How to make your home resilient to climate change?
Published: January 11, 2022
Climate change is no longer a distant reality. Hunger, poverty, flooding, and bushfires have become rampant. Sea levels are rising, heatwaves, floods and droughts have intensified over the years across Australia. The climate conditions may get worse over the years. That’s why we must take proactive steps to practice resilience in our daily lives and also make our homes sustainable for the future. If we are to become resilient to climate change we must be willing to make changes, anticipate future problems and absorb shocks. In this post, we will discuss some steps to build resilient homes and reduce climate change.
How to combat climate change?
Urban areas tend to be hotter than areas with vegetation. That is because buildings, roads and other urban structures absorb and retain heat longer. They also continue to emit heat during the night. This phenomenon is called Urban Heat Island Effect. So how do we help reduce this effect in our towns and cities?
- Go Green - Trees and gardens can help reduce the ambient temperature and provide shade. Trees can also reduce the need for air conditioning by providing shade and make hot days bearable. Plant more trees, shrubs around your home to get natural shade and ventilation to reduce the heat island effect. Make sure you plant the right trees and plants for your area, water them regularly and keep your garden clean of debris.
- Save rainwater - Storing rainwater can be beneficial if you are living in a drought-prone area or if there are water-restrictions in your neighbourhood. Plus, when it rains, the amount of surface run-off can cause flooding and pollute our water bodies. The two most common ways to harvest stormwater are by installing rainwater tanks and constructing a rain garden. Use permeable paving surfaces like porous asphalt or pavers to allow the rainwater to be soaked into the ground.
- Install light-coloured roof - Darker buildings and roofs retain and emit heat longer than light-coloured surfaces. Consider installing a light coloured roof as they can reduce your overall heating and cooling costs by 4-8%. If your home has a dark coloured roof, consider getting it painted with a lighter colour.
- Build energy-efficient homes - If you are planning to build a new home, choose fire-resistant and water-resistant materials. Since your home is going to last for decades, consider building a sustainable home. It’s not just the location and size of the house that matters - the energy rating of your home can improve your quality of life, help you save money on heating and cooling bills, and increase the value of your home if you sell it in the future.
- Choose energy-efficient appliances - Check the energy rating of appliances before you buy them. For example, if you are searching for a new air conditioner , check the ZERL label of the aircon and go for a model with a higher rating. Using energy-efficient appliances can help you save money on energy bills and also reduce the load on the mains power grid during heat waves.
- Recycle, Upcycle and Repurpose - Recycle plastic items, metal, paper, cardboard and other items in your household. Or turn your junk into useful stuff, for example, you can use old credit cards as guitar picks or use bottle caps as tea lights. Also, use reusable bags, BYO stainless steel utensils and keep-cups to prevent waste.
- Reduce energy use - Turn off the lights, air conditioners, and other appliances when you are not using them.
- Solar Energy - Solar power is quite beneficial in Australia and can be used to power the majority of your appliances throughout the day. Consider installing solar power in your home to reduce energy bills.
- Maintain your appliances and plumbing fixtures - Regular maintenance of your appliances like hot water systems, aircon and plumbing fixtures will prevent excess energy usage, water leaks and unexpected breakdowns. Air conditioners take up a major chunk in your utility bills, so make sure you clean the filters once a month during summer and get it serviced regularly to maintain a healthy indoor air quality and efficient operation.