Building a sustainable home in Australia can still be a major construction project and one which might easily lead to overspending if you’re not careful. Especially in the capital cities like Melbourne, where land prices alone are getting expensive enough, it’s important to stick with your planned budget.
A DIY approach gives you great control and flexibility as an owner-builder. You can still hire contractors to do expert tasks while saving on labor by carrying out simple jobs (with help from your mates). And you’ll get to work with the exact sort of materials you need, especially wood. A fantastic renewable material for eco-friendly housing, you’ll want to spend some time looking up online timber suppliers in Melbourne to meet your project specifications.
Here’s a quick look at why building a wooden house is the best choice for your DIY sustainable home.
People often tend to associate extensive use of wood with deforestation and practices which are harmful to the environment. However, it’s all about the sourcing – if you do the research and finds a responsible certified supplier; you’ll be using a natural renewable resource.
Remember, lumber is the only major construction material that is grown. The important thing is to make sure that for every tree felled, at least one is grown to replace it. Most countries that supply lumber have long implemented exactly this sort of policy to ensure that the industry is sustainable.
Low carbon footprint
Growing trees is a natural process with environmental benefits – for as long as it lives and grows, the tree contributes to the ecosystem and fixes atmospheric carbon dioxide. The subsequent processing also requires minimal production energy – contrast this with other staple building materials, such as concrete or steel. Even better, industry byproducts such as wood chips and sawdust are used for other purposes, while lumber used in construction will always have the potential to be recycled or repurposed at the end of its lifespan.
As a building material, it’s hard to beat wood for its versatility and ease with which it can be worked. You can cut it with simple tools to the desired specifications, and its light weight makes it easy for you to move around and install. This is an amazing benefit for your DIY work since a lesser skill level is needed, the pace of construction can be faster, and you’ll still manage to nail your design targets.
While many builders are well advised of the dangers of wooden materials in construction, chiefly from fire, weathering, and damage from insects such as termites, these risks can be mitigated with responsible care and maintenance. Careful selection of quality wood, in the beginning, is also important. As long as you keep the home environment safe and controlled, there’s no reason why a wooden home can’t last longer than one of concrete, for example.
With its natural insulation properties, wood can offer considerable long term savings when it comes to heat regulation and air conditioning. You could save from 50-60% on energy costs as a result of this efficiency. This is a useful passive feature to have in Melbourne’s variable climate.
Studies have found that we consistently feel improved mental and physical health in an environment that surrounds us with wood, whether at home or in the office. And as a material that ages naturally, the wood gains character and adds a warm presence to your home as it acquires scratches, stains, and other marks of age.
As with any other material choice, a wooden house won’t be without some drawbacks, but if you’re after sustainability and cost-effectiveness in your DIY project, it’s perfect for your home.