Gone are the days where homeowners are bound by traditional energy and waste infrastructures. We are living in a modern world that allows us the freedom to build and renovate so that we can unreservedly live on a planet that is free to us.
An increasing number of people are becoming conscious of the way they are impacting the environment. From household products to cars, there are growing ways for consumers to reduce their impact on New Zealand’s environment and to reduce costs. It is natural for us to have these concerns for our environment, after all, we are a cultural society that places great importance on our clean green image. There is, however, more we can do when it comes to building or renovating a home.
What does it mean to be sustainable?
Self-sustainable homes, green homes, autonomous homes, whatever you want to call them, they all have the same purpose. That is, to enable us to live off grid. Living off grid means sourcing your own supply of energy, water and waste disposal. No longer will you have to rely on electricity companies or traditional ways of waste management. The thought of being detached from this mainstream supply makes some of us feel as though we are being plunged back into the dark ages. The reality is, we are plunging ourselves into a new age. An age where you can put more money in your back pocket, have better waste management and re-invent the way you live.
What does it take to be Self-Sustainable?
You have to first ditch the power grid, as daunting as it sounds we are lucky to have many alternative electricity sources. A common and more affordable means is the use of solar electricity. Solar panels have recently become popular thanks to advancements in technology, you are now able to store the energy produced. Mother nature can also come to your aid if you add wind turbines or hydropower, subject to your environment. Good things come in two, that is why efficiency must also be incorporated. Once your new home build is off the grid, you want to minimise the use of power but without sacrificing your traditional way of living. This is where efficient appliances need to be considered, an energy efficient rated appliance can help you gain more for less.
We have all seen our power usage spike in winter, thanks to increased heating and our love for long hot showers. Regardless of whether you are on or off the grid, you want to minimise this wasted energy. When you heat your home you wouldn’t leave the front door open, but without proper insulation, it can feel as though you did. Insulation helps you get the most out of heating, with a warmer and healthier home. Snowy winters in Queenstown is where insulation can work its magic in a new home build. With triple glazing options and uPVC window framing, you can gain full utilisation of the sun’s heat.
Water & Waste
Water, our most precious element on earth, is typically easy to access in New Zealand. Environmental conditions will dictate the right solution for you. Where there is sufficient rainfall, collecting and storing water from gutters will suffice. Alternatively, a bore is dug to a water source which is then sucked to the surface using a pump powered by solar panels. It is the disposal of the water that is often disregarded. Water from a new home build or renovation can be recycled. Recycled water can be used for fertilising the garden or even used for flushing toilets. Waste from toilets can be treated in a special septic tank and then makes the perfect fertiliser for non-eating vegetation.
If it weren’t for technological advancements most of us would not comprehend the thought of detaching ourselves from the grid that we know and have come to love. Self-sustaining homes are proving cost-effective and appropriate in many locations. Currently, energy efficiency is the goal for all our new builds, but JMI Construction are always looking for a challenge, I think we may have found just that.
Be sure to get in contact with us and we will make your challenge our mission.