May 2015


We Can Help You Choose the Right Green Home Insulation

Choosing the right green home insulation

Choosing the right home insulation plays a big part in regulating your home’s temperature, simultaneously saving you money on heating and cooling as well as helping the environment. While most builders will opt for the highest-rated fibreglass batts for home insulation, it is beneficial to consider other insulation options to ensure you get the right product for your home. As a general rule, there is more to green home insulation than meets the eye.

Green home insulation options

Consider insulating when building your home

If you have the luxury of building a new home rather than renovating, having a discussion with your builder about the design of the house, wall structure and ventilation will go a long way in ensuring quality home insulation. There is more to insulation than just opting for the highest-rated fibreglass batts.

Insulated concrete forms (ICF)

This type of insulation is actually concrete, with insulation on the building’s exterior. ICFs are considered the ultimate in insulation performance and offer the following additional benefits:

  • Fireproofing
  • Soundproofing
  • Long term durability
  • Unmatched strength

Thermal mass walls

Thermal mass walls are made up of products that come from the environment, such as mud brick or rammed earth. This traditional form of home insulation requires very little energy and is highly regarded in the building industry. When paired with additional well-designed and effective exterior insulation strategies, thermal mass walls provide a number of long term benefits for homeowners.

Reverse brick veneer

Reverse brick veneer is an innovative green home insulation technique that involves having exposed bricks on the inside of the home. Reverse brick veneer involves external charging from the outside to Timber. The benefit of this type of insulation is twofold – better heat retention in winter and helps keep the home cooler in summer.

Timber insulation

Recycled, low-thermal bridge timber is also a great alternative to other products for green home insulation. Discuss the possibility of using timber for insulation with your builder who will advise you on the best course of action depending on your home and needs. 

Home insulation in Melbourne

Whether you’re renovating your home or building a new one, the fully licensed team at Calm Living Homes is here to help you choose the right green home insulation.

As a green builder that cares for our clients, we make every effort to ensure your home is of the best quality, using the highest-rated eco-friendly products. With over thirty years of experience, we have the knowledge to select the right insulation for your home. To find out more, give us a call today on 0418 177 380 or fill out our online contact form, and our friendly team will be in touch.


What Makes a Green Builder?

What is green building? What makes a builder a green builder?

In recent years, green building has skyrocketed in popularity. It is now easier than ever to learn about more sustainable building practices. With more people investing in eco-friendly homes, there has been an increased interest amongst builders to embrace green building.

When it comes to building your home, there are plenty of places online to find sustainable building products, but how do you know which ones are right for your house build or renovation? If you are looking to build a sustainable house, a green builder will be aware of all the options and can advise you on the best options.

Designing a sustainable house that is also a beautiful home for you and your family is no simple task. The best eco builds will do more than install insulation, solar hot water and a water tank. There are many ways to make an eco-friendly house, which means you will need a builder who is ready to be involved in the process and walk you through your many options.

Having a builder who is experienced with eco house designs makes all the difference, as you will be able to consult with them and ask for expert advice if needed.

Here are a few of the things your builder should consider when planning for eco-sustainable homes.

  • Green home design principles
  • Green building materials and what the best value is for your ecohome
  • How your home is positioned and the microclimates possible in your area
  • Garden and surrounds in relation to your home design, reducing environmental footprint and increasing liveability
  • Insulation options
  • Greywater treatment
  • Low or no VOCs or other toxic compounds in your home
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Passive heating and cooling

What is a green housing design?

Green home designs are all about combining the eco-friendly elements that work for you to make a more sustainable house. It’s all about balancing a variety of factors, as well as using the right green house materials and practices, which will depend on the circumstances of each specific project. Both large and small houses can be green; all you need is the right builder guiding the job.

Even if your budget is limited, a green builder should be able to advise you on design principles that will allow you to increase the sustainability of your home without compromising on room size, aesthetics or quality of finishes.

If you’re ready to start your journey toward a more sustainable home, Calm Living Homes is here to help. With over thirty years of experience in the building industry, we know exactly what makes an eco-friendly house a home. Give us a call today on 0418 177 380 or complete our contact form to get in touch.


