Renovate or Build your Zero Carbon Home

by Sebastian Crangle - ZEB Buildings Team

There's nothing worse than paying too much on your utility bills for a home that's too hot, too cold, too dark or even too loud. By considering and including simple energy efficiency features, you not only slash your bills but also get a better quality, healthier and more comfortable home.
Bec and George from Renovate or Rebuild TV went to get some ideas on how to create an energy efficient home that is comfortable all year round, has heaps of natural light, and looks great. They visited this net zero carbon home by SJD Homes.

What is a Zero Net Carbon Home?

A Zero Net Carbon Home is a home that is designed, built and tested for energy-efficiency and comfort. By keeping cooler in summer and warmer in winter, your new home will give you reduced energy costs over the term of your ownership and comfortable living thanks to consistent indoor temperatures. The homes have a higher than usual NatHERS (National House Energy Rating Scheme) energy rating, and will meet higher thermal efficiency standards than a regular Australian home.


Renovate or Rebuild TV show – episode about SJD Net Zero Carbon Home

Renovate a home for energy efficiency

Sustainability Victoria has great resources on its website including lots of details for home owners looking to improve the energy efficiency of their already existing home.

The energy performance of a house will depend on its location, siting, age and the materials used in its construction. New houses will usually be more efficient than older houses, due to changes in regulations, building and design practice.

Since any home built before 1990 is likely to have no wall insulation and very little ceiling insulation, insulation should be a priority to improve energy efficiency.

Checkout their recommendations specific to :

Double-brick (c.1920–1940)

Double-brick houses are typically built with double brick walls, timber windows and timber framed floors, on stumps. Double-brick homes have a lot of character, but they can also have lots of gaps where air can escape. It is important to consider draught proofing when renovating your double-brick home.   Read more.

Double-fronted brick veneer (c.1960–1970)

Double-fronted brick veneer houses are typically built with brick veneer walls, metal-framed windows, tiled roof and timber floors. Double-fronted brick veneer homes are likely to have no wall insulation or floor insulation, and only a small amount of ceiling insulationRead more.

Brick veneer, estate-style (c.1980s onwards)

Estate-style houses typically have brick veneer walls, a concrete slab on the ground, aluminium windows and a metal roof. Any home that was built before 1990 is likely to have no wall insulation and very little ceiling insulationRead more.

Weatherboard (c.1900–1940)

Weatherboard houses are lightweight constructions, typically built with timber framed walls, timber framed floors on stumps, timber windows and roof tiles. Most weatherboard houses are unlikely to have insulated walls Read more.

Sustainability Victoria recently collaborated with SJD Homes to develop the Z-Range, a series of affordable, energy-efficient homes. Located in Cape Patterson, this home is a prime example of how comfortable and affordable energy-efficient homes can be - without compromising on style. Learn more about the home and its benefits in Feature Home: 2 Sunlight Avenue, Cape Patterson.

The featured image of this post reflects the comfort, quality and energy efficiency of their Sandpiper home in their Z-Range and was lifted from the SJD website here.

Sandpiper Snapshot

NatHERS energy rating: 7.6-stars

Energy efficiency achievement: High – zero net carbon

Other features: Fully electric; recycled material (bricks)

Size: 4-bedroom, single story

Base price including Z-range pack: $263,900 (does not include land price)


ZEB is on the lookout for local stories of rental homes renovated for energy efficiency

Our Buildings Team is looking to inspire landlords to improve their rental property's energy efficiency performance.  Whilst there are things renters can do, there's no doubt the house owner has the upper hand when it comes to making the big changes a house needs to achieve maximum efficiency.

If you or someone you know is a landlord or renter that has undertaken or benefited from serious energy efficiency upgrades we'd love to hear from you.  Email us at

Sharing your story is a powerful way to encourage others.

Similar Posts