Sustainable terms to know before you buy

5 years ago
2 minutes

From providing solar panels to crafting interiors with thermal insulation and acoustics in mind, developers are producing more sustainable homes than ever before. As well as the obvious positive outcomes for our precious environment, there are other benefits for the individual, such as lowered energy bills and an enhanced lifestyle. Before you start looking for your next home, get to know these common sustainable terms.

Volatile Organic Compound (VOC)

Commonly found in paints, VOCs not only contribute to the ozone layer but they also reduce the air-quality inside the home, so query whether the home you’re interested in will feature VOC-free paint.

VOC is a classification of carbon-based chemicals which react with chemicals emitted from motor vehicles and other industrial activities. The chemicals then turn into gases which are harmful to the environment.

Alternate water sources

Rainwater, stormwater and recycled water are all classified as alternate water sources. More projects are coming to market with rooftop rainwater tanks which connect to commercial and residential bathrooms. Many developers will opt to install a stormwater drain so the local council can harvest, treat and redistribute the water. 


Green Star Ratings

Established by the Green Building Council of Australia, Green Star assesses the design, construction and operation of residential buildings and mixed-use precincts.

Despite the range of different ratings have one thing in common. They’ve all been created to reduce the development and construction industry’s impact on the environment. There are stipulations surrounding water usage, lowered material wastage, reducing greenhouse emissions, and so on. If a project is listed as Green Star certified, you can trust that it’s going to have a lower carbon footprint than those that aren’t.


The Nationwide Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is a star rating system out of ten, rating the energy efficiency of a home based on its design. It’s a government initiative which acts as a measuring tape to estimate a home’s heating and cooling energy use.

A range for star ratings is set for each climate zone, taking into account the extremes of local weather conditions. Homes which receives a 7+ average NatHERS rating are considered more thermally comfortable without needing the use of external heating and cooling.

Now that you know what to look for in a home, read this article to find out how you can reduce your carbon footprint.