Have you ever considered making green building changes to your property to increase its value? If not, now may be the time to do so.
Pearl Scheltema, CEO of Fitzanne Estates
When most homeowners hear the term ‘green building’, they only think along the lines of wind turbines and solar panels. However, it’s actually a school of thought that refers to building with the future in mind, i.e., thinking about your energy use, the rise of utility rates, as well the health and well-being of the occupants of a given structure in the long term.
When you think about your home in this way, taking steps to make it more environmentally friendly and sustainable to maintain is a bit of a no-brainer. Here are a few green building changes you might consider in 2021 and beyond if you want to lay the groundwork for increasing property value in the long run:
Embrace energy efficiency
Solar panels will always be first prize since it has the potential to take your property off the grid entirely, which means you won’t be affected by loadshedding and power outages. However, the input cost can be prohibitive.
Another less expensive way of making a home or commercial property more energy efficient is opting for low-e (low emissivity) window glass – a type of glazing glass that contains a transparent, microscopic coating that improves the thermal efficiency of your windows.
Use water sparingly
A very simple way in which to make your property more attractive to renters or buyers is to invest in a greywater system. This way, the household can recycle their washing and/or bathing and showering water to be used as a source of irrigation for the garden. Naturally, it will call for the use of eco-friendly detergents, but it can still be a huge boon.
Choose environmentally preferable building materials
When expanding on an existing building, or building a new structure from scratch, choose environmentally preferable building materials. This includes interesting options like straw bales, which offer superior insulation qualities and are very easy to build with.
Hempcrete, a mixture of hemp fibre, lime and water, which can be moulded into lightweight blocks, also offers superb carbon-capturing properties. Not to mention recycled plastic products that have been extruded to be used like wood-like materials, such as planks and decking.
Composting may not be quite widespread in South African communities yet, but the trend is picking up and it’s such a simple way to reduce the amount of waste you send to landfills. Instead of throwing out fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells and -cartons, tea bags, coffee grounds, etc., with the garbage, you add it to a composter to create fertiliser for your garden on the fly.
There are many freestanding composting units available on the market that can be added to your property with ease. In fact, there are units that are small enough for apartment balconies as well.
Improve indoor air quality
Did you know that volatile organic compounds are off-gassed by many construction materials and furniture, especially when it’s brand new? Indoor air quality starts with selecting the right construction materials during the design phase, so if you are building a new structure, find out about low-VOC versions of construction materials like paints, flooring, and carpets.
These are a few of the ways in which you can improve the perceived and actual value of your property with the adoption of green building principles.