Building a sustainable house begins a long time before the foundations are laid. Your choices about where you are building and what you are building with will impact on your wallet, your family and the environment. When building your home, you should consider the following.

Choose a good location

A conveniently located home will save on car travel costs and cause less air pollution. When choosing a block of land or home, consider:

  • is it close to where your family can walk, cycle or catch public transport to and from school and work?
  • does the land allow you to build a home with a north-facing aspect?

Adopt a construction waste management plan

Building a home creates various waste products. A construction waste management plan should address all aspects of waste management including waste reduction, reusing materials, recycling waste and correct disposal procedures. Before construction, check:

  • have the builders adopted a construction waste management plan on-site to reduce waste generated during construction?

Choose the right building materials

Building materials are the result of activities such as mining, logging, manufacture and transportation – all of these activities use energy and release pollution. When purchasing materials for building, check:

  • have you specified resource-efficient materials with less environmental impact?

Information on sustainable building materials can be found at:

  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s website:

  • have you used recycled materials and avoided old growth timber where possible?
  • have you avoided materials treated with hazardous substances such as benzene or arsenic?
  • have you avoided products (paints, MDF, particle boards, adhesives, carpets) that release high levels of toxic gases such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), ie. used low-VOC or zero-VOC products? Many products now indicate on their labels that they are low-VOC.
  • Choose energy-efficient home design.

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    Energy-efficient sustainable home design: