So, you’re building a new house?
This can be a brilliant, satisfying experience, or a stressful nightmare. The difference is nearly always the upfront planning and the choices you make around key areas of your design.
Here are our top five ways to prepare your new home for a future that might include challenges to energy supplies, limited access to water and other resources, and changes in technology.
1: Install Solar from the Start
Energy is one of the biggest ongoing costs in any home. Heating the water, running the lights, powering a multitude of devices, enjoying warmth in winter and cool air in summer. You can either sign up to your normal power supplier and hope for the best or mitigate and offset your risks (and your long term costs) by installing a solar system, upfront, plus battery storage if recommended.
The advantages of including solar into the build are minimising energy costs right from the get-go. Decide how much you’d like to invest, look at feasibility of adding to the system later and working out how quickly it will pay off. Find out if solar is right for your home so you can enjoy both lower monthly power bills and capital gain.
2: Install Energy Saving Devices
Installing modern, energy efficient appliances may cost a little more up-front, but will pay off over time. As well as saving you money on energy and using less water to achieve the same or better results as older appliances. Install low-flow toilets (if possible) on a system that collects rainwater from your roof. Forget cost-intensive water tank heaters, replace them with modern, tankless ones. Ensure the windows are double glazed (now a legal requirement) and use quality insulation. If possible, install a ventilation system for continuous warm, clean air. Your family will thank you for it!
3: Build Smarter
Often called “the Internet of Things,” smart houses allow you to control all kinds of functions remotely through your cell phone. Turn on the lights, the oven, the heating and cooling, or the alarms and security systems, wherever you are. Video alarm systems are a terrific investment, adding security to property and often increasing its resale value. Installation doesn’t have to be a large cost but check out any ongoing charges such as monitoring and budget for it. You can supersize the savings from your solar system by using power management systems throughout your home.
4: Make Better Use of Space
Another key trend is tiny houses that maximise the use of space through clever architectural design. You don’t need to build on a tiny footprint to enjoy the same benefits though. Spaces that adapt to different functions and clever storage integration offer a user-friendly living experience.
5: Invest for the Best
Outcome, that is. Some builders estimate future proofing your new build can add as much as 20% to the overall cost, but that this will be more than recouped over the lifetime of the home. Also, many of the features above will add to the resale value of your home, should you ever decide to sell.
But the real value is probably derived from a warm home in winter, cool in summer, feels clean to live and breathe in, works for you and your family, and contributes to a sustainable world. And that’s something to feel good about.