Sustainable Homes

Whats the best Net Zero home / sustainable home

Net Zero is a term that’s unfortunately loosely used today and in practical terms it has 3 meanings

Net Zero Proper: means that you have removed the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere that you created. To build a Net Zero home under this definition would be very difficult and require very very substantial offsets to recover the emissions produced in the manufacturing of the materials, transport, its even worse if you went back to mining and extraction of some of the materials (Plaster Steel Bicks Concrete to name a few of the bigger ones). So a True Net Zero home would…

  • Be made of non standard low emission and or renewable materials, haybales, locally sourced mudbricks, rammed earth.
  • Have a non standard look with a smaller footprint, smaller efficient spaces, large flat roof with large eaves for solar panels roof gardens and passive solar design, large openable windows and roof lights for crossflow ventilation, highly visible services like water tanks composting toilets and visible and have very little in the way of mod cons.
  • Require a reasonable degree of effort and attention to run and maintain it and its systems. When designed well the effort isn’t substantial and could be compared to owning a bird, some fish a cat and a dog at the same time.

Net Zero / Off the Grid / Closed loop:

the Green House / Future Food System house by Joost Bakker that was in Federation Sq in Melbounre chose not to use the term Net Zero and instead used the term Closed loop, (Joost was focussing more on energy used in food production) But still used mostly very low impact materials and methods so his home would have had less impact than a standard home by order of several magnitudes. And once built his home required no input beyond sunshine and rain and had no waste or output beyond some water evaporation and is able to successfully shelter and feed 2 people indefinitely, which I think is pretty impressive. These home typically would….

  • Be made of specialised manufactured low emission materials, Eco board, Durra panel, bamboo and other sustainable timber, low carbon concrete, and increasingly recycled plastic composites.
  • Have a non standard look but though still typically smaller could more closely match the shape and layout of a standard home.
  • Require a large degree of effort and attention to run and maintain it and its systems if you take it all the way as you are effectively sustainably farming for your own needs, breeding growing harvesting composting etc etc.
Net Zero / Off the Grid / Closed loop:
Net Zero suburban:

Net Zero suburban:

This is typically what the marketers are talking about when they say Net Zero. These homes do not factor in the materials and emissions created in their construction but strike a balance between the emissions created from a family living in the home and emissions it removes from the atmosphere. These are also typically the types of homes people most want and typically

  • Made of more standardised materials with a preference for low emission materials.
  • Look like a standard home, with usually just a few hints that its Net Zero that either cant be hidden or are deliberately featured to set the home apart.
  • Require no more effort to live in than you standard home

There is of course many areas within these 3 definitions that can be explored and ultimately it comes down to what each client wants, what sort of effort they want to put in, some people like working/running their home and get similar enjoyment as it becomes a hobby or like owning a pet. What they want the home to look like and what sort of materials and design features they want.

There are also many other environmentally friendly or less environmentally harmful products and practices that go along with this that are helpful to the environment but may or may not impact carbon in the atmosphere. And in many instances the metrics are at best vague and can easily stray into the misleading if not outright false.

Ravida understands that people have a lifestyle that they wish to maintain and things they have aspired to and worked hard to be able to realise but don’t want to destroy the planet as a side effect. So we have a range of ways to make our homes more energy efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly that don’t have a large impact on peoples lifestyle, enables them to have their dream home, doesn’t require much effort or attention and has minimal cost impact as well.

Things like

  • A Drying Cupboard.. runs off the highly efficient a/c system and effectively uses the airconditioned air you would have going anyway to dry clothes. It’s very effective and far better than using a clothes drier.
  • Insinkerator for food scraps. Melbourne has one of the most effective waste water treatment plants in the world, it captures gas and uses it to produce electricity, it recycles solids into safe organic fertiliser and releases clean fresh water into our rivers and then the bay, (the water released is at the same quality or better than our drinking water). Vs a poorly managed compost heap this produces less greenhouse emissions, is actually more useful to the environment (more natural and less chemical fertilisers) and is far more convenient to the home owner.
  • The Thermal Shell of our homes is top class, Double glazed low e glass retains heat in winter and reduces heat gain in summer, wall insulation both in external and internal walls floors and ceilings,
  • Insulated slabs, weather strips and gap sealing to all doors, windows and exhaust fans.
  • High efficiency HVAC’s systems include A/C units, Hydronic heating with heat pumps, even Geothermal options.
  • High efficiency appliances ovens cooktops rangehoods
  • Solar hot water units
  • Passive solar design and cross flow ventilation.
  • Water saving taps showers toilets
  • Photo Voltaic panels.
  • Even energy efficient pools.
  • All make a significant difference.

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    Call David Scott 0437 740 654 and we can discuss what’s the best and most beautiful sustainable solution for you..

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