things like hot water - gas, electric, solar or heat pump? They all have their pros and cons. Over spec'ing your insulation and gas inside your double gazing will reduce the cost heat or cool your home. How will you heat and cool your home? Heat Pumps, fireplace, electric underfloor heating, piped water in your concrete pad or electric heaters. They all have impacts on your environment now and in the future. 

Finally, electricity and water. Solar power is becoming more and more popular. Water falls from the heavens  so why not grab some of that too. Our storm water system (in Auckland anyway) has not kept up with the growth of the city so we are continually putting in storm water tanks to take the load during a storm and release it slowly after the rains have stopped.

Of course not all but  some sustainability comes at a cost upfront. If you want sustainability you have to do it now and over time you will reap the rewards even if you don't notice them immediately you will as time goes on. 

You might be interested in reading about Eco-living.  

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This article by Tim Walters featured on page 30 in Issue 022 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.

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