34. Construction - Why consider construction upgrades?

At 6am precisely, the ceiling speakers in your bedroom zone wake you up to your morning playlist and the blinds automatically open. You pull back the sheets, sit up and feel no difference between the temperature of the bed and the rest of the room. Taking a deep breath of warm but entirely fresh outdoor air, you swing your legs out of bed and your bare feet meet the toasty 28oC floor. You go to the ensuite and press a button to start delivering water at the heat of your saved preference while your towel starts to gently warm on the heated towel rack and your coffee machine switches on in your walk-in robe.

This above example is achieved through a combination of construction upgrades including healthy house, passivhaus and smart house.

Health: This is one of the more common upgrade choices, particularly as we discover more and more about the harmful effects of mould. Over the next decade, we predict the construction industry will catch up and implement measures to make this upgrade option a mandatory standard.

Comfort: Considering comfort is one of the most common reasons people are looking to renovate/build, it makes sense to dedicate funds toward having heating and cooling absolute back of mind.

Technological: As contemporary residential designers in Newcastle we project this to be the leading cause of renovation in the next few decades. The IoT (Internet of Things) movement is seeing connected products being continuously and frequently released for the home. But the infrastructure in your home needs to be planned and implemented to optimise communication between IoT devices and future-proof your home as technology evolves.

Financial: Although cost to upgrade your home will be more than a standard build in the short-term, the costs can be negated in the long term and start to save money. Below is a brief outline how each upgrade may eventually return some, all, or more return on investment.

  • Healthy house: Dryer stud wall framing significantly reduces risk of termite attack and rot. Continual fresh air circulation reduces contagion of minor illness, and absence of mould reduces asthma risks and other serious medical conditions, potentially reducing medical costs.
  • Eco House/Passivhaus: It is becoming more common for homes to generate their own energy through solar collection and storage. The payback benefits of these systems are very efficient despite the flood of anti-solar propaganda in circulation. It is very achievable to generate 100% of a new homes power needs through renewable solar energy. Heating and Cooling are the biggest drains on power and these can almost be reduced to zero with clever architecture and specification, whilst still maintaining comfort. Water harvesting and filtration can greatly reduce dependency on connected water which is projected to become a very expensive commodity in the future as water tables dry up and rainfall becomes less predictable. In the future we may also see government services such as waste collection and sewer connection charges becoming redundant.
  • Smart Home: Up to 40% of the average Australian household bin is food ($8 billion / 4 million tonnes p.a.). Fridges will soon know the details, the quantity and the expiry date of all the products they hold. They will alert you when items are getting near their expiry date, suggests recipes to reduce waste and automatically shop online for what you need without being tempted by the chocolate aisle. This is but one example of a myriad of ways that making your home IoT ready can pay itself back.
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