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Five forward-thinking design ideas for a more sustainable home

22 July 2021

Tropical cyclones have become more destructive over the past 40 years and the impacts of climate change is estimated to have increased Australia’s bushfire risk by at least 30 per cent. And with the globe rapidly warming, these extreme weather conditions are predicted to get worse.

Suncorp’s latest innovation, One House, has been designed to withstand some of Australia’s most extreme weather conditions. The prototype house was conceived by some of Australia’s leading minds on natural disasters and is resilient to fire, flood, storm and cyclone.

However, One House doesn’t solely protect against extreme weather – it’s also eco-friendly and energy efficient, making it more cost-effective to live in. And it’s a great example of how we can build or renovate our home to set us up for a more sustainable future.

Here are five forward-thinking design tips if you want to minimise your home’s environmental footprint while ensuring it will be resilient for years to come.

Installing solar panels

Solar energy is a renewable way to power your home that gives you control over your electricity bills. While there is an upfront cost of between $4,000 and $12,000 for the installation, you can pay this off within three to six years of use, and there are rebates available depending on where you live.

And if you do decide to sell your home, solar panels can also increase the value of your property.

FYI, solar panels — along with other permanent fixtures, like fences and water tanks — can be covered by Suncorp Home Insurance. Just make sure your sum insured is enough to cover the cost of rebuilding your home, fixtures included.

Learn more about Suncorp Home Insurance

Building with concrete

Concrete is not only a solid building material but can also be a sustainable material. The cement in concrete tends to include the world’s most common earth mineral – limestone – which is often mined sustainably. It’s also durable and long-lasting, making it better for the environment. Plus, concrete can be used as a thermal mass, meaning that it absorbs and retains heat, making it an energy-efficient construction material.

Using tanks for water collection and storage

Collecting rainwater has a number of benefits for homeowners. Aside from the obvious – reducing the cost of your water bill – it can also decrease erosion while controlling stormwater runoff. And as a preventative climate change measure, it can reduce flooding by collecting excess water in low-lying land.

Installing screens and shutters on your windows

Not only do security screens and shutters reduce the risk of a break in, they also protect your home from ferocious winds, the blazing sun, and heavy rain and hail. Screens and shutters are invaluable in the event of a cyclone where flying debris can smash through windows, posing a risk to property and lives.

Proper ventilation

Good ventilation can keep a home energy-efficient, safe and healthy. Venting a whole house effectively involves using ducted-air and fan systems so that old, stale air is removed and replaced by fresh air.

This creates a healthy environment and avoids damp and mouldy situations which can occur when the air flow isn’t optimal. Increased levels of humidity can make air conditioning units work harder, which leads to more expensive electricity bills.

So whether you’re building a new home or renovating an existing one, there are a number of energy-efficient ways to make sure you’re doing your part to reduce your footprint while building a home that lasts.

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Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.