Contrary to the old phrase, Home Sweet Home, an unhealthy domicile—one beset by mould, dampness, leaks, and dingy spaces with restricted airflow—can hinder the health of residents.
Mould can lead to respiratory issues, and poorly heated homes can lead to cases of hypothermia.
Australian residents crave healthier residences. They crave the comfort and liveability of sustainability.
The hallmarks of sustainable design take the form of energy efficiency, natural light, comfortable temperatures and connection with the environment. We need more sustainable homes.
Each and every Australian must achieve high energy performance as standard. To this end, the ASBEC’s Growing the Market for Sustainable Homes: Industry roadmap and the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council’s Trajectory for Low Energy Building is setting to establish a high energy standard at a national level.
Yet aside from beneficial, sustainable homes must be affordable as well.
Sustainability is a given in other nations. The German bank KfW, for example, facilitates German climate policy by enacting widescale green finance measures, from divestment from fossil fuels to loans issued to businesses which invest in energy efficient building projects.
Germany is considering the creation of private bonds through a proposed climate foundation that would blend bonds and state support to aid building owners in the enhancement of energy and resource efficiency.
For those buying homes, KfW provides home loans set to fund the installation of sustainable features like energy efficient heating and insulation and creating an exciting “new normal” for family residences. KfW thus far has financed 4 million homes to be built new or remodeled to meet more exalted energy standards, saving about 9 million tonnes of carbon yearly throughout the first 10 years of the program.
This green financing has benefitted the climate, the German building sector, as well as the employment and the investment sectors.
In New Zealand, the Healthy Homes loan package guarantees a one percent saving on the standard loan rate for residences that attain at least a 6 Homestar rating (the New Zealand Green Building Council sustainable home rating).
With the majority of new homes constructed to a 3-4 Homestar rating, this sets a whole new standard for energy, health and comfort standards.
Homes funded via Healthy Homes bring lower winter heating bills in winter and lower air conditioning bills in the summer, and supplies a brand of natural light that saves on lighting bills and enhances the mood of residents.
In New Zealand’s wet climate, a warm and dry home will sustain less mould and water damage.
Healthy Homes loans also can fund relevant renovations to upgrade homes. ANZ’s New Zealand subsidiary has pledged $NZ100 million in interest-free loans to insulate existing properties.
In Australia, builders already have the knowledge and experience to produce greener, healthier homes. We just need more green for green!