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5 game-changing technologies in housing sustainability



Want to live in a house with an annual power and water bill that falls under $500? Yes, please. Today, thanks.

That’s what the home buyers in the new eco-village The Cape, Victoria, said when they signed up for their 8.2-star energy rated homes.

The seaside homes are so kitted out with the latest sustainability bits and pieces that they are virtually self-reliant – in fact, $400 of the homes’ yearly electricity cost is just the fee to connect to the power grid. Ultimately, the houses are expected to be able to eventually disconnect completely.

Homeowners and renters are increasingly looking for energy efficiency when they’re choosing their new home. That makes it an important consideration for investors too, if they want to stay attractive in the future market.

The pace of change in green-friendly homes is incredible, and what’s even more amazing is the way technology is driving sustainable solutions. Here are some of the latest innovations:

  1. Heat-seeking Drones. Yes, they’re good for more than spying on celebrities. Canadian company MyHEAT uses drones to physically see where heat is escaping from homes using thermal heat mapping, so homeowners can maximise their insulation.
  2. Smart windows. Tight seals and glazing are used to stop draughts and block heat from the sun, which keeps cooling costs down. But there’s a new sheriff in town: smart windows.

Smart windows have a high-tech coating added at high heat that provides a layer of invisible insulation. It basically means that your windows act more like an insulated wall, and less like a very thin sheet of, well, glass.

  1. Cool (in every sense of the word) roof tiles. Even the humble roof tile is getting a technology makeover. Highly reflective tiles have been created to reflect heat away from the house and keep it cooler in summer. Regular tiles can be coated in a reflective paint with high levels of solar reflectance.
  2. Smartphone homes: If you’ve watched the latest renovation shows, you’d see how technology is taking over basic human function – but in a fun, eco-saving kind of way. Hooking up lights, locks, air conditioners, and security systems not only wows your renters, but it also means no more leaving expensive items running when no-one’s home.
  3. Bright lighting ideas. Unless you’ve been hiding away the past few years, you’d know LEDs are the bulbs to use. They last virtually forever and use almost no power compared to regular incandescent bulbs. But indoor motion sensor lighting is becoming more popular.

Motion sensors ensure lights aren’t left on in the usual suspect areas: places like walk-in robes, laundries and garages. This is a pretty easy solution for cutting down electricity costs. Apparently it’s also pretty awesome for avoiding the awkward ‘elbow flick’ of the light switch when your hands are full, too.

Sustainable and ultra-convenient? Now that’s a trend everyone can get on board with!

Plenty of these new technologies can be integrated into existing homes, although it would be safe to say that some are pretty costly. With sustainability becoming a bigger priority for buyers, it’s well worth looking into – and there’s some nifty long-term savings for investors too.

Are you looking to make your debut on the property scene? Here are 7 questions every first home buyer needs to ask before buying.