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The Sustainable Benefits Of Skylights

The Sustainable Benefits Of Skylights

Skylights make a sustainable improvement to any home. As an excellent source of natural light, skylights emit over three times as much light as a same-sized vertical window, the Australian government reports. Skylights therefore save energy on heating and cooling, contribute to a healthier, cleaner home environment, and cut down on your energy bills. Here are some of the sustainable benefits you can expect from installing skylights in your own home.

Eliminates mould and mildew

Windowless roofs are prone to harbouring moisture which causes mould and mildew. In some cases, mould and mildew need treating with harsh chemicals (typically bleach) toxic to the environment. Mould spores also lower indoor air quality and exacerbate allergies and asthma causing irritated eyes, nose, and throat. Skylights eliminate mould and mildew by letting in light, a natural deterrent to fungi and bacteria. They also warm up the temperature which reduces mould-friendly moisture. Getting mould and mildew professionally removed can cost from $200 for one ceiling, so skylights can save money by avoiding the problem in the first place.

Energy savings

Skylights improve energy efficiency by heating and cooling your home with less need for a HVAC system. It’s essential your skylights are correctly installed, however, so there’s no possibility of drafts or excess heat which could spike energy bills. Switching to a double pane skylight can also reduce heat loss by 15%, saving roughly $2,500 in energy costs. Ideally, a skylight with a southern exposure will warm the home best in winter months. Also use insulated wood, vinyl, or fiberglass window frames instead of energy-inefficient aluminium and steel.

Natural light

Skylights let in plenty of natural light so you use less artificial lighting. To get the most out of the natural light, install your skylights based on cardinal directions rather than aesthetics. North-facing windows are good for even levels of sunlight throughout the day without too much glare. South-facing windows are also good for lighting and limiting heat during warm months and increasing it during cold spells. On the other hand, east- and west-facing windows are good for lighting, but not for solar heating in the winter.

Skylights have plenty of sustainable benefits which reduce energy use and save money. But, the increase in natural light is also good for your own mental health. When you’re exposed to sunlight, you get a serotonin boost and your mood increases. Ultimately, skylights are great for the environment, your wallet, and your quality of life.

Author

Alicia Rennoll (Environmental Research)

  • Cody McConnell
  • Tags: Skylights
DIY Maintenance Tips for a More Eco-Friendly Home

DIY Maintenance Tips for a More Eco-Friendly Home

The construction of sustainable homes in Australia has been a growing trend in 2018, according to Green Roofs Australasia website. Many people are spending more time with their loved ones relaxing at home. To adapt to new sustainability trends, many homeowners are opting to make eco-friendly improvements to their homes. The earth’s resources are getting depleted, and therefore, it’s vital for you to take necessary measures to protect the environment.

Here are some simple DIY maintenance tips for more eco-friendly home:

Minimize Wastage of Water

One of the eco-friendly ways to reduce water usage and minimize wastage in your home is byusing gutters to trap and direct rainwater to storage tanks. It’s a sustainable mechanism that can reduce the use of energy by water pumps. Smart water pumps that automatically switch themselves can be installed. Other measures that can be taken by you include fixing leaks in the pipes to minimize water wastage, not letting the tap water run without use and by changing your lifestyle. One of the holistic approaches that you can take in your lifestyle includes installing a low flowing shower head that saves a lot of water.

Clean Using Natural Products

Many of the cleaning solutions and detergents contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment and your health in the long run. After using the cleaning solutions, it’s washed away with water and drains into the sewer and sometimes the chemicals mix with the water supply. It means that the water has to undergo thorough purification that uses more energy before it’s released for human use. However, you might be ignoring the eco-friendly cleaning substitutes that can be used right in your home. Consider using natural products such as lemon, vinegar, baking soda among other alternatives for your daily cleaning tasks in place of toxic chemicals and contribute to a green environment.

Compost Your Food Leftovers 

Composting is a good way of maintaining an eco-friendly environment. Instead of disposing of the food scraps and leftovers in your home, you can opt for a compost bin. The size of the bin depends on the size of your home and the leftovers you have daily. You can be surprised that the amount of food you throw away is beneficial to you. For people having gardens at their backyard, compost is the ultimate natural source of fertiliser for their soil. Compost-grown food is rich in nutrients and free of chemicals. You can start contributing to a sustainable environment today by simply getting a compost bin and fill it with the food waste.

More people globally are becoming environmentally conscious, and that’s a positive thing to embrace. Adopting eco-friendly home maintenance ideas helps you contribute to a green, sustainable environment and further saves you money.

Author Ali Chalmers (Environmental Research)

  • Cody McConnell
Reducing Your Swimming Pool's Environmental Footprint

Reducing Your Swimming Pool's Environmental Footprint

Construction costs in Australia, especially in residential areas, are among the highest in developed nations. Average construction costs are estimated at 40 per cent higher compared to the construction cost of the United States. This led to the government through the Green Building Council of Australia advocating for the development of the Australian green building revolution, with its main goal being the adoption of more green building practices. In return, these practices will help reduce the construction and running costs while minimizing Australia's environmental footprint.

To promote the initiative, individuals can start by making their homes more eco-friendly. For a start, homeowners can try out good water collection and storage practices. This begins the journey of being eco-friendly by reducing the cost of your water bill. Since water is the most-used commodity in the house, such practices can be really helpful especially for people with swimming pools in their backyards.

