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Must-have sustainable home upgrades that everyone needs for the future (and how to finance them)

Alex Ritchie avatar
Alex Ritchie
- 5 min read
Must-have sustainable home upgrades that everyone needs for the future (and how to finance them)

Whether you’re looking for new ways to go green in your home, or to future-proof your property investment with technology-driven improvements, there are a number of sustainable upgrades worth considering.

Many homeowners and investors want to see their property value grow, and more and more buyers are now prioritising eco-friendly and sustainable homes. This means buyers are looking for ways to conserve resources, like energy and water, or high-quality, green materials in use.

Energy-efficient homes are currently attracting more buyer interest, selling faster and potentially seeing higher sale prices. Domain research showed that the premium paid for a median-priced energy-efficient house in 2022, compared to non-efficient houses, nabbed you $125,000, or 17.1%, more.

By building or renovating a property to suit this growing need, you may be able to ensure your property is tenanted or your home value grows.

Eco-friendly home renovation and upgrade projects

  • Switch to solar power

Installing solar panels onto a house is one way that homeowners can consider future-proofing their asset and potentially increasing its value. In fact, an Origin Energy survey showed that 77% of Australians see a home with solar as more valuable, and 55% of tenants were willing to pay up to $10 more a week to rent a home with solar power.

According to Origin Energy, solar energy infrastructure can include:

  • Solar panels – These panels capture sunlight to convert it into DC (Direct Current).
  • Solar inverter - A solar inverter then converts DC into AC (Alternate Current) – which then powers your home in real-time.
  • Power grids - Any excess energy generated can be donated to the grid. This is where feed-in tariffs come into play.
  • Solar battery - Excess energy may be stored in a solar battery instead of diverting it back to the grid.
  • Digital meters – Track your energy use with a digital metre.

  • Electric vehicle home chargers

With the ACT recently banning the sale of new petrol cars from 2035, and more states and territories likely to follow, now is the time to ensure your property is set up for the future of electric vehicle (EV) domination.

This process may be easier for a house than an apartment, as you may need to accommodate space for communal charges, as well as user-pay systems for the energy. That being said, both EVs and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) must be plugged into an external power source so the vehicle can charge its onboard battery pack. And if the uptake of this vehicle type is set to increase significantly over the next few years, investing in this infrastructure could be worthwhile.

There are technical factors to consider, so do your research about which option may best suit your property before you request installation from a professional.

  • Drip irrigation system

If you own a property that has a garden, and you are not under water usage restrictions, investing in a drip irrigation system may be another sustainable home upgrade option worth considering.

Drip irrigation is considered the most efficient water and nutrient delivery system, and could be ideal if you have a veggie patch or an abundance of flora. And for drier areas in Australia, it is considered the most preferred method of irrigating your green space.

As trees, shrubs, and all outside greenery work to cool the area around them, this is one landscaping choice that may not only save you electricity by eliminating other maintenance methods, but it may also help keep your home cooler in the harsh Australian summers.

  • Double- or triple-glazed windows

Single-glazed windows are still very much the standard when it comes to building construction in Australia. This window type makes it much easier for the outside temperature to penetrate a home, so it feels colder in winter and hotter in summer. This means you’re churning through more energy and spending more on your utilities to regulate the temperature of the home internally.

Further, single-glazed windows may be more likely to be attacked by mould due to condensation that can more easily appear than on double- or triple-glazed windows. With the recent El Nina weather events on the East Coast, paired with increased severe weather due to climate change, many homes have experienced record-breaking rain – and mould outbreaks.

Thanks to climate change, these weather events are likely to continue, so ensuring you can avoid mould and regulate the temperature of a home easily will become even more valuable in the future. Choosing to upgrade to, or build with, double- or triple-glazed windows is another option homeowners can utilise to future-proof their property.

Financing your sustainable home upgrades

Homeowners may be pleased to know that financing these projects may be easier than you think, as lenders in Australia are looking to support sustainable home projects with competitive green personal loans.

Green personal loans can be one way that homeowners may finance their eco-friendly upgrades, while nabbing a more competitive interest rate. That’s because lenders will typically offer green loan customers discounted interest rates to encourage them to make more environmentally friendly renovations and home upgrades.

These home upgrades are not just limited to the ones mentioned earlier, but also include:

  • Solar hot water systems and battery storage systems
  • Energy efficient white goods and appliances
  • Grey water treatment systems
  • Rainwater tanks
  • External awnings
  • Reverse cycle or zoned air conditioners and energy efficient electric heaters that meet a minimum star rating
  • LED lighting

Be sure to compare not just the interest rate on offer, but any fees, features, as well as the loan term before you sign on the dotted line. Comparing your options is one way you can ensure the personal loan you choose best suits your financial needs and budget.

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Product database updated 23 Jul, 2024

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Peter Terlato before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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