Six quick steps to reduce your home’s eco footprint

by Urbane Property

Did you know that Sydney was recently rated Australia’s most liveable city? Yep, we finally knocked Melbourne off its perch and made it into the top five global rankings.

Liveability has become a bit of a buzz word of late, and it doesn’t just apply to towns and cities, houses can have a liveability rating, too.

Liveability comes down to how healthy, efficient and comfortable a home is. Will it be stuffy in the summer? Freezing in winter? Will the freshly planted garden droop before your eyes? A liveability rating can be gold to a buyer because without it, no matter how impressive a home looks, its greatest drawcards – or downfalls – won’t become apparent until you move in.

The CSIRO’s Centre for Liveability Real Estate has created an assessment framework that enables qualified agents (like us!) to promote a property’s liveability score alongside more traditional markers such as square metres, bedrooms and bathrooms.

The score is based on 17 future-focussed factors linked to energy and water efficiency, along with local amenities and lifestyle factors.

If you’re already settled in your home, or want to boost its appeal to potential purchasers, here are some simple things you can do with one eye on the future, to make it comfortable and sustainable. The good news is you can up your liveability score without investing in major retrofitting.

1: Overhaul your garden

Make your garden greener (in both senses) by choosing plants that thrive in the local weather and soil conditions. Marrickville and Rozelle Bay community nurseries are powered by volunteers who propagate seeds from local bushland, and sell or give them away to locals. You’ll significantly reduce your water usage and, once the plants prosper, native birds will drop in to visit.

2: Let the air in

Cross-flow ventilation is one of the most effective ways to cool a home. Rather than simply opening a window, look for pathways through your home, where, by opening corresponding windows and doors, you’ll create a cross-flow breeze. Ramp up the air flow by adding a fan, and the effect on comfort levels can be similar to whacking the air con down by three degrees.

3: Shop locally

Part of loving your home is loving its location. Rather than driving to a major grocery chain or mega mall for your shopping needs, explore the small businesses around you. By supporting local businesses you’ll help keep them alive, ensuring the character and convenience of your neighbourhood endures.

4: Insulate

If you didn’t jump on the bandwagon during the government’s controversial Home Insulation Program, the energy savings remain a strong incentive to insulate. Up to 35 per cent of a home’s temperature gain or loss occurs through the ceiling, while insulating the underside of floorboards can prevent up to 20 per cent of heat loss and gain.

5: Be window-wise

Up to 40 per cent of a home’s warmth is lost through its windows, and up to 87 per cent of summer heat is gained through them. If switching your original lead lights to new low-emissivity glass isn’t an option, a few simple hacks will help improve their thermal performance. External shading devices can help, and plantation shutters provide the flexibility of inviting sun where and when you want it.

6: Let there be light

Good lighting enhances the liveability — and future value — of a property. And if it’s energy efficient you can use a lot less power tomorrow than you do today. Simply switching out your old halogen globes for LED will reduce energy use by up to 80%. In other good news they last longer, don’t emit heat, are safe to dispose of and produce a huge range of hues for mood and task lighting.


How liveable is your property? Our agents are qualified Liveability Real Estate specialists. Contact us for a free liveability appraisal of your home or investment.

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