Eco-friendly homes don’t just support the environment, but also reduce utility bills, and help make your new home more liveable, so that means ‘green’ design features should be high on your wishlist when downsizing.
Budgeting becomes more critical in retirement. When you rely on a fixed income or pension, the prospect of rising utility bills can be daunting, bringing Dickensian images to mind of a retirement spent huddled in blankets rather than using a watt-guzzling heater to stay warm and cosy.
1 in 2 boomers confirm green appeal
In July 2017, consumer group Choice warned that energy providers will increase electricity and gas prices by up to $400 a year – increases that come at a time when Australians identify the cost of electricity as their greatest concern among household living expenses.
With this in mind, the energy-saving features of a downsizer property can hold significant interest for buyers. But it’s not just hip pocket appeal.
A global study by Nielson found 51% of boomers are willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings. Interestingly, among these eco-minded boomers, the ‘green’ appeal of a product far outweighed price considerations.
According to the Green Building Council Australia, the benefits of eco-friendly buildings stack up.
Green homes put money in the pockets of home owners through savings on energy and water costs. They can be more comfortable to live in year-round, and features such as good ventilation, low-toxic materials and abundant daylight, have been proven to improve the health and wellbeing of residents.
Eco-friendly features worth pointing out
So, what sort of green home features should downsizers be looking for?
A high ‘green star’ rating is a good starting point especially on newer developments. Many newer homes are designed with inbuilt “green” features to improve energy performance, including site orientation, and building materials, as well as solar energy panels and other obvious energy saving fittings and fixtures. The presence of appliances with high energy ratings is another plus.
Even simple features like abundant natural lighting, the presence of exterior shading, low-flow water fittings, rain water tanks, solar hot water, a favourable aspect and good cross-ventilation should not be overlooked.
These types of energy saving features aren’t always obvious in the way that an interior colour scheme is. But it’s well worth carefully considering them as they can enhance a home’s comfort and help to reduce utility bills for many years to come.