Politics aside, the carbon tax will almost certainly have an impact if you are planning to build a new house or renovate your current home. Whether it’s a positive or negative impact is really up to the decisions you make early on. So the time you spend planning and seeking advice now on the best solutions should pay off handsomely in the future.
Why? In reality the carbon tax may not make a big difference to costs in the first few months because there is already existing stock in the system. But price rises are just a matter of time and most people are usually working months in advance when they are building or renovating. Therefore, it’s pretty much a given that the cost of manufacture for many building materials will increase during the life of your project.
If you’re already in the planning phase it’s worth pausing and taking a good look at what you intend to do.
Areas to consider
1) Choose materials that are less energy intensive to produce. Your architect will guide you on the choice.
2) Consider the size of your home or renovation. After years of ‘mega-mansions’, times are changing. Small is beautiful. But that doesn’t mean cramped and uncomfortable. Today, with the right design and a desire to ‘de-clutter’, you can still have all the space you need and run a sustainable home.
- Make the most of the site and the orientation of the building to get the benefit of natural light and breezes.
3) Prioritise your use of space. The most used rooms (like the kitchen and living areas) need most light and bigger areas. Bedrooms and bathrooms usually require less light and space because they are either used for short periods, or used mainly at night.
4) Make the most of the sun. Whilst you don’t want to overheat in summer the sun provides natural warmth in winter. For the rest of the year it can be controlled by the design of the building and the shade of structures like pergolas.
- Install solar panels.
- Insulate the roof to help regulate temperatures inside.
5) Look carefully at what fixtures and appliances are available. Old technology can be expensive!
- Buy high star-rated electrical goods
- Replace old heating systems
- Look at high-tech glass for windows
6) Water! Water is a valuable commodity these days so consider how you can collect and store water.
- Install a water tank
- Fit a grey-water diversion system
- Replace single flush toilets with dual flush
The carbon tax may be an impediment in many ways but, on the positive side, it will force us to consider more sustainable options in housing design. Ultimately, the savings begin at the very beginning – with the design. If you rush it or cut corners you risk an expensive outcome. So talk it over with your architect at the earliest possible stage.
If you’ve got any questions or a topic you’d like us to explore in future blogs just let us know. You can email us here