When planning to build a sustainable home and maintenance-free life, there is a lot to consider. From style to cost-effectiveness, longevity to eco-sustainability, it can often be confusing and overwhelming to consider the right materials. Brickwork's international marketing general manager Brett Ward offers his advice with the following six simple ways you can build with sustainability in mind.
- Prioritise thermal performance
Thermal mass (the ability of a material to absorb, store and slowly release heat energy) is key to creating an energy efficient home. Building with heavy, dense materials such as brick helps to insulate by absorbing and storing heat energy to slow down its transfer so it will be cool in summer and warm in winter. Combining bricks with insulation can lower the carbon footprint with the added benefit of reducing heating and cooling bills by up to 40 per cent.
- Use concrete or terracotta roof tiles
Roof tiles boast an incredible amount of environmental benefits, from their thermal performance, to their low embodied energy and recyclable capabilities. Light colour Bristile Terracotta roof tiles have high reflectivity, and so they reflect more heat away from the home, maintaining a comfortable temperature within the home.
Implementing passive solar design principles with the right materials is all it takes to design and build a sustainable home, so you can enjoy a beautiful and comfortable home that supports a more sustainable lifestyle.Brett Ward
- Design for your climate
This practice, known as Passive Solar Design, takes into account local environmental conditions, including the building site, climate and materials, to create a home that optimises the sun's natural energy. The orientation of your home plays a huge role in the way sunlight enters your home, thus impacting the internal temperature. North facing windows will welcome light and warmth into your home, while overhanging eaves can create shade and provide relief from the harsh sun.
- Install a solar system
Solar energy is a renewable source of energy that is clean, sustainable and does not emit any greenhouse gas when producing electricity. A solar system captures energy from the sun and converts it into electricity, reducing reliance on the power grid and saving hundreds on electricity costs. Bristile roofing has traditional solar panels that sit atop of your existing roof structure, or integrated solar tiles, which are high-efficiency solar PV panels that are embedded into the roof tiles. These are a great way to enjoy all the benefits of a solar system, while maintaining a stylish, sleek roof line.
- Embrace products that last a lifetime
Choosing products with a long lifespan is a great way to decrease environmental impact and the energy used to maintain your home. Building with brick ensures it remains weatherproof, durable and attractive for years to come. Unlike less durable lightweight materials, which can be costly and time consuming to maintain, brick doesn't need painting, rendering or any other coating to maintain its good looks. Choosing bricks from Austral Bricks that are guaranteed to last for 100 years gives you confidence that your home will last you a lifetime, with absolutely no maintenance required. Choosing bricks is a smart one-off investment that pays dividends now, and in the future.
- Use certified carbon-neutral products where possible
Austral Bricks now has more than 70 types of bricks that are certified carbon neutral. Choose bricks knowing that their manufacture results in zero net emissions of greenhouse gases. A product certified as carbon neutral has been assessed and approved against the Australian Government's National Carbon Offset Standard.