Green Garden Design As Part of a Green Home

A green garden design is a great way to add efficiency – and pleasure – to your green home.

Sustainable building practices go hand-in-hand with landscaping, working together to make your home more comfortable and more affordable to live in, all without compromising aesthetics. The right garden designs, made from the perfect landscaping and plant choices, deliver a wide range of benefits at minimal to no long-term cost.

Some of the options available for your green garden include:

  • A specialised garden design that reduces maintenance requirements, such as through a ground cover lawn
  • Watering your garden with greywater or rainwater
  • Gardens that produce food to reduce your supermarket spending and reliance
  • The creation of microclimates that allow you to grow plants that would usually struggle in your area
  • Natural fences for security and animal control, while maintaining aesthetic appeal
  • Reduction in wind and wind swirl
  • Water features to aid in fire protection, as well as fire-retardant trees and grasses
  • Garden design that can help reduce the growth of weeds
  • Use of permaculture principles such as companion planting to reduce garden maintenance, plant diseases and watering
  • Roof gardens that properly insulate cold during the winter and heat in the summer

It is also worth considering how you could use native flora and fauna when creating a green garden design. Many native plants thrive once established, needing minimal water beyond normal rainfall. They also provide a natural habitat for native birds and insects, making your home feel more alive. Plating natives also helps to promote and protect Australia’s natural biological diversity. Native plants often will not require any pesticides, having natural defences against pests and diseases.

There are countless options when it comes to garden designs for an eco-friendly home. At Calm Living Homes, we can help you throughout the entire process of putting together and executing a plan for a more environmentally friendly home and lifestyle. To get started with your eco house and landscape build, simply call us on 0418 177 380 or complete our online contact form today.


Property Inspections for Building and Efficiency

Now you can check building quality and have the best comfort and energy efficiency in your home

There are many different types of property inspections, all of which serve a specific purpose. At Calm Living Homes, we understand that working your way through the minefield of reports can be confusing, especially for people undertaking their first home purchase.

Fortunately, the ‘Efficient Property Inspections Report’ now provides homeowners and potential homeowners with more information, including details regarding any major defects and what is required to fix them. 

Homeowners can now more easily discover ways to make a home more energy efficient – including how to reduce costs and how to make a home more comfortable. A pre-purchase home inspection will also provide insights into how to keep the house cool in summer and warm in winter, helping get the most out of their future house.

Unlike many property inspections, an ‘Efficient Property Inspections Report’ combines the building structure, resource efficiency, and common sense financial guidance on the potential of a home, into one convenient report.

Efficient Property Inspection Service

‘The Efficient Property Inspection Service’ combines the know-how of a highly reputable green builder – Anton Engelmayer from Calm Living Homes – and sustainability consultant Danielle King from Green Moves.

Through this service, prospective homeowners will receive a comprehensive outline of issues from both a building quality and energy efficiency perspective. This will help people understand the costs and the implications of the options outlined while maximising the home’s potential. The report is easily actioned, giving excellent advice whether that be for renovating an existing home or buying a new one.

This report is based on findings from a holistic look at the property, including structural and environmental factors, surroundings and more. The ‘Efficient Property Inspection Service’ is provided by a registered builder and accredited sustainability consultant at a fixed price based on house size. The service covers the site visit, creation of the report and any post report queries.

The Efficient Property Inspection Report will identify:

  • Major issues or defects with the property and an appropriate course of action
  • Potential maintenance issues and recommendations on solutions
  • High-level estimates for any remedial actions required and the trade to provide it
  • Ideas for renovation potential and design of the property (or a review of your plans and comment)
  • Opportunities to maximise the energy and water efficiencies of the property
  • Comment on features that offer the best value for money
  • A prioritised list of actions or considerations
  • Opportunities to maximise the comfort of the property and enhance future value

Who benefits from the report?

Prospective buyers who are interested in purchasing a home and making the most of the ‘Efficient Property Inspection Service’ will receive an easy-to-read report with prioritised actions, delivered via email. The report is fully insured for Public Liability and Professional Indemnity.

This service is best suited to those who have or are looking at a property and:

  • Want to understand the options available and what is feasible with a current property.
  • Are considering a renovation project or a new building project.
  • Want to know about any issues a property may have in terms of workmanship, design, finish, etc.
  • Want to understand the potential of a property in terms of renovation and resource efficiency.

To find out more about our ‘Efficient Property Inspections Report’ or for assistance managing your building project, the team at Calm Living Homes is here to help. For more information, get in contact with our friendly team on 0418 177 380 or fill out our online form, and we will be in touch.


Asthma friendly and allergy friendly homes

Filtering out outside contaminants is one of the best ways to allergy-proof a home. With so many Australians experiencing some form of house dust allergy, new house allergies or house mite allergy, it has never been more important for builders to create innovative, allergy-friendly homes.

If you’re someone living in an asthma house, (having a family member who suffers from asthma) you will benefit greatly from working with a builder who understands how the right ventilation can help remove allergens from your home.  

At Calm Living Homes, we understand just how vital it is for people to be able to breathe freely in their homes. We help to create environments that are comfortable, safe and eco-friendly by using the best products, materials and innovation available. 

What is mechanical ventilation?

Mechanical ventilation is a solar-powered system that allows homeowners to filter out outside contaminants and breathe in fresh air all day, every day. Experienced builders can install mechanical ventilation systems into the home to circulate fresh air through the ducts and fans of the home. This ensures that allergens and pollutants, such as pollen and particulates from fires and diesel fumes are not cycled through the home, helping your loved ones breathe easy.

A green home can be asthma and allergy-friendly, giving relief to those who suffer from allergies inside the house. Mechanical air ventilation makes your home a more liveable, comfortable and pleasant place to spend time by not only removing allergens, but also helping to regulate the temperature within your home. This type of ventilation forces air through a carbon filter. Using 92% efficient heat exchange units, the temperature from the stale air inside your home is converted into the new internal fresh air. Mechanical air ventilation gives homeowners the freedom to heat and cool the air within the home with the one unit, removing the need for extra temperature control in the home.

This type of ventilation can be easily powered directly by solar panels and uses very low wattage, meaning that the ongoing cost of creating an allergen-free home is extremely low.

Allergy proof your home

If you suffer from asthma, hay fever, or other general allergic conditions that can be triggered by airborne pollutants, the Calm Living Homes team can build you a home that will become a refuge from airborne pollutants. With years of experience in the building industry, we have the expertise to build and modify homes to suit your needs and improve your way of living.

If you would like to find out more or have any questions, contact our friendly team on 0418 177 380 or fill out our online contact form, and we will get back to you. We look forward to hearing from you.

We look forward to hearing from you. If you would like to find out more or have any questions contact Anton Engelmayer on 0418 177 380 or email at [email protected]


Some Green Renovation Practices You May Not Be Aware Of

Green home renovation practices

​​If you love the home that you are in but would like to undertake a green renovation, the team at Calm Living Homes are here to help you every step of the way.

Undertaking a green renovation can transform the space you live in into a place that is more sustainable, saves you money, and that you can be proud of. Whether you want to change the design of your home to make it bigger, lighter or more comfortable, our environmentally conscious team is happy to help. You’ll enjoy benefits including saving on water and energy costs by trusting the best in green building principles – and lessen your impact on the earth in the meantime.

There are a number of home renovation ideas for newer and heritage homes that help homeowners go green. Fortunately, heritage home renovations will not change the appearance and unique character that you love, with many of the changes we make in a green makeover inside. This means you’ll see a noticeable drop in your power bills, as benefits like the reduction of hay fever and asthma.

At Calm Living Homes, we believe homeowners should be informed and involved in the home renovation planning process. Have a discussion with your builder about some of our favourite sustainable building techniques to see if they’re right for you.

Airflow, heat and cooling leaks

Standard buildings, even those built in the last 10 years, have a number of ways that air can enter the home. 

Older houses, especially heritage homes, often have gaps in flooring or behind architraves, where any cold air flowing freely around the building’s foundations can get in. When homeowners try to heat a room like this, the heat source causes hot air to rise and exit through gaps in your ceiling, such as around light sockets, between windows and walls to finally reach outside. A convection cycle is set up as this hot air rises. When the hot air escapes, it sucks more cold air in through the gaps below, meaning that most of the heat is going to waste. Your heat source then has to work that much harder to give you a relatively low level of comfort.