Swimming pools - though a favourite relaxation style for most Australians in the warm summer - can be very unfriendly to the environment. The average cost of running a swimming pool is about $31.30 per week in electricity alone. This is without factoring in the negative effects of chemicals used in maintaining a good pool. To enjoy swimming in a healthy way, pools need to be made eco-friendly. Implementing the following practices can make your pool environmentally-friendly and reduce your household's green footprint.

Scaling Down On Chemical Use

To kill bacteria and algae, pool owners use chlorine and other chemicals. These chemicals, however, cause skin and eye irritation while simultaneously contributing to ozone pollution. Reducing or avoiding chemical use is therefore necessary. To achieve this, homeowners can install a salt water pool that requires fewer chemicals, since salt water makes conditions harsh for bacteria and algae growth. Water purification tablets or the use of ozone and UV systems can be deployed as alternatives in water purification.

Also, using aquatic plants is the most recommended way to make your pool eco-friendly, such as sphagnum moss. It limits bacteria growth and absorbs metals compounds found in swimming pool water. This proves to be a more natural way of purifying your water, making it eco-friendly.

Have A Cover For Your Pool

Installing a pool cover is the easiest improvement homeowners can make. Having a swimming pool cover reduces water loss through evaporation by 97 percent. This brings about major cost savings, since fewer amounts of water will be used to refill the pool. Covers also come with an added advantage of reducing your chemical use, as well as resources used to clean with pool. A cover ensures that minimal foreign objects, such as leaves and dust, come into contact with the pool when not in use. Heat covers also prevent heat loss, allowing homeowners to swim even on cooler days with little additional expenses on heating. 

Investing in Solar Heaters

For anything to be eco-friendly, using clean energy sources is paramount. The sun provides an unlimited source of clean energy that can be used to heat pools. Heating swimming pools is the main reason pools come with astronomical water bills. Gas pool heating costs range from between $5.44 and $23.13 per hour to run. Use of clean solar energy brings costs down to a range between $0.35 to $0.65 per hour. A series of tubes are fitted in the pool that absorbs heat from the sun to warm the water, saving on energy and electric bills.

Automation of Water Pumps

Swimming pool pumps characteristically run for longer than the required time. This leads to high energy use that automatically increases costs. Manually turning the pumps on and off can have the effect of circulation if it exceeds or goes below recommended running time of about six hours daily. Fitting automatic pumps, therefore, comes as an invaluable addition. The pool self-regulates and turns the pumps on automatically when required, leading to cost savings.

A swimming pool is always an enjoyable addition to any home in Australia. The prohibitive costs associated with running a pool often act as a hindrance to people wanting to own one, but by implementing these eco-friendly practices, you can save money and the environment while still having a swimming pool at home.

  • Rhiannon Duke
Decorating Your Home Sustainably: Ideas to Try in 2019

Decorating Your Home Sustainably: Ideas to Try in 2019

Many of us are making shifts towards living a more sustainable lifestyle — in fact, over 34% of Australians believe it’s important to buy from eco-friendly brands. An important element of sustainable living includes how you decorate the home you live in. Sustainable interior design makes a positive impact on the environment by avoiding the depletion of our planet’s natural resources, while creating a stylish home you love living in. It also ensures a healthier space since you won’t be using products treated with pesticides or harsh chemicals. Here’s a look at the top interior design trends for 2019 that you can try out within your home.

 

Including more sustainable materials

Natural materials, such as wood and natural stone, carry a lower environmental impact than synthetic ones. If a product has a FSC label, it was harvested sustainably. Demand is also increasing for organic materials grown without the use of pesticides which harm the environment, wildlife and human health. In fact, sales of organic products are increasing 10-15% annually each year. Organic cotton bedding, for example, is a healthier choice, particularly if you have allergies or chemical sensitivities. Similarly, natural fibre rugs like hemp, seagrass and jute are biodegradable and recyclable.

 

Water-efficient appliances

Water conservation is an important issue in many parts of Australia. Even despite droughts, Australians are the highest consumers of water per capita in the world. Reducing water use is becoming an increasing necessity, which is why installing water-efficient appliances (such as toilets and faucets) throughout your home is an important switch to make. For example, simply installing a water-efficient shower head in your bathroom saves the average family 2, 900 gallons of water a year. Moreover, since there’s less requirements on the water heater, your electricity bill will also be slashed.

 

Living Green Wall and Living Wall Systems 

Bring the outside in with a living green wall (vertical gardens) — a sustainable trend which is continuing to increase in popularity. Not only do the living green wall look beautiful and help the environment, but they’re also easy to install in your home. You can buy solid living green wall kits (such as gro wall pro, gro wall slim pro, gro wall slim line, gro wall 4.5, gro wall facade), which can easily be attached with screws to any solid wall. Having a plant wall in your home will absorb harmful toxins in the air and purify it — a phenomenon discovered by NASA way back in 1989.

Sustainable interiors don’t have to sacrifice style. With some extra thought, you can create a home that’s environmentally-friendly as well as beautiful. Ultimately, investing in items made for longevity (in terms of both quality and aesthetic) rather than disposable, short-term trends is something we should all aim for.

Author

Alicia Rennoll (Environmental Research)