Most people are interested in ways to save money. If you are planning a new home, now is the time to start thinking along these lines as the design is an important factor in the costs of running the home.
If you intend to stay in your home for many years you really don’t want to choose design elements that are going to always be expensive. It is simpler than you may think to ensure you include cost-saving elements at the design stage, but many of the simpler ones can also be added after the home is built, so don’t feel dismayed if you are already in your home.
Here are 5 ways to save money with your home design.
- Consider the climate. In a warm climate, large windows installed on opposite side of the home will enable cooling breezes to flow through. This means the air conditioner will not be needed so often. Find out which direction the prevailing breeze usually comes from and go from there. In cooler/cold climates, smaller windows may be better- or you could have double glazing. Larger windows on the sunny side of the home can often bring in natural warmth. They also increase natural light so you will not need to have lights on during the day.
- Room placement. This is not always possible, but if you can have the living rooms on the sunny side of the home you will find life more pleasant and the need for heating/lighting reduced. Some floor plans can be reversed to facilitate this.
- Wider eaves. In warm climates, wide eaves create more shade in the summer so the walls do not get as hot. In the winter when the sun is lower in the sky, sunlight can still warm the rooms by shining in through windows.
- Efficient appliances. Whether you have reverse cycle air conditioning, a gas heater or a wood-burning fire, efficiency is the watchword. Inefficient appliances mean they work harder for a smaller result and you are paying extra. Make sure the size and output of the appliance suits the size of your home and have it installed in a position that facilitates the flow of warm or cool air throughout the main rooms. Quality insulation should always be used to help reduce the heating/cooling needed.
- Efficient fixtures. Water usage and heating is always an ongoing cost, so making sure your shower heads are ‘green’ the kind that minimises your water flow. You’ll enjoy your shower even more when you know it is not costing you heaps in terms of water heating and usage. Lighting should also be ‘green’. Note that chandeliers use a lot of power simply because there are multiple globes.
If your home is an older style one that was built before the interest in green technology you can still make small improvements such as changing the lighting fixtures and ensuring your kitchen appliances are the kind that use less energy or less water. It is also possible to use natural plants such as tall shrubs or small trees to create shade on the west side of the home. Use a deciduous tree so that winter sun can still help to warm your home. You may also be able to install larger windows.