Are energy-efficient houses really that efficient?

Energy-efficient houses are built with energy-saving features to reduce emissions and their impact on the environment. However, building new energy-efficient homes can cause increased carbon dioxide pollution.

The design and construction of passive houses have improved in recent years. However, in some cases, increasing the energy efficiency of homes has led to increased emissions. From indoor pollution to increased energy demands, many homeowners find their greener homes are falling short of expectations.

Furthermore, efforts to reduce operational emissions by installing cleaner technologies and design features in existing homes can increase gray emissions. This can lead to further carbon contamination.

Increase in carbon pollution

While energy-efficient homes are a great step towards reducing carbon emissions, most of them are only geared towards operating emissions.

There are two main sources of household emissions; operational and gray emissions.

Operating emissions are those related to running a household, such as appliances, heating, cooling, and lighting. These emissions are offset by green technologies and functions such as solar panels, LED lighting, motion sensors, etc.

Embodied emissions, on the other hand, are those associated with the manufacture, transportation, and assembly of materials used to build a house.

The real problem with the most energy-efficient homes is that most builders only focus on operating emissions, not bodily emissions. This makes sense because most of your home’s life cycle carbon emissions come from operating emissions. However, as energy-efficient homes become more sophisticated, gray emissions are becoming an increasingly important benchmark.

Contamination of rooms and increased energy demand

New construction of energy-efficient houses or ecological renovation of existing houses can increase carbon dioxide pollution and energy consumption. This is because efforts to reduce operational emissions increase gray emissions.

This will come as a shock to many homeowners, especially as more and more Australians take out personal loans to finance green renovations.

According to RateSetter, “Northern Territory borrowers have the highest average green loan amount of $ 11,462.51. By comparison, Western Australia has the lowest average green loan amount of $ 5,982.75. ”

Energy-saving ‘extras’ such as improved insulation make homes more airtight and increase indoor air pollution. Also, renovating houses to make them more efficient, along with the demolition and replacement of single-family homes, contribute to an increase in carbon pollution.

The dismantling cycle prevents many single-family homes from surviving long enough to pay off the initial effects caused by gray emissions from building materials.

And while many energy-efficient homes can reduce the network load, they can exacerbate their impact as well. Depending on the combination of thermal performance and devices used, energy-efficient houses can affect the reliability of the electricity network and lead to a peak electricity demand.

Create a zero-carbon home

Achieving zero carbon emissions requires careful planning and design. The decisions you make about your home today will have consequences throughout its life cycle. Therefore, it is more cost-effective to design and build these homes to be energy efficient now rather than dealing with them through retrofits or green renovations later.

Building an energy-efficient house from the very beginning of the project using renewable materials and cleaner means of transport and construction is the most effective way to reduce carbon pollution.


Homeowners should understand that their efforts to improve the energy efficiency of their homes are not a waste. Any steps you take to reduce emissions and environmental impact are a step in the right direction and can help you save significantly on your energy bills.

To avoid increased carbon dioxide pollution, higher standards should be applied to building and building codes. Homeowners can also invest in building a new, energy-efficient home from scratch. This will ensure that all functions are validated for quality and performance over the long life of the home.

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