Everybody want to have their own home, whether small or big. But when you live in this metropolitan like Kuala Lumpur, and you are just another tiny little person who earn less than 100k per annum, buying a house is more appropriate terms to use rather than building it. Only those who earns millions can afford to buy a land and build their own designed bungalow as planned inside the city area. For me, build a house at my hometown is rather a better solution. Here, I just bought whatever unit that I can afford.

Whether you are building, buying or renovating, here are ten tips to consider with creating a more sustainable home.

1. Water conservation

Use water efficient appliances and fittings, such as 3-star (or AAA-rated) showerheads and water pressure-limiting devices, and include a rainwater tanks to supply water for use with gardens, toilets and laundry.

2. Natural heating and cooling (passive solar design)

Good passive solar design allows your home to respond to its local climate through natural heating in winter and cooling in summer e.g. good orientation and room zoning, capturing breezes for cross-ventilation, appropriate insulation, shading (e.g. sufficient eaves), building materials (lightweight construction/thermal mass), and fixtures and finishes (e.g. skylights and window treatment). Incorporation of passive design reduces the need to rely on air conditioners/heaters. It can also indirectly promote natural daylighting and improve indoor air quality with circulating breezes providing fresh air inside the home.

3. Energy and green house efficient water heating

Install a solar, natural gas or electric heat pump hot water system to lower energy bills and reduce the single largest source of greenhouse emissions in the household.

4. Future-proof

The living area and at least one bedroom and toilet on the entry level should be readily accessible from the front boundary or car space to accommodate your changing housing needs as you get older.

5. Safe floors

Design floors and showers to be step-free (hobless). Use floor surfaces that are slip resistant to guard against injuries.

6. Address the street

An easy to read house number at the front of your property makes it easy to find. Good external lighting and separated driveway and pedestrian entries also makes it safer.

7. Casual surveillance

Design your home to have easy surveillance to play areas and the street from the main living area and kitchen for better security.

8. Long-term maintenance

Reduce the repair and ongoing maintenance costs of your home by using low maintenance materials.

9. Indoor air quality

Avoid materials that contain volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), such as paints/finishes and adhesives, which can cause irritation and allergies, and impact poorly on your health.

10. Outdoor living

Include permanently covered outdoor play and entertainment areas with a good relationship to indoor spaces to maximise your home’s access to Queensland’s favorable lifestyle and climate.

Remember to check with your local council for any specific design requirement regulations, such as set backs and plumbing standards for rainwater tanks. Do not override their rules!