So, you’re thinking of buying a house. First of all, congratulations! You’ve entered the most rewarding part of your life and you’re about to make one of the biggest and most important decisions ever! Second of all, I feel sorry for you.
Buying a house can be a lengthy, tiresome process filled with mixed feelings of excitement and frustration. In order to make a decision that you’ll be proud of for years down the road, you’ll need to weigh in all your options.
Nowadays, the most popular choice for home buyers is still the traditional site-built concrete house. However, just because something is popular, doesn’t mean that it’s right or good. These modern times we’re living in have brought many alternative solutions that are good for your health, your pockets and the environment. Ladies and gents, a round of applause for zero carbon homes!
Zero carbon houses have been dubbed homes of the future for quite some time now, but do they really live up to their hype? Let’s have a look at what carbon neutral house plans are and what they can do for you in the long run.
What Is a Carbon-Free House?
Many people think that a carbon-free house is a simple dwelling made of recyclable materials that don’t put a strain on the environment. Although there’s some truth to that, zero carbon homes a far more complex. So, what is a zero carbon home? A zero carbon house design incorporates several principles such as orientation, insulation and solar power to erect a home that’s self-sustaining.
Also known as carbon neutral and zero-emission homes, these structures create the same amount of renewable energy that they expend, thus creating zero carbon emissions. Now, why is this important you may ask? Well, the housing sector is one of the major contributors to the record-high amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And as you already know, carbon emissions are the leading cause of global warming and climate change.
If you choose a self-sustaining zero carbon house design, you’re joining the fight for a healthier environment. The more people switch to zero carbon footprint homes, the sooner we’ll achieve the Paris Agreement 2050 target (80% emissions reduction). And that’s not all folks, apart from being eco-friendly, zero carbon homes offer numerous other benefits.
What Zero Carbon Homes Can Do for You?
The cost of building a zero carbon house may seem jarring at first for prospective home buyers. However, if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find out that this house design keeps on giving for many years down the line and eventually the initial cost will be paid back in total. So, without further ado, let’s start digging out the benefits of carbon neutral homes.
Cut Your Monthly Expenses in Half
When building a carbon neutral home, there are several ways you can cut your electricity bill in half or bring it down to one big zero:
- Incorporate the elements of passive house design;
- Install highly energy-efficient lights & appliances;
- Produce your own clean energy with solar panels;
- All of the above.
Either way, you’re going to save some big bucks, but if you want to maximise your savings, you should consider the last two on the list. Going off the grid with a home solar panel kit means complete freedom from the fluctuating prices of electricity which are constantly on the rise. Solar panels may add to the initial cost of your zero-carbon home, but they’re a long-term investment that’ll pay itself off in as little as 2 – 6 years.
By combining solar panels with the benefits of LED lights and the principles of passive house design, you can dramatically cut back on your monthly expenses without losing any of the modern conveniences of conventional homes.
Enjoy Great Comfort No Matter the Weather
If you want to enjoy unprecedented year-round comfort, carbon neutral house plans are your best bet. Thanks to the airtight construction and the high thermal insulation in the floors, walls and ceiling, you’ll stay cool as ice during the hot Aussie summer, yet nice and toasty once chilly weather sets in. All that without cranking the AC or splitting tons of firewood.
Carbon neutral homes are designed in a way that makes it impossible for the heat to escape in winter or leak back inside the house in summer. This is done by installing structurally insulated panels in the floors and walls and wool batts in the ceiling. If you want to ensure maximum energy efficiency, you should also consider installing double glazed windows which can reduce heat loss by a whopping 70%.
Let the Sunshine In with All Its Amazing Benefits
Since carbon neutral house designs take into consideration the location and orientation to make the best possible use of natural daylight, you get to obtain all the amazing benefits that the sun has to offer. Apart from increased sustainability and lower utility bills, natural daylight can have amazing effects on your health and overall wellbeing.
Natural lighting can reduce the production of harmful bacteria in your home because the UV rays act as a powerful disinfectant. Maximising sunlight in your home is an excellent way to build a healthier living environment. What’s more sunlight exposure is proven to have immunity-boosting properties. It aids vitamin D production and helps your body take in and make use of other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B, calcium and phosphorus
Lower Your Risk of Respiratory Diseases
Speaking of health, it’s also worth mentioning that zero carbon homes incorporate safe and eco-friendly materials and surfaces that don’t exude dangerous chemicals into the air. What’s more, they make use of advanced fresh air systems. The result is improved indoor air quality free of pollutants such as VOCs, radon, lead etc which are linked to a range of respiratory diseases.
How Do I Make My House More Carbon Neutral?
All these benefits are only a small fraction of what carbon neutral homes have to offer, so it’s no wonder that they are considered to be the homes of the future. Even if you’re not looking to buy right now, you could still make your house more carbon neutral by incorporating some of the principles of carbon neutral house design such as upgrading your windows, installing window coverings, switching to LED sources of illumination and buying energy-efficient appliances. By doing so, you’re taking a proactive stance in protecting the environment, yourself and your pockets.