Like everyone, when the previous Queensland Government introduced the Home Sustainability Declaration in January 2010, I was hopeful that its introduction was the first of a number of changes that would benefit householders across Queensland.

It was not to be.

In practice it was seen as a burden by vendors selling their home and real estate agents working with them in what is an increasingly difficult market.

The idea behind the Declaration is sound and must be retained. It alerts potential buyers to features of a property they are considering buying that are part of the communities efforts to be sustainable and that will save them money during their ownership of the home.

Whilst the purchase price is important, the ongoing running cots of any home today are equally important. Power bills, gas bills and water rates continue to rise as government and suppliers seek to recover the true cost of delivering these services to a home.

Many houses today have photovoltaic (PV) systems on their roof, also referred to as solar panels, that often results in a ZERO power bill or even a cheque back from their supplier! Solar hot water systems reduce the cost of producing hot water, up to a third of the typical home’s power bills, to nil in many parts of Queensland.

Water usage is a hot topic in Cairns at present due to sky rocketing usage and leaks. Whilst we have enough to go around today, it was not that long ago that the majority of Queensland was in drought with wide ranging restrictions in place. Water saving and efficient taps, toilets and appliances help in reducing ongoing costs and must be highlighted to any potential owner.

Today, the value or price of a home for sale does not reflect the true value of these cost saving features.
They are overlooked.

They shouldn’t be.

If I was looking to buy an existing home, I would want to know all about the features that would save me money in the future and not cost me a fortune.

It is a good thing for the purchaser to have more information, not less, about the long term energy and water use of their future home in a similar way we have star ratings on everything from washing machines to cars.

If the Sustainability Declaration is scrapped, I hope that enlightened home  sellers will continue to promote the sustainable features of their home and receive a better sale price as their reward.

Posted by on 10/05/2012 7:15:52 PM Return to blog