4 November 2014

It’s Easy Being Green at Spectra!

by Carlisle Homes

Building Your Dream Home? It’s Easy Being Green at Our Brand New Spectra Showroom!

Building a new home gives you the perfect opportunity to make a real difference to the way you and your family use energy for general living. With the cost of living soaring, why not make the most of your chance to introduce energy-efficient features that will slash your power and water bills. Not only will they save you money, but they will also help preserve the environment by lowering greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. Good for the earth and for your hip pocket!

All Carlisle homes are designed to reduce your environmental footprint, helping you save money on your water and electricity bills. All our homes are six-star energy rated for overall thermal performance, regardless of orientation, and come with a solar hot water system or rainwater tank, at no extra cost. They feature a range of green items including AAA-rated, water-efficient showerheads, five-star, gas-boosted solar hot water systems, draft-resistant exhaust fans and Enviroseal entry door frames.

And we’re constantly seeking more ways to design and build more sustainably, as demonstrated by our HIA GreenSmart Professional accreditation – from the materials we use, such as renewable plantation timber and recycled glass in our fibreglass insulation, to the inclusions in your home.

But what else can you include to further enhance your home’s efficiency?

At our Spectra Showroom the Living Green Zone gives you the opportunity to explore additional energy-saving options for your new home.

A visit to our Spectra Living Green Zone will give you plenty of ideas! Located within our new, state-of-the-art Spectra Showroom in Mulgrave, Victoria, the Living Green Zone gives you the opportunity to explore additional energy-saving options for your new home. The Spectra team will guide you through all the choices available to suit your home design and lifestyle needs.

Here is a preview of what you can expect from a visit to the Living Green Zone at our Spectra Showroom.

Double-glazed windows

Expanses of glass doors and windows create lovely, light-filled spaces and can be a real design feature for your home. However, by allowing unwanted heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter, they can also have a significant impact on your energy bills.

Up to 40% of a home’s heating energy can be lost and up to 87% of heat gained through glazing (source: www.yourhome.gov.au). Double-glazed windows and doors (sometimes referred to as IGUs or Insulated Glass Units) are sealed units made up of two pieces of glass, separated by a sealed air gap. The air gap, filled with argon gas, acts as a thermal break between the inner and outer pieces of glass, reducing the flow of hot or cold air between the inside and outside of your home. These units also help prevent condensation from building up on your walls and surfaces when it is cold outside and warm inside and help keep your home quieter by reducing the transfer of outside sounds, such as traffic, through the glass.

Depending on characteristics of your chosen block and design, such as orientation, window location and neighbouring homes, you may be required to include some double glazing to achieve your required six-star rating. However, you can also upgrade to more units, either select windows or complete elevations, to achieve further efficiencies and noise reduction.

Solar hot water system

In most Australian homes, around a fifth of total energy use (21%) is spent on hot water (source: www.yourhome.gov.au). Fortunately, there is an alternative; by opting for a solar hot water system, you can use the power of the sun to heat your water, which makes smart sense in a country such as Australia with plentiful sunshine! 

Solar water systems include collector panels that are mounted on the roof of your home to absorb the sun’s energy. Cool water from a storage tank is fed past these collectors, heated, and then returned to the tank before it is circulated around your home via pipework. On cloudy days when there isn’t enough energy from the sun, your system reverts to a back-up gas or electric system to ensure hot water is always plentiful. 

Depending on the climate and your system configuration, solar water heating can provide up to 90% of your household’s hot water for free. You may also be eligible for a government rebate or incentive – refer to www.solar.vic.gov.au/solar-rebates for qualifying criteria.

To comply with six-star requirements, your new Carlisle home includes a standard 175-litre gas system with one solar panel. Some of our larger homes include a booster system as standard. However, many families choose to upgrade to additional panels and larger tanks to further maximise on this natural energy source and reduce reliance on electricity and gas hot water.

Did you know there are building materials you can choose for your home that will minimise unwanted noise? At Spectra Living Green Zone we offer sustainable and ‘green’ sound insulation. Featured here: Montpellier Grand, Smiths Lane, Clyde North.

