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21 Jun 2022

How sustainable is your home?

You might have thought about how environmentally friendly your car is. Maybe you’ve implemented some measures to reduce the carbon footprint of your workplace, or paid to offset your flights. But have you thought about the sustainability of your home?

A growing number of people are now considering the sustainability of the houses they live in, says data scientist Tom Lintern.

His observations are backed up by a report from the Real Estate Institute, which showed that environmental issues had made sustainability an “undeniable megatrend in global real estate”. According to research, buyers are willing to pay for things that would lower their power bills - potentially up to $14,000 upfront if it meant they could save $1,000 a year on the cost of running the property.

Green Building Council chief executive Andrew Eagles told media that, over the past five years, the number of properties going through the Homestar system, which rates sustainability, had increased from 500 a year to 6000.

If you’re building new, you have more options to boost the sustainability of your home – you can do things like orientate the house to capture the most sunshine, as Smarter Homes notes.

But even if you have an existing property, there are still lots of things you can do.


It has become a lot cheaper recently to install a solar power system on a residential house. Consumer NZ notes that how long it takes to pay for itself will depend on things like how much power the panels generate, how much of that energy you use, how much power prices move while you have your system and the cost of any repairs.  EECA has a tool to assess the viability of your home. If you want the utmost sustainability, you can opt to go completely off-grid, but this requires a higher initial upfront investment.


Rental properties have insulation standards to meet, but owner-occupiers are left to their own devices. That means that many older homes are still quite poorly insulated and can be expensive to heat. If you’d like to improve your energy efficiency and save on energy costs while also keeping your house warm, it may be worth investing in insulation. BuildersCrack has a calculator to give you a guide as to how much it might cost.


Even if you have an existing home, you can still install things like double-glazing. Gen Less notes that you can reduce heat loss through glass by almost 60 per cent, which will reduce your need to rely on other forms of heating. If you don’t want to pay to have double-glazing installed, you can also get temporary kits that will help keep your house warmer through winter.

Reduce water use

Sustainable building resource Level says you can reduce the amount of water your household uses by installing things like low-flow showerheads or aerators on hand-washing taps. You can look for appliances that use less water if you need to replace your washing machine or dishwasher.

You can also opt for a system that reuses your greywater from baths, showers and laundries to irrigate your garden or flush your toilet, as Level explains.  

There are lots of options, and more becoming available all the time as interest in sustainability grows. Hopefully these resources will give you a useful starting point on your greener home journey.




Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.

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