This Saturday, the 4th of November, is the finale of The Block 2023. The season ends with the house auctions and we cannot wait to see who comes out on top and how much each of the contestants takes home. Roshan, our CEO, spent Wednesday filming a segment for Open Homes Australia 2024 in house 5, the renovated house of sisters Eliza and Liberty.
With a heavy focus on sustainability, Roshan, along with The Block’s Jesse Raeburn, had a look at the sustainable choices integrated into house 5. They were surprised by how well the contestants were able to make simple swaps to achieve a 7-star home energy rating, also finding that there were some notable absences.
Simple swaps to achieve sustainability
Straight off the bat, you could see that Eliza and Liberty designed all the living spaces to maximise natural light. Every window is double-glazed, providing future homeowners insulation from the heat and cold. Open spaces with ample natural light can often be difficult to heat and cool. The HVAC zoning system installed provides the ability to heat/cool individual zones of the house – increasing the efficiency of the system and reducing the running costs.
The home is fully electric, and the orange Smeg Portofino Freestanding Cooker is a fantastic alternative to gas. The combo features an induction stovetop and an electric oven. The colour may not be to everyone’s taste, but the energy savings will go down a treat!
A standout of the kitchen is no doubt the 4-metre long island benchtop! Made with HybriQ + technology, the Cosentino benchtop is known for its durability. In the realm of sustainable living, products that will last for years to come are vital for reducing waste. The same can be said of the gorgeous Beaumont tiles chosen to surround the backyard pool. The basalt imitation tiles are made of porcelain. Where basalt tiles are porous, and therefore prone to stains, the porcelain tiles are stain resistant. This is especially important for outdoor areas where leaves and chlorinated water can impact the tile.
Something we seldom see in homes are moss walls. Eliza and Liberty added a stunning moss feature wall behind the ensuite mirrors. This incredible addition by EasyGreen Interior boasts the following:
- Improves air quality
- Requires no watering or light
- Stabilises moisture in the area (perfect for wet areas)
- Reduces noise pollution
- Lowers energy costs
- Dust and bacteria-resistant
- Easy to maintain
- Lasts 15+ years
We certainly believe that the integration of organic materials in the home is certainly the way of the future.
Noticeable sustainable absences
While the homes are designed to utilise natural light and incorporate sustainable products, there were some glaring absences on most of the homes. We were rather shocked to find that only 1 of the 5 houses have had rooftop solar installed.
We get it…it would have been an expense that was unlikely to boost the return come the auctions as no one looks at the top of the roof. With the the ineligibility of Victorian state incentives, the price of the systems would have been considerably more expensive than usual. But, the houses will soon be homes, and homes must consider solar for ongoing energy savings and efficiency. House 5 was one such home without solar, which is a missed opportunity given that the home is already electric.
It was fantastic to see the addition of Wallbox EV chargers, provided by Ford, for each house. Solar and battery storage would allow future homeowners to fully utilise the sun and move away from the grid. Energy independence is going to be a vital aspect of Australian living as we move towards net zero. We strongly encourage future block contestants to consider solar and battery storage. We believe that this technology has the potential to set homes with it apart from homes that don’t. Homes with solar are known to increase in value by $10k to $30k! Homes with solar and batteries? Now that’s a winner in our books!
Designing homes for future solar, battery, and EV charger connection
James Treble, our friend and illustrious designer, recently installed solar and an EV charger in his home. He will be planning to add battery storage in the future, so he had the electricians rough in the connections. This will not only allow for easier installation of a battery in the future but lower the installation costs.
We encourage all builders to consider this when constructing new or renovated homes. Roughing in the cabling for future connections is future-thinking and makes for a better, quicker, and safer install in the future.
The Block auctions for 2023
Energy Matters wishes all the contestants of The Block 2023 the very best of luck as they face the gavel. We do not doubt that the future owners will benefit from the sustainable design choices for years to come!
Looking to make your home sustainable? Get FREE solar quotes today! You can also get quotes for battery storage, hot water systems, and much more.