By Ryan Wood, Partnerships Director at Evergen
You love your home but how do you ensure it meets your 5-10 year plans? Perhaps you want to prepare it for long-term sale, or you have different needs moving forward around retiring and reducing household costs?
Whether you are building a new home or updating an older one, there are plenty of options that will ensure your home is ready to take on whatever the future holds – because if 2020 has taught us one thing, it’s to expect the unexpected. Longevity, sustainability and adaptability have all become increasingly important and the latest green solutions provide a fantastic opportunity for homeowners to stay nimble.
SOME IDEAS FOR NEW HOMES
1. Solar on your roof
When we are thinking about ‘green tech’ the first thing most of us think of is solar – for good reason too. Australians are installing solar rooftop panels in record numbers, with around one in five houses now capturing energy from the sun. Solar technology is constantly improving and as whole states and countries transition to renewable energy, solar is a major part of that puzzle. Energy efficient homes are in high demand as homeowners consider the most cost-efficient energy sources – solar power being the most cost-efficient. This not only reduces the cost burden for households but also contributes to improving our quality of life and the planet. Be sure to engage your solar installer during the planning stages of your build, as they will be able to work with your builder in most cases to provide a higher-quality installation
2. Battery storage to capture excess solar energy
Battery storage is quickly gaining popularity in homes in Australia with over 70,000 residential storage solutions installed since 2016 (SunWiz, 2020 Battery Market Report, April 2020). Used in conjunction with solar panels, batteries allow for generated energy to be stored during low use times and then released at peak demand periods – energy for you to use when the sun is not shining or sell back to the grid via Virtual Power Plants.
The key benefits of solar and battery system for homeowners include:
- Save even more from your solar generation
- Store excess energy generated by your solar panels
- Use your solar energy even when the sun goes down
- Keep the power on even during a blackout with backup power
The exciting aspect of having a battery means that homeowners are eligible to participate in Virtual Power Plants (VPPs). By being part of a VPP, you will be paid when your excess power is dispatched, save more money, and share excess clean power with the system as a whole. There is lots happening in this area, so watch this space!
3. Electric vehicles
While Aussies have installed solar in record numbers, we have been slower to take to electric vehicles. Australia’s EV sales grew 90% in the first half of 2019 (Electric Vehicle Council), and are expected to continue to rise as manufacturers expand their ranges and charge points become more common. Thinking about this and installing a home charging solution is a sure-fire way to stay future focused in regard to transportation.
4. Smart home
Since you’ve invested in these awesome green tech solutions, the final piece of the puzzle is to connect them all to a smart home solution. This is important to think about integrating into your build as adding to an existing home can be more costly and difficult.
Evergen’s average customer is estimated to generate $62,775 of savings for the lifetime of their system and they have enabled themselves to be 80% self-sufficient – meaning only 20% of their annual electricity consumption comes from the grid. They can also sell excess energy back to the grid and make a profit. Evergen Intelligent Control software takes energy artificial intelligence to the next level as it is able to analyse weather forecasts, your tariff structure, state of charge, solar generation, system health, energy loads and 36 other data sets to optimise how your energy is stored and used in your home. Over time, your system continues to monitor how you use your electricity and constantly analyses your home’s energy profile to ensure it is always consuming the cheapest form of electricity.
SOME IDEAS FOR OLDER HOMES
1. Solar + battery storage solutions
Adding a solar and battery system has become incredibly common. There are a few things to be mindful of when installing solar and batteries to older homes to ensure the system meets Australian safety standards.
- Look out for established trees near the home that may shade the panels
- Examine your home’s roof condition – a newer carport or shed may be better
- Is your home heritage listed? There may be approvals that you need to seek
2. Smart home system
While more common (and cheaper) when building new homes, implementing a smart home system is still very doable in older homes. Automating certain things in our homes – like lighting, heating and cooling, garden irrigation, garage doors and even pool cleaning – means that you can run your home to be as energy efficient as possible, because AI does all the thinking and heavy lifting.
3. Energy efficiency
To get the best ‘bang for your buck’, it is important to think about how to improve the energy efficiency of your older home. Older homes are more likely to have lower energy efficiency due to dated and worn materials. This means that activities such as heating, cooling and powering appliances can use more energy and increase energy bills.
By aiming to reduce the amount of energy your household needs day to day, it may mean you need to install less solar panels – win! Insulating, sealing drafts and upgrading appliances can go a long way in bringing down that energy usage in the home.
The ultimate goal for all of these ideas is to save time, money, and energy whether you future-proof your home now or down the track. Your investment also plays an important role in reducing carbon emissions and cooling down the planet.