Architects and builders are increasingly including sustainable design principles in their work throughout NSW, and for good reason. These green choices are more environmentally friendly, they can boost the resale value of a property and they can save the homeowner countless dollars in maintenance, energy and resources over time. We would like to provide a rundown of the latest sustainable trends and how to plan for these throughout the construction process.

Water & Energy Efficiency
If you plan to install greywater systems, underground tanks or rainwater tanks for the home these will each require specific planning. The earlier you start to consider these factors, the lower the chances of delays or variations further in time.

Solar Panel Installation
Solar panels and energy-saving systems have multiple benefits however additional planning and work may be required to accommodate wiring and installation. We recommend speaking with your builder and working with experienced tradespeople to ensure efficient installation.

Sustainable Materials
If you are planning to use renewable and recyclable materials such as straw, wool, recycled metal, rammed earth or bamboo, you’ll want to work with a builder who is experienced in handling these supplies. Anything that is incorrectly installed could potentially lead to further complications and delays down the track.

Green Roofs
Green roofs feature a layer of plants to cool the building and offset the ‘heat island’ effect caused by house roofs in built-up areas. Crucially, installing the watering and drainage systems, waterproofing material and vegetation can add to the overall weight, so more time could potentially require allocating to reinforce the roof structure if not properly planned for.

New and Imported Products
There are so many new materials and products available that help to reduce a home’s environmental footprint, but many of these are developed outside of Australia. If you’re incorporating a new type of triple-glazed glass from Germany or a specific type of cladding into your design, extra time may need to be factored in for the sourcing and delivery of these products.

These factors should certainly not discourage architects from using green design principles in new home designs. Rather, we recommend you build a relationship with your builder and begin to plan your sustainable design elements from early on in the planning process. With the correct preparation, your project can be completed on time, on budget and with the very best of innovative green design principles to help transform the way we live.