Sound insulation

There’s nothing more annoying than being woken up by outside noises, such as traffic or neighbours, being unable to escape the sound of the washing machine running, or taking an important conference call in your home office, only to have it interrupted by the dog barking.

Did you know there are building materials you can choose for your home that will minimise unwanted noises like these? Maybe you would like to isolate the theatre room, create a peaceful parent’s retreat, keep the nursery whisper quiet, or reduce noise from laundry appliances or the busy road out front.

While not typically related to energy use within the home, one of the options offered in the Spectra Living Green Zone for sound attenuation does involve the use of sustainable and ‘green’ products. Noise sources such as voices, television sets/home theatre and musical instruments generate sound in the air in one room, which passes through the partition and into the room on the other side – known as airborne noise (source: www.boral.com.au). Soundstop plasterboard assists in controlling the transfer of airborne noises and is made using recycled materials technology and 100% liner paper.

Another option for noise control is SoundScreen insulation, which can be used within walls or between floors in two storey homes. SoundScreen has the potential to absorb as much as 75% of sound power to effectively reduce noise in your home to acceptable levels (source: www.soundscreen.com.au). Plus, it is approved by the National Asthma Council as being suitable for allergy and asthma sufferers, so it’s a wise choice if anyone in your household has these conditions.

Noise insulation is best included in the construction phase, so plan for it early. It is a feature that can considerably improve your home’s resale value and will enhance comfort levels for everyone in your household.

All Carlisle Homes include ducted heating with the potential to save on operating costs compared with gas space heaters, there are also options to upgrade to a zoned system. Featured here: Sanctuary Grand, Smiths Lane, Clyde North.

Heating and cooling systems

Heating and cooling the average home contributes to up to 40% of total household energy usage, so it makes sense to keep costs down.  

While all Carlisle Homes include ducted heating with the potential to save on operating costs compared with gas space heaters, there is the option to upgrade to a zoned system. A zoned system allows you to control the heat and comfort levels in up to four different areas of the home separately and can reduce gas bills considerably.

This is also the area of Spectra where you can find all the information you need about your cooling options. Choose from evaporative cooling, which draws air from outside and passes it through moistened pads to flow through ductwork to each room, or a refrigerated cooling system that draws hot internal air from your home and returns it cooled, using refrigerants. Both options have different benefits and budget options to suit varying lifestyle situations. 

Importantly, heating and cooling systems can be an expensive exercise to add in later; the best time to consider them is before you start building for a cost-effective and efficient result.

Rainwater Tanks

Rainwater is a natural resource that is readily available, especially in the state of Victoria! By collecting rainwater, you can reduce your household’s water costs, have a lush and healthy garden, and play a significant role in water conservation for your community with less reliance on water storage dams and the reduction of stormwater runoff. Within the Spectra Living Green Zone, you can review different tank shapes and capacities to suit your home and water usage requirements with our display and information brochures.

While you’re at our Spectra showroom, you will have the opportunity to discuss other energy-saving options for your home such as energy-efficient lighting and window coverings, giving you a comprehensive overview on how to create an efficient and comfortable home for your family to enjoy.

Energy-usage monitors

Keen to keep track of your household’s energy usage so there are no nasty surprise when your power bill arrives? Upgrade your home with a cent-a-meter energy cost monitor. This handy and compact monitor displays the cost of electricity being used by all the appliances and devices in your home so you can see exactly where and when to cut back. It also displays temperature and humidity levels, along with associated heating and cooling costs.

Want a sure-fire way to keep your household energy bill low? Upgrade your home with a cent-a-meter energy cost monitor. Featured here: Sacramento, Redstone Estate, Sunbury.

Make an appointment to visit our state-of-the-art new Spectra Showroom in Mulgrave, Victoria, to learn more about the upgrades features and inclusions you can include in your new home to seriously save on running costs. Or, you can explore Spectra from the comfort of your own home here.

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