When you choose to restore and extend a period home, there are sustainable choices you can make as an owner when going through this process with your builder. Instead of building new, you’re able to give new life to an existing home that has been built with unique character and longevity in mind.
However, not all period homes are made equal, nor are they built to last forever with no maintenance. However, an extension will breathe new life into the property and can future-proof it for years to come.
The good news is you don’t have to give up on your sustainable ambitions when considering a period home extension – there are a number of options that are kind to the planet, without compromising on style. Here are just a few of our favourites.
Reuse and recycle
When undertaking a period home extension, it’s worth establishing if there are any materials from your existing home that you can salvage and repurpose with your new design. You will save on costs as you won’t have to buy new; prevent materials going to landfill and add character to your new addition. Some materials can be re-used in some way – whether it’s timber flooring that’s repolished and re-laid or windowpanes that are carefully removed and re-added into the new design somewhere else. Recycled materials don’t need to come from your existing home either – recycled steel and timber are both available in the residential construction market.
If you can’t use existing materials, you could look to source sustainable materials in your period home extension. This could mean incorporating sustainably sourced timber, cork, concrete or even bamboo. Where possible, it’s best to also consider the supply chain of each material. By opting for Australian-made materials, you can reduce the ecological footprint and support local businesses – a win-win!
Opting for sustainable options doesn’t mean compromise either – businesses like Colorbond steel create affordable and eco-friendly products that are durable, modern and easily recycled at the end of their lifecycle. However, it is important to do your research – look for official certification, recyclability and eco-friendly production methods for the green tick of approval.
Australia is a ‘sunburnt’ country, so an option could be taking advantage when extending your period home by introducing solar panels. If your home has the right roofing, you can install panels that capture the energy of the sun and convert this into electricity that powers your home, potentially reducing your energy bills. You may even want to take the chance to convert all your gas appliances into electric ones, so that eventually, you will have minimal energy bills.
While we may have plenty of sunshine, water is a finite resource. Consider choosing water-saving taps, showerheads and toilets.
Purposeful window design
Window selection is another way you can choose sustainability in your period extension. Well-located windows can introduce natural light, encourage cross-ventilation and even contribute to passive solar heating, helping to keep your home warm in the winter.
The thickness of glass also plays a part – double-glazed windows reduce heat loss by 30% when compared to single-glazed windows, helping to regulate the internal temperature of your home. If you are installing double-glazed windows with your extension, but your existing property only had single-glazed, consider replacing the glass of the existing windows to maintain energy-efficiency.
Passive heating and cooling
When extending a period home in a sustainable way, it’s essential to consider the movement of the sun, ensuring that the extension or addition receives the maximum amount of sun in the winter. This will result in a more comfortable temperature year around, without the need for artificial heating and cooling.
While we can’t adjust the orientation of a home, there are ways to manage and mitigate exposure, including the use of double- or triple-glazed glass in windows and doors, strategic shading and the installation of new insulation. These will all make a clear difference to your home’s comfort levels and energy bills!
To get started on your period home journey today, contact us on (03) 9882 5255.