Building a new property as an investment property or your own residence gives you freedom on all decisions. Every new home that is built is more energy-efficient than a house built 20 years ago due to minimum Building Codes that need to be met when it comes to efficiency. You don’t just have to meet the minimum standards either, there are some builders who go way beyond the minimum and offer an 8-Star energy-efficient home. You will likely spend about 4% more on the construction, but in the long run you will save about 40% in heating and cooling costs.
Is it worth it to spend money on a property that you plan to rent out, especially if you need to retrofit it?
You need to decide what you want to do with your property a few years down the track – are you looking at holding the property or selling it in 2-5 years? If it’s an investment, think about the tenants you want to attract (and keep). What about comparable properties in the same suburb – what energy efficient features do they offer?
Once you have your plan, then you can make some decisions about what would be most profitable.
Here are some of the main ways to increase the energy efficiency in your home.
I think we are all aware of the benefits of insulation in the ceiling. Insulation helps reduce the amount of heat that escapes in winter and the amount of heat that enters the property during the summer. There are a lot of options when it comes to insulation so there is likely something that will fit the budget. You can choose from wool, loose fill, foil and batts.
Cross ventilation to be specific. A house will cool down more quickly if air can move in one point and exit at another – at opposite sides of the house. Windows that are set high, bi-fold or stacker doors allow for more airflow.
We are all addicted to the AC when the heat rises in the summer months. However, a ceiling fan combined with good cross ventilation may be enough to avoid installing an AC unit (depending on where the property is of course). A ceiling fan can cost around two cents per hour to run, where an air-conditioning unit will cost around 50 cents per hour. **
We know to choose energy-efficient light bulbs, but also think about appliances that you will have installed in the property. If you are planning on renting the property out, this may not be a top priority for you, but when looking at comparable properties you may find installing an efficient shower head and toilet may be a good compromise.
It won’t feel like such a big deal during the cooler months, but when summer rolls around you may want to consider shade on the western side of the property. It will certainly help set your property apart.
Do you think you would go so far as to retrofit your investment property? Or is it a waste of time and money?
**Source: Ergon Energy’s ‘Appliance running cost calculator’ at http://www.ergon.com.au