With increasing community focus on ecodesign and ecoliving, more home owners, renovators, investors, builders, architects and designers, are looking for ways to improve their ecological and environmental footprint, as they renovate or build new properties.
Some of the top ways to adopt an ecodesign approach to your next project are:
1) Reuse and Recycle
If you are renovating an existing property, try to reuse or restore as many of the original materials as possible, this will help minimise waste and it can add value by retaining some of the original design elements and charm.
What you can't reuse, recycle. Different ways to recycle items include; upcycling them to create something new, giving them away or selling them to others, taking them to the correct recycling locations or having them collected.
2) Green Building Design
There is a vast amount to consider in terms of building design to minimise a property's environmental impact including;
minimising and ideally eliminating any damage or destruction of the surrounding environment in the construction process
minimising the need for artificial heating and cooling with designs that naturally keep houses cooler in summer and warmer in winter
ensuring maximum access to natural light &
incorporating maximum greenery to improve air quality e.g. planting gardens (including rooftop gardens) and green walls.
3) Minimise Water Use
Install water efficient fixtures and appliances to save water, look into options for rain water harvesting and tank use, consider smart irrigation systems for gardens and install greywater recycling systems to reuse the water from baths, sinks and washing machines.
4) Minimise Energy Use
Plan to use renewable energy sources like solar as much as possible, install quality insulation, double glazed windows and energy efficient appliances and lighting.
5) Eco-Product Selection
As part of the design, building and renovation process choose materials that are recycled or sustainably and responsibly produced.
Where you are considering your selections for flooring, tiles, landscaping or decking, look into how the products you are considering were made. Find out:
what the items are made from
how were the components sourced
where are the items manufactured
is production socially and environmentally responsible
how long will the items last
how much maintenance is needed &
what happens when those materials are no longer being used in the future, could they be recycled or are they biodegradable.
Written by Kyla Shelley, ecodesign advocate, design project manager and colour consultant.