Busting some sustainability myths
by Sophie Pickett-Heaps
Costly and full of compromise?
These are two of the common myths that people believe about green homes.
But they couldn’t be further from the truth, says Stockland’s co-head of design, Sophie Pickett-Heaps.
“A lot of people think that choosing a sustainable home means they’ll have to compromise something.”
But a sustainable home doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort, design or style, Sophie says.
And it doesn’t mean shunning society, existing on a diet of mung beans or wearing hair shirts either.
“Sustainability is just about making sensible choices,” she says.
Sophie says investment in energy efficiency is a perfect example, and points to Stockland’s sustainable project home at Willowdale in Sydney.
The two-storey family home has been designed and built to achieve close to zero emissions through its range of energy-saving features.
While the investment in 5 kilowatt solar panels cost around $7,000, it could save up to $2,000 in energy costs, in conjunction with other features such as double glazing, draught sealing and external shading. This means the home’s owners will recoup their investment within as little as four years – and enjoy ongoing cost savings for many years after that.
“An investment in energy efficiency may seem like a long-term investment, but as electricity and gas prices continue to rise, you can be sure you’ll be reaping the rewards quite quickly,” Sophie adds.
Sophie says another misconception people have is that sustainability stops at their front door.
“A truly sustainable home exists within a sustainable community. It’s about being able to walk to the park, an outlook to street trees and gardens, enjoying easy access to shops and services, and enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle,” she says.
“You can have the greenest home with solar panels on the roof, water tanks and LED lighting, but if you have to get in your car even to get to the shop, then it’s not really a sustainable home.”
A third misconception is that one person can’t make a difference.
It is easy to dismiss your family’s environmental footprint when there are seven billion people on the planet, but “lots of small choices can make up to big impacts,” Sophie says.