4 sustainable home improvements that add value to your property 

5 minutes

A home is the biggest single investment of most people’s lives, so it’s wise to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. Eco-friendly home improvements are significant for both the environment and your long-term wealth. They can add value to your property and save you, or the future owners of your home, money over a sustained period. For homeowners ready to take the leap, we’ve compiled some measures of a sustainable home and how they may help you generate wealth.

Sustainable homes are valued up to 10% higher than an average home

The price of properties with sustainability features such as higher energy ratings is typically around 5% to 10% more than properties without. The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) measures the energy efficiency of homes on a scale of 0-10 stars, and high star ratings can be used in marketing your home for sale. These are some NatHERS recognised indicators of a sustainable home.

1. Insulation and sealing

Heating and cooling account for 20% to 50% of energy usage in Australian homes, so it’s essential to minimise warm or cool air loss. Proper insulation is incredibly energy-efficient, as it’ll prevent you from running your aircon and heater all year long. In winter, up to 25% of a home’s warmth is lost through leakage with draughts and no insulation.

Insulation can be installed under the roof, in the ceiling, in bulkheads and within walls or floors. It’s worth researching the pros and cons of different types of insulation to get the best return on investment. Insulation materials that combine both resistive and reflective benefits, such as Air-Cell, Silver Batts and fibreglass, may deliver better performance.

Another variable to consider is sealing. As mentioned, draughts can account for a considerable amount of heat loss, so sealing door and window gaps, chimneys, and even lights could considerably improve your home’s energy efficiency.

2. Solar power

Solar panels allow you to generate your own electricity, dramatically reducing or eliminating your power bills. During the day, solar panels generate energy that powers your lights, technology, and appliances. Excess energy is either stored in a battery or sold back into the grid for a modest feed-in tariff.

Solar installer company, Life Solar, maintains that the value of solar panels to a potential buyer will depend on where you live, but in general, homes with solar sell for 4% to 10% more than those without.

While solar panels are a significant upfront spend, they’ve dramatically reduced in price in the last decade or so. In fact, solar system costs for the average NSW household have fallen by 58 per cent in the past six years. This takes average payback periods to around three to five years for a system without batteries. Adding a battery storage system should ideally make your connection to the grid redundant, as you’re continuing to use your solar panels even at night or on overcast days or weeks.

3. Sustainable appliances and smart technology

Smart technology and energy-efficient appliances also have the potential to increase your home’s value, according to Nerida Conisbee, REA Group Chief Economist. Smart homes refer to houses where devices and appliances connect to WiFi or each other. From heating systems to washing machines, cooktops to fridges and lights, there’s the potential to upgrade your home and reap the financial benefits.

Smart homes are operated by apps and internal sensors, allowing you to automate and control your home remotely. In 2021, approximately 2.3 million Australian homes utilise smart technology. Given that most of a home’s energy usage comes from heating and cooling, there’s potential to reduce your energy usage by as much as 23% a year through smart automation.

It’s also worth considering the energy efficiency of your cooktops. While induction cooktops may be more expensive to install, they can have a big impact on long term expenses. A standard gas or electric cooktop conducts heat from the cooktop and heats both your pot/pan and the surrounding surfaces and air. In contrast, induction cooktops work through a low-energy electromagnetic field that conducts heat directly into your cookware. They’re more energy-efficient because they don’t have to heat an element to transfer heat. Using a small pot on a gas burner can also waste 40% of the heat emitted, where induction cooktops only heat up the magnetic surface making contact with the burner.

4. Rainwater tanks

Rainwater tanks help your property become self-sufficient and less reliant on the local mains water supply. Depending on the tank and where you live, mains water reliance can be eliminated with a rainwater tank. This is attractive to buyers come auction day and to prospective tenants. The benefits are two-fold — tenants or future owners may be interested in reduced water bills, but they may also be interested in living more sustainably. In drought-prone and rural areas, rainwater tanks might be even more attractive (or even necessary) to comply with water restrictions.

You’re also doing your garden a favour by installing a water tank, which is often an appealing feature to prospective home buyers. In fact, data from the Husqvarna Group revealed that a garden could add as much as 16% to the value of your property, and 53% of survey respondents named the lawn as the most important garden feature for adding value to the property. In some parts of Australia, water restrictions make it difficult to maintain a lawn, however a water tank resolves this issue. .

The good news is that with a rebate, installing a rainwater tank doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive. Visit energy.gov.au to see if you’re eligible.

Refinancing for sustainable home improvements

Eco-friendly home renovations are great for the environment and your wallet, but they do require some up-front spending. The good news is that you may have more financial options than you think for renovations and home improvements. Our home loan refinance calculator lets you see how your old loan stacks up against Nano’s great low rates (and no fees (1)), and how much you could spend on sustainable renovations. The amount an average Nano homeowner saves when refinancing their home is $63,000 (2), giving you a serious boost to your renovation budget.

The best part? Not only will you receive a fair and transparent home loan rate, but you’ll also have security that you’ll get Nano’s best rate for your property and loan type for the life of your home loan, no questions asked.

Make a smart money move and refinance with Nano today.

  1. Please note that while Nano does not charge any fees, government charges still apply.
  1. Average interest savings Nano customers have saved over the life of their loan by switching to Nano as at February 2021.