NABERS is a national system that rates the energy efficiency, water use, waste management and environment quality of a home on a scale of one to six stars. An ABS study found every star a house goes up by adds three per cent to its value, so greening your home will not only reduce your energy bills but improve its resale value as well. There are several ways to go about it.
Improve energy efficiency
This includes installing insulation in your ceilings and walls to reduce heat loss in winter and awnings to insulate against heat gain in summer. Modern blinds and awnings are designed with energy efficiency in mind. Another way is to upgrade your appliances to more energy-efficient models. Most appliances now carry energy ratings and manufacturers compete with one another to be the most energy-efficient in their class.
Switching to more energy-efficient lighting is another option. This will not only save you money on power bills but also reduce heat, thus improving thermal efficiency.
Add green features
Adding environmentally friendly features to your home will also increase its star rating and its value. Such features might include:
- A native garden — water is becoming a precious resource, so homes with water-wise features will be more sought after as water rates rise and restrictions become more frequent.
- Drip irrigation — this form of irrigation waters the roots of plants, doing away with the need for wasteful sprinklers.
- A greywater system — this involves recycling household water for use on gardens and lawns.
Improve your home’s health
Just as there are ‘sick’ buildings (buildings where the occupants are frequently unwell), homes can be unhealthy too. There is evidence to suggest that poor ventilation contributes to ill health, as do some materials that household items are made from.
By improving ventilation in your home, making it allergen-free and choosing less harmful household products and chemicals, you will improve your home’s health and thus its overall value.
Adding it up
So just how much can you add to your home’s value? Well, if you look at the average cost of each of the greening methods mentioned above, you can start to get a better picture.
- Insulation — $2000 – $3000
- Blinds & awnings — $4000 – $5000
- Appliances — $8000 – $10,000
- Lighting — $500 – $1000
- Landscaping — $2000 – $3000
- Irrigation — $1000 – $2000
- Grey water — $2500 – $3500
Altogether, that adds up to between $20,000 and $27,000. While it is a lot of money to spend in one go, green improvements can also be done gradually as your budget allows. If your home is worth $250,000 and your green improvements are worth 6 stars on the NABERS scale at three per cent each, that’s 18 per cent added value, or almost $50,000. Not bad for an outlay of around half that much. As well as improving the value of your home, your green improvements will also help to market it when it comes time to sell.