VIDEO – 17 features for better comfort and reduced cost – Cecille Weldon

Cecille Weldon created and developed the Banksia award-winning Liveability Real Estate Framework in partnership with CSIRO. It has 17 property features for Australian homes that can reduce running cost and increase comfort at the same time.
There are a lot of property features that don’t make it into advertising, perhaps because people aren’t familiar enough with them to recognise that it is a feature. The Real Estate Framework can change that since these features can make your home more comfortable and cheaper to run.
Most people are going through a lot of bill stress. There are lots of bills to pay for and not enough time spent working.
Luckily, Liveability’s features require little effort. You can just slide them into your home renovation or include it in a simple upgrade. Standardisation was important to the process. Making sure that the features were easy to apply was a guiding principle during its creation.
Passive design
The aspects of house design are sometimes called passive design. For example, a lot of people know north facing homes are good, but they don’t know which faces should face the north. It should be the living rooms because they’re the rooms to heat up and cool down the most. If you have north facing rooms, with the right shading, you can get the beautiful winter sun… without taking the full force of the sun’s heat. It’s just right.
Affordable housing
Australia’s debate around affordable housing is a relevant issue since many first-time buyers can’t enter the market. The cost of living expenses is becoming a barrier to saving for their first time to own a house especially since the market is missing a large amount of data and information.
Implementing Liveability’s features can bring in more real data–information like ‘can this property not only be bought but also lived in comfortably?’. How can you use the features, fixtures, and furniture in your house efficiently at all times of the year?
That’s really important because recent research shows that 89% of consumers would find a certain property more attractive if features that enhance their quality of life were identified. But you can’t just wing it, you need to have the proper information that a buyer can trust.
Liveability Features
Implementing the following features can make your house feel more comfortable:
Is your city more likely to get a bigger heating or cooling bill? Sydney, for instance, has a mixed climate. So your heating and cooling bills are going to be relatively similar. It’s important to know what climate pattern is for your city, so you can make the right decisions to be more comfortable.
And is your home close to a vibrant community experience? Features like community gardens and farmers’ markets will (potentially) reduce the time you spend in your house, therefore lowering your running costs. Being able to walk to nearby locations will also help, instead of having to use transportation.
For most of Australia, north facing living rooms and cross ventilation will reduce running costs. As we’ve said earlier, this can help you heat or cool only the rooms that need them.
Even the minimum ceiling insulation will make a drastic effect on your house comfort and costs. In fact, of the 17 features, insulation and external shading on the east and north sides of your house will be the cheapest and most bang-for-the-buck-features you can implement.
Make sure to ask for WERS compliance for your windows if you’re renovating from your installer. An installation can last up to 25 years so your receipt becomes the warranty. It’s very important.
So, a lot of people think that internal shading is going to make their home cooler but we need to stop the sunlight from hitting the glass in the first place. Because once it heats the glass, it gets trapped inside. With the right shading, heating and cooling can be more efficient.
Energy efficient lighting is also important. We’re talking about LED here, and Solar PV is also a wonderful thing. Low water gardens are handy for places prone to water shortage as well.
The newer generation of showerheads, toilets, and other plumbing are reported to be more energy efficient. Of course, a rating certificate will let you know for sure when you install a new piece of plumbing into your home.
To break it down, those 17 features would be:

  • Climate Zone
  • Living locally
  • Orientation
  • Cross-ventilation
  • Zoning
  • Insulation
  • Density of building materials
  • Windows (Glazing)
  • Shading or sun control
  • Efficient heating and cooling devices
  • Energy efficient lighting
  • Efficient hot water system
  • Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System
  • Low water garden
  • Rainwater Tanks
  • Energy Rating

You can think of these 17 things as a “shopping checklist” that you can chip away at your own time and priorities. Just keep in mind that every time you invest in these upgrades, you can greatly reduce your running cost potential.

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