Located in the growing Sunshine Coast suburb of Mount Coolum, this investment property was purchased Home Scouts for…
In this blog, we cover our top 10 sustainability features to look for when buying your Sunshine Coast property, which will also save you money in the long term on energy and water bills.
As cost of living pressures increase, Sunshine Coast property buyers are increasingly prioritising sustainability features in properties which reduce demand on wasted energy and save significant annual costs.
So, if you’re looking to purchase a Sunshine Coast property that isn’t going to cost you unnecessary extra in ongoing maintenance costs as well as enable a healthier living environment, what sustainability features should you be looking for?
1. Smart design
When you’re looking to buy your Sunshine Coast property, look for a property that has the right orientation and maximises natural lighting, shading, breezes and cross-ventilation, to help preserve both heat and cool air. The Sunshine Coast Council released a useful guide called Cool Homes for the Sunshine Coast which gives some great tips and tools for smart design features to look for.
Insulation in the ceilings and walls keeps in the cooler air in summer and retains the warm air during winter. It is one of the top sustainability features or ways to minimise wasted energy and reduce costs. When considering buying a Sunshine Coast property, remember to ask if the walls and loft are insulated and also check if the agent is aware if eco-friendly materials were used in the process.
3. Energy-efficient heating and cooling
Reverse cycle air-conditioners provide convective heat and are the most energy-efficient heater and coolers of all types, irrespective of fuel source. These are ideal for sustainability. Even the lower efficiency rated units (for example, 2 to 3 energy stars) are significantly cheaper to run and generate less greenhouse gas emissions than other heating and cooling appliances.
It’s worth checking the energy-efficient rating on the air conditioners of the Sunshine Coast property you are looking to buy.
4. Energy efficient hot water systems
Water heating is the second largest segment of household energy use, ranging from 15% to 27%. So when a renewable heating source is used (such as a solar or heat pump), your annual water costs can be significantly reduced.
Have a look at the heating system of any property you have shortlisted, to check if it’s solar or a heat pump.
5. Solar panels and solar pool heating
Given we are the “Sunshine State”, solar is an obvious choice for energy efficiency, so finding a home with solar panels already installed (and installed for the pool) can save you significantly on your energy bills.
6. Window frames, glazing and shading
Glazing (the glass and frames in windows, external doors and skylights) has a significant impact on keeping a house cool in summer or warm in winter, with up to 40% of a home’s heating energy lost and up to 87% of its heat gained through windows. The Australian Glass and Window Association’s tool calculates the savings that may be achieved through energy-efficient glazing.
Make sure the Sunshine Coast home you’re looking to purchase has the right frames, glazing and shading which will minimise energy consumption (and ongoing annual energy costs).
Windows and doors that have been designed to encourage ventilation and cool breezes when open are an obvious feature to look for in any Sunshine Coast property you’re looking to buy. But you also need to check that they are properly sealed, so that they don’t allow hot draughts in summer, or cold draughts in winter which can cause 15-25% of winter heat loss in a home.
While we live in a largely warm and sunny place, it is also a tropical location so can be subject to week/s of rain at points throughout the year. Ventilation is really important for Sunshine Coast property buyers, as inadequate ventilation in a house can result in condensation and mould (which can be a big problem here for Sunshine Coast property owners).
Make sure you look carefully at the ventilation features of a property before you buy.
8. Efficient lighting – use of natural light and LED lighting
LED lights last much longer than standard bulbs, and they are around 75% more energy efficient. When used in conjunction with a smart lighting system and motion sensors, you can control energy usage to avoid waste. In addition to eco-friendly lighting technology, look for large windows, skylights and anything that allows natural light into the home, as this will reduce the need to consume energy.
9. Energy efficient appliances – fridges, televisions, washing machines, dishwashers
Energy-efficient appliances help you save water and money as well as reduce your carbon footprint. Appliances may not be usually part of the sale agreement of a Sunshine Coast property you’re looking to purchase. However, if they are, make sure you look out for the energy label on the appliance which tells you how much energy that appliance uses.
10. Water recycling systems and choosing water saving fittings and appliances
The biggest water-users in the home are washing machines, showers, taps and toilets.
Look for those water-efficient features in a home (eg. Water saving showerheads, water efficient taps or aerators, and dual flush toilets). Buying a property which has water saving fittings and appliances could save you up to 65% from avoided water heating due to reduced electricity and gas costs and 35% from reduced water bills.
Good luck! And if you need advice or support when looking to find your perfect Sunshine Coast property, please don’t hesitate to speak to our friendly team.