If you’re building a new home you know that there are lots of decisions. We’ve got your covered on the sustainable front. Here’s five ways to make your home greener.

Small changes can make a big difference and can have a wide impact. This includes your decisions when building a new home.

OK, it’s not a small thing; in fact, it will probably involve the biggest set of decisions you’ll make in your life. But with a little thought up front, you can create an environmentally friendly home that will reward your efforts and be another small piece in the jigsaw that is a greener Adelaide.

Here are five green suggestions to get you started:

1. Build in some green

The first is probably the most obvious, but also the most important.

Plan areas for greenspace including trees, plants and lawn – don’t just assume you’ll get to it later.

It’s about quantity and quality. Design your house to make best use of your block. Talk to your builders (strongly if necessary) about looking after trees that are already there. Get advice on what plants to plant – and give them the best chance to survive and thrive. Consider green walls and roofs.

The advantages are numerous. A good garden is great to look at and a pleasure to be in. Plants provide passive cooling in summer, especially when irrigated. And domestic