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    4 ways to create a self-sufficient home

    How to live sustainably off the grid

    Hannah | Oneflare

    There is a lot of talk about sustainability these days, especially when it comes to home design. Finding a sustainable home design is important not only for your budget’s sake, but also from an eco-conscious view point as well. Australia now has stringent requirements for builders of new structures to create buildings that are sustainable and energy efficient.

    Designing a sustainable home

    Designing a sustainable home is about choosing materials that are not necessarily cost-effective now, but will last the longest and provide the most wear. It is important when designing a home that you ensure that the design will work for some time to come with energy efficient aspects such as a north facing living room, energy efficient windows, open floor plan, and more.

    Source: S.F.D Caringbah

    What is sustainability?

    Sustainability is the ability to endure through change and requirement. A sustainable home design is not only appealing and attractive but energy efficient, spacious, and provides effective use of square footage. Other aspects of sustainability include good insulation, sealed windows, energy efficient heating system and minimal use of natural resources.

    Sustainable home design principles

    Sustainable home design principles include:

    • Prime location, orientation and landscaping to maximize exposure to natural sunlight and breezes.
    • Solar energy elements
    • Water recycling and efficiency
    • Alternate energy sources such as solar or wind power
    • Low energy consumption
    • Recycled materials

    Ways to create a self sufficient home

    1. Save water

    Unless you have a well somewhere on your property, going completely off the grid when it comes to the water supply is nearly impossible; still, it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to save water and minimise its consumption. You can collect rainwater from your own rooftop and use it for the toilet, washing clothes, and watering plants. What is more, if you properly maintain your rainwater tank and follow the Department of Health’s guidelines, you can use it for cooking too. Having a rainwater tank can save you a lot of money. You can also save water you used for washing your hands and use it to flush your toilet, for example.

    2. Waste management

    We all make a lot of waste every day, but if you start sorting it, recycling, and making compost, you will be able to minimize the impact you have on the environment. Compost is easy to make, all you need are organic materials you can layer: scraps of vegetables from your kitchen, grass clippings after mowing your lawn, dry leaves and twigs in autumn, as well as shredded paper. You will also need a bit of soil in order to create a concoction which becomes humus which you will be able to use to fertilize your garden naturally. Keep in mind that dairy and meat products shouldn’t be thrown in compost bins, as these attract the ‘wrong’ kind of insects.

    3. The sun is your friend

    It’s possible to produce your own electricity and not pay for it by installing solar panels on the roof of your home or pick free-standing ones and leave them in an open area. Solar panels use the sun’s rays and warmth and convert them into electrical energy which you can use to power your home in any way: for cooking, electrical appliances, charging your phone… You name it! Even though they used to be rather expensive and difficult to get, solar panels are more affordable today than ever. They will allow you to save a lot of money too: a 5kw solar system will save you up to $1800 a year. As the electricity prices rise every day, solar panels are a common sight everywhere.

    Solar is a renewable source of energy and can help save you money on bills / Source: Hot Water Heroes Pty Ltd

    4. Natural heating & cooling

    Your heating and cooling systems are taking up a lot of energy and money, so by switching to solar panels, your monthly bills will be significantly lower. Your reliance on these can also be reduced, however, if you make small changes in your household: if you opt for increased ceiling and wall insulation as well as double glazed windows, you won’t have to rely on artificial heating and cooling. The best thing is that both of these things can be added as building sustainability upgrades for your modular home. Also, you’ll want to close off areas of your home which you aren’t using all the time: living room during the night and bedrooms during the day.

    Wrap up

    Turning to alternative sources to provide your own heating, cooling, and water, as well as to manage your own waste is a great way to do something for our planet. You might think that it’s not much, but you’d be surprised to discover how much those ‘little things’ matter when you consider the bigger picture. Attaining self-sufficiency is challenging, but definitely worth it, and if you’re willing to put in more effort, you’ll manage to get your own self-sufficient home and do something for the environment.

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