Plug Your Home Into the Future: A New Way Of Renovating In Sydney


In the bustling heart of Sydney, where urban living harmonises with the natural beauty of the surroundings, a quiet revolution is underway.

An increasing number of homeowners in Sydney, particularly in the Inner West, Eastern Suburbs, and North Sydney areas, are recognising the profound impact of transforming their homes into highly energy-efficient living spaces. This transformation promises significant benefits for their well-being, finances, and the environment.

A new way of renovating and building in Sydney – The iconic tree house building in Turin

Wellness Beyond Walls: Revealing the Health Benefits of Energy-Efficient Living

In today’s world, where the quality of the air we breathe and the spaces we inhabit profoundly influence our daily lives, it’s no longer feasible to overlook the health implications of conventional construction methods.

Startling statistics from the Australian Health and Welfare organisation in 2022 underscore how traditional home environments can detrimentally affect residents’ health, particularly children.

In 2017–18, an alarming 10% of Australian children aged 0–14 (around 460,000) suffered from asthma as a long-term condition. Notably, asthma prevalence was twice as high among children with disabilities (18%) compared to those without reported disabilities (8.9%).

A follow-up analysis in 2021 reveals an alarming upward trend, with asthma rates reaching 12% (around 560,000), largely due to escalating indoor and outdoor air pollution levels.

It is noteworthy that a significant majority, approximately 85%, of these children reside in older or non-sustainable properties.

From compromised indoor air quality to the stress of soaring utility bills, the toll on our well-being is undeniable.

Australia’s children, Asthma prevalence among children – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Sustainable Renovation Homes: On the flip side, sustainable renovation homes that embrace eco-friendly retrofit practices such as Passive House, LEED, BREEAM, and Green Building Council Australia offer more than just a breath of fresh air.

With advanced ventilation systems, meticulous envelope insulation, and the use of environmentally-conscious materials, these homes prioritise creating an environment that fosters well-being.

1. Ventilation Systems: Consider your home as a substantial box. Ensuring a constant supply of fresh air while conserving the comfortable indoor temperature is crucial. This is where a “fresh air machine” comes into play.

These machines draw in fresh air from the outside to prevent indoor air from feeling stuffy. The ingenious part lies in their ability to recover and redistribute the warmth or coolness of the air being expelled, minimising energy waste.

What’s even more remarkable is that these machines are constructed from materials that are non-harmful to people, animals, and the environment. Moreover, they can be easily disassembled and recycled when they reach the end of their lifespan.

2. Airtightness: Visualize your house as a large puzzle, and your goal is to ensure that no cracks or gaps allow air to infiltrate or escape. This meticulous sealing of gaps around doors, windows, and other vulnerable areas is essential to maintaining a consistent indoor temperature without squandering energy.

You can employ specialised materials like tape and putty for this purpose. Additionally, you can incorporate insulation made from eco-friendly materials, safeguarding indoor comfort and preventing heat loss.

Even as your house ages, these materials remain recyclable, echoing the notion of kids dismantling building blocks to craft something new.

Investing Wisely: Beyond Energy Savings to a Comprehensive Financial Approach

While the allure of reducing energy bills by 80% to 90% compared to traditional homes is undeniably attractive, the financial merits of retrofitting extend beyond monthly savings.

Looking solely at energy costs might downplay the value of sustainable renovations. However, when we consider additional expenses such as health-related costs, the outlook transforms significantly.

Furthermore, the high-quality construction methods employed in highly energy-efficient homes not only safeguard against health issues associated with poor indoor air quality but also reduce the need for frequent repairs and constant home maintenance.

Compelling research indicates that such homes can postpone maintenance and major repair work by 50% to 70%, contingent on the location.

Investing in a sustainable retrofit not only yields lower utility expenses but also shields homeowners from unforeseen financial burdens linked to structural problems and health-related concerns. It emerges as a financial strategy that aligns seamlessly with a commitment to a healthier, more content, and ethically responsible lifestyle.

