Everyone has a checklist when they’re looking for a new home – bedrooms, outdoor space, parking, location, the list goes on and on.
But one thing that can often get overlooked in the search for your next home is how much is actually going to cost you to run.
We put together a handy checklist of five things to look out for when you’re buying or renting your next property so you can reduce your chances of being hit with a sky-high energy bill after you’ve moved in.
1. Good star rating
If the property was built post-2005, ask the real estate agent or owner about its star rating. New buildings require an energy rating of six stars or higher.
New buildings require an energy rating of six stars or higher, and the higher the rating (from 1 to 10) the less energy it should need for heating and cooling. The rating is about the building envelope and covers insulation, draft proofing and quality of glazing, which helps keep the inside of the home comfortable.
2. Efficient heating & cooling
Heating and cooling can account for up to 50% of a home’s energy bill so it pays to take into account the property’s current set up.
For heating, highly star-rated reverse cycle systems are good, or hydronic heating that is provided through solar panels or heat pump technology.
For cooling look for external shading, natural ventilation through windows, and fans. If you need air conditioning, efficient reverse cycle air conditioners are the best, and in some areas evaporative coolers can also be effective.
3. North facing living areas
This is especially important in climates that require a lot of heating in winter. Glazed windows in north-facing living areas offer great access to passive solar heating. This helps to keep the house warmer in winter and reduces the need for gas or electric heaters to be on, which can reduce running cost. Ensure north-facing windows can be externally shaded in summer months to help keep the house cool. Ensure north-facing windows can be externally shaded in summer months.
4. Efficient hot water system
Water heating can account for up to 25% of a home’s energy costs, so the more efficient the hot water system the better. Look for solar hot water or a heat pump system which takes heat from the air or ground to heat the water. Instantaneous gas hot water units with a good star rating can also be quite cost effective. Electric hot water is generally the most efficient system, so if they property you’re keen on has electric hot water consider changing it over when you move in.
5. Energy efficient appliances
Already installed solar PV systems and energy efficient lighting such as LEDs can also help to reduce your running costs. If the property includes a pool or spa, look for ways to minimise running costs with solar heating, covers for when they’re not in use and also using an ioniser to control water algae.
An efficient energy house can give you more for less, and can free up money for the fun things in life. Either way, it’s always good to know what you’re getting into.