In summer, the reverse can happen – your cooling system creates cold air which, being heavier than warm air, then leaks out through these gaps and sucks hot air out of the roof cavity and from the gaps in the roof tiles or eaves. Once more, a cold convection cycle is created, making your cooling system work harder to overcome this.

In a situation like this, the Calm Living Homes team will fill the following areas with eco foam or other low volatile organic compounds (VOC) foam:

  • Floorboard gaps (from below)
  • Gaps between floorboards and wall covering (behind architrave)
  • Gaps around windows (behind window surrounds)
  • Gaps around light fittings in the ceiling
  • Proper insulation of the ceiling (foam is better than fibreglass batts in terms of U and R factor and draft prevention)
  • Filling of gaps under roof tiles

This can be done by our suppliers who have specialised equipment to make the process more cost effective.

Mechanical ventilation – the ultimate fresh air option for your green home

Homeowners feel the difference with planned and green fresh air flows. Mechanical ventilation ensures you and your family breathe fresh air with every breath, helping you feel better in your day-to-day life.

In a conventional house, there are many areas where the air is not fresh. That is not just because the air is contaminated with airborne pollutants – in a normal home, there are inevitably areas where air does not circulate and is stale, polluted or cold.

At Calm Living Homes, we seal the gaps in your house to deliver total temperature comfort. This comfort is maximised when we add 12v mechanical ventilation, with the energy taken directly from a solar panel at a minimal cost. Mechanical ventilation provides a number of advantages to homeowners, including:

  • Allowing filtering out of pollens, dust and other airborne pollutants
  • Permitting the ultimate in hot and cold weather comfort through optimal insulation
  • Mixing hot and cold air so that all areas of your home are at an even temperature

It goes without saying that the ability to reduce your hay fever or have a more asthma-friendly home, in addition to creating a more energy-efficient home, will significantly benefit your family.

Energy-efficient glazing

Many people already know about double-glazing, but are not aware of the option of argon as a filler gas or low-emissivity glass. Both of these options can be more efficient than older style double glazing.

While it’s possible to build double glazed windows to match conventional windows, some clients opt for low emissivity glass, which is a specially coated single pane that has an invisible coating to prevent heat escaping. These low emissivity windows can be more than twice as efficient as older double-glazing windows that do not have low emissivity coating.

In some situations, homeowners opt for triple glazing. However, the measures above significantly improve your home’s energy efficiency – which adds up over the whole life of the home/window.

While there is no doubt energy-efficient glazing is an important contributor to a green home or green renovation, in practice, we have found that adding filling around the edges of a window in areas where it fits into the wall offers a huge benefit.

Low toxicity paints and low VOC materials 

Unfortunately, many of the materials used in modern homes are somewhat toxic or can emit toxic fumes, also known as “off gassing”.

One of the chief culprits here are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are chemicals that have a very low boiling point and so spread their molecules continually into the air at room temperature. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to VOCs can increase the risk of leukemia and lymphoma (1) and these are often responsible for “sick building syndrome”.

At Calm Living Homes, we have a whole range of low or no VOC products, including paints and floor finishes that we can use to replace your existing finish. As always, we can guide you through the green renovation techniques and sustainable building materials that are going to give you the best value for your money.

Green home renovation experts

At Calm Living Homes, we’re here to help with your green home renovation. We love working your home renovation ideas into our renovation plans and will explain the options available to you and the costs associated with them to ensure you can set the bar where you are comfortable. 

When it comes to going green, a few improvements make a big difference. To learn more about how we can help you, get in touch with the Calm Living Homes team today on 0418 177 380 or fill out our online contact form, and we will be in touch.

Contact Anton Engelmayer for more details on 0418 177380 or [email protected]


1. Irigaray P; Newby JA; Clapp R; Hardell L; Howard V; Montagnier L; Epstein S; Belponne D (2007) “Lifestyle related factors and environmental agents causing cancer: An overview” Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy 61 (10) 640 – 58

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