Beyond Walls: The Inherent Value of Highly Energy-Efficient Homes

As the desire for sustainable living gains momentum, the real estate landscape in Sydney, particularly in the Inner West, Eastern Suburbs, and North Sydney, is undergoing a notable transformation. Highly energy-efficient homes transcend being mere residences; they evolve into investments that serve homeowners and their families both in the present and the future.

The evident increase in market value for these eco-conscious homes, often ranging between 20% and 30%, distinguishes them from their traditional counterparts.

For this study, we scrutinised two Victorian Terrace Houses with identical land size, bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas, located in the same Inner West suburb of Sydney.

The house evolution – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Sustainable Home (Home A):

Home A underwent an extensive renovation, featuring cutting-edge sustainable elements such as solar panels, a state-of-the-art heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system, energy-efficient windows, and a high-efficiency heat pump for heating and cooling. Home A holds a Passive House certification, signifying the highest level of sustainability.

The initial renovation cost for Home A amounted to around $1,000,000.

Traditional Construction Home (Home B):

In contrast, Home B underwent renovation using conventional materials and methods, with standard windows, a traditional HVAC system, and no sustainability certification. The initial renovation cost for Home B was $900,000.

Fast forward five years, let’s examine the resale values:

Home A (Sustainable Home):

Thanks to its Passive House Retrofit certification and sustainable features, Home A garnered significant interest from eco-conscious buyers.

Over five years, Home A appreciated by 25%, reaching a value of $2,250,000.

Home B (Traditional Construction Home):

Home B lacked sustainability features that would attract a specific buyer demographic.

Over the same period, Home B saw a more modest appreciation of 10%, with a final value of $1,990,000.

ROI Calculation:

Now, let’s calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) for both homes:

ROI for Home A (Sustainable Home):

Initial Investment: $1,000,000

Home Value before Renovation: $1,000,000

Resale Value after 5 years: $2,250,000

ROI = ((Resale Value – Initial Investment + Home Value at Renovation) / Initial Investment) * 100

ROI for Home A = (($2,250,000 – $2,000,000) / $1,000,000) * 100 = 25%

ROI for Home B (Traditional Construction Home):

Initial Investment: $900,000

Home Value before Renovation: $1,000,000

Resale Value after 5 years: $1,990,000

ROI for Home B = (($1,990,000 – $1,900,000) / $900,000) * 100 = 10%

This substantial ROI for the sustainable Home A can be attributed to the growing demand for environmentally-friendly properties and the added value brought by sustainable features to the resale market. Notably, the Department of Energy reports that 60% of Australians consider energy efficiency when purchasing a home. It’s important to note that real estate markets can vary, and actual ROI figures may differ, but this example underscores the potential financial benefits of investing in sustainability.

Government Support: Navigating Rebates and Incentives for Sustainable Living

Imagine being able to upgrade to a sustainable home without incurring any additional costs during your renovation. It’s an opportunity that few would pass up or at least, they’d want to learn more about.

In New South Wales (NSW), homeowners can leverage Government Programs for sustainable renovations, contingent upon program availability.

NSW Programs for Sustainable Renovations – Find out what is available with Crush Architecture

It’s crucial to understand that sustainable renovations must be certified by independent certifiers. Moreover, the sustainable systems implemented during renovation need to be eligible and listed in the Government Program.

Your architect should hold registration in one of the recognised sustainable systems and possess the knowledge required to claim these government supports.

Conclusion: A Call to Transformative Action

As we draw the curtains on this article, shedding light on highly energy-efficient retrofit homes in Sydney, the message is clear: it’s time to embrace a lifestyle that prioritizes health, financial prudence, and environmental consciousness.

From the air you breathe to the value of your property, the advantages are as transformative as the homes themselves.

Join the movement toward a brighter, healthier future, where your home transcends being a mere structure to become a sanctuary for the well-being of you and your family. Let’s construct a Sydney where energy-efficient living isn’t just an option; it’s a way of life.

November 23, 2023

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