‘Sustainability’ is a popular buzz word in the media right now, alongside other phrases such as ‘green living’ and ‘eco-friendly’. We all understand that these terms revolve around making choices which protect our environment. The news is saturated with reports of the recent plastic bag ban and major restaurant chains phasing out the use of plastic straws.
Of course, all individuals can do their part by recycling, remembering their reusable shopping bags and avoiding products with excessive plastic packaging. However, for those looking to make an even bigger impact, the focus shifts to our homes.
For the majority of Australians, home is where they spend most of their time. Unfortunately, it’s also where we pay the power bills! Decreasing the amount of energy we consume at home benefits our bank accounts, and more importantly, the planet. There are around 2.8 million households in New South Wales – if each home was run with a focus on sustainable living, the positive impact on Australia’s environment would be enormous.
How can this be achieved? Simple steps like switching off lights in empty rooms and choosing energy-efficient appliances is a great start. The next step is to examine the price of heating and cooling. Many Australian homes were built decades ago, often without the same environmental design principles we adhere to today. These homes are not built to keep out the heat. As the summer sun pours in through the windows, the A/C goes on earlier, runs longer and works harder.
The solution is surprisingly easy: add some awnings to your home. A retractable window awning gives you control over the sun as it enters your home. Keeping Sydney’s ferocious summer out by protecting the windows lowers the inside temperature. The use of effective shading like an awning will dramatically reduce the heat generated by direct sun. In turn, the cooler temperature inside decreases the need for air-conditioning. Well-designed awnings can reduce the cost of a home’s electricity bills by up to 25%.
A folding arm awning is a particularly good choice for households aiming for a sustainable lifestyle. These awnings can simply be mounted onto the face of a building and are easily installed by an OzSun expert. They are excellent for blocking out the summer sun but can be retracted during colder months to allow the winter sunshine in. Opening your home to the sun during winter utilises its warmth and cuts back on the costs of heating. A flexible option like the folding arm awning gives you the ability to manipulate sunlight and shade to the advantage of your home, no matter the season.
If asked to picture how saving the environment looks, nobody would answer “glamorous”. But ‘sustainable’ doesn’t have to mean ugly. Choosing the right awning for your home can add street appeal, as well as value. Scroll through the OzSun gallery for some inspiration and see how an awning can make your house more attractive.
You could also visit the Office of Environment & Heritage website for more ideas about designing an energy efficient home.