Green Star Homes unpacked: three ways you can make your home more positive

29 Jun 2022

Green Star Homes defines a positive home as one that is energy efficient, powered by renewables and all electric. A positive home is healthy, better for the environment and will save you money in the long run. If you’re feeling the cold this winter in your home, you’re not alone - Australian Google searches for home heaters have reached their highest peak since recording began in 2004 but before you reach for your heater, there are steps you can take around the home to keep warm. Some of these measures are easy and inexpensive, some might require a bit more work and money, but most are possible whether you live in an apartment or a house.

1. Get efficient and keep the cold out

Australian homes are notoriously poorly sealed, but you can take action. Sustainability Victoria estimates that up to 25% of winter heat loss in existing homes is caused by draughts, so it makes sense that one of the cheapest and easiest ways to keep the cold out is by sealing spaces where heat leaks out and the cold gets in.

Start simple by closing off rooms that aren’t in use and by using draught stoppers under doors. 

Next, take the time to inspect the windows and doors around your home, checking for unsealed areas by looking, listening, and feeling around typically draughty areas for cool air, wind or rattling sounds.

Once you find these draughts how you seal them depends on where they’re at and Sustainability Victoria shows you where to go next:

When purchasing energy appliances, boost efficiency by ensuring they are the right size for your space, compare running costs between models, and check their energy rating stars - remember the more stars, the more savings! And if you’re running older appliances, keep them efficient by keeping them maintained and in good running order.

2. Make the most of the sun

Australia is renowned for its sunshine and many of us are making the most of it. Around 30% of Australian homes have embraced the power of the sun to save money on energy bills and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

Solar pays itself off quickly so you can start saving sooner. The site estimates that a home solar PV system starts at around $3500 for a basic installation and research has found that once it’s set up you’ll save at least $800 on energy bills per annum. You might even be eligible for financial assistance to help you make the most of the sun too.

It’s worth remembering the power of the elements and if you have access to a yard or balcony, nothing beats drying your clothes with wind and the sun. Not only will you save financially, but if you’re used to using a drier or hanging clothes indoors, you’ll improve your home’s air quality too by taking your drying outdoors.

3. Go all electric

Disconnecting gas in your home has many benefits. If it’s an option, you’ll save money and you’ll stop using a fossil fuel that releases harmful emissions into your home and the environment. One recent article reported that a Melbourne family will save $1859 a year by ditching gas and replacing gas appliances – including heaters, stove tops and ovens – with electric alternatives at a cost of $5000. If you’re building a new home, Renew has found owners will save $9000 – $16,000 over 10 years if their new home is all-electric with a 5-kilowatt solar system, rather than using gas and electricity with no solar. There’s mounting evidence that burning gas indoors causes respiratory issues in the young and vulnerable. The Climate Council reports children living in a home with gas stoves have a 42% increased risk of experiencing asthma symptoms, and a 24% greater chance of being diagnosed with asthma at some point in life. Switching gas for electric will help you save money, and it will make your home healthier too.

Did you know that on average 90% of our time is spent indoors? And 2/3 of that time spent is in the home?  It’s no wonder the home is considered the most important purchase you will ever make, and certainly the most expensive. By choosing a Green Star Home, you can be sure your home meets high standards in health, energy efficiencies and comfort. Learn more about Green Star Homes here.