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.
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