Greening your home could add up to 10% in value, finds new QBE report

A passively designed modern green home.

Australian property has been swept with a cascade of market falls, dragging prices down in 80% of the country. But a new housing report from QBE highlights a surprisingly simple way to add up to 10% to the value of your home: energy-efficient features.

‘Future-proofing’ your home with sustainable features

Collage of a hand dropping sustainable features into a green house.

Sustainable house features can help ‘future-proof’ your investment, explains QBE LMI general manager Pat Priest, and save vital cash amidst the rising cost of living

Additions like solar panels, double-glazed windows, lighter-coloured roofs, rainwater harvesting tanks, and even LED light bulbs reduce the impact on the planet and your wallet – making them highly desirable features for homebuyers.

“An energy-efficient home uses 66% less electricity, 51% less water, and produces 62% fewer greenhouse gas emissions,” says Priest. 

“Just by installing a 5kW rooftop solar system, the average Australian household could save $909 per year on their electricity bills.”

Solar panels, in particular, have boomed in Australia. As of June 2022, nearly 30% of Aussie homes have solar panels installed – representing the highest global uptake of rooftop solar energy. 

Besides reducing usage costs, solar panels can also nab homeowners Feed in Tariff (FiT) credits, which add savings to their energy bills whenever they contribute power back to the electricity grid.

“With Australia’s residential sector producing 15% of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions, this not only offers huge benefits to the environment, but to consumers, who stand to save on energy costs by making these changes,” explains Priest.

Another major draw of sustainability is access to green home loans, which reward eco-friendly homes with competitively low interest rates and a slew of other features. But with so few green homes on the market, encouraging sustainable renovations is a key part of the puzzle.

“Making it more affordable to own a green home is a key enabler for consumers to switch over to energy-efficient choices,” states Priest. 

“This is why QBE LMI has just launched a 5 per cent rate reduction for LMI to benefit customers seeking to buy, build or renovate into a green home.”

Going green with your home? Here are easy places to start

With climate change leaning on homeownership costs, sustainability is no longer just an ethics issue: it's a financial one.

“Understanding the environmental and financial benefits of future-proofing their homes will enable consumers to make better choices,” says Priest. 

So if you’re looking for some green-spiration, here are some easy places to start. 

  • Rethink your white goods and appliances. Is your washing machine a bit old? Replace it with a newer, more efficient model. Look at the energy star label before you buy: the more stars, the better. 
  • Spring for LED lighting. According to QBE’s report, LED light bulbs use 75% less energy than traditional halogen bulbs and last 5 to 10 times longer.
  • Redo your insulation. A poorly insulated home is at the mercy of the environment – meaning you have to crank up the aircon or heater to cope. On the other hand, a passively designed and well-insulated home maintains its ambient temperature, which will save you vital electricity. 
  • Double-glaze your windows. Windows leak a lot of heat, so adding another layer can help insulate your place.
  • Paint your roof a lighter colour. New ultra-white paints reflect so much sunlight they may as well replace your aircon, according to a study by Purdue University. But even a commercial-brand coat from Bunnings could shave a few kilowatt hours from your energy usage (without blinding local aeroplanes).
  • Install solar panels. Rooftop solar panels have become a popular and lucrative investment for many Australians in sunny regions. They’re so widespread that for half an hour in August 2022, solar was Australia’s number one electricity producer.
  • Invest in a solar and heat pump hot water system. Often overlooked, your hot water system could be guzzling significant energy. Opt for a solar and heat-powered system, which QBE says uses 60 - 70% less energy than standard electric systems.

For more details on going green, head to our ethical finance hub. Browse and compare home loans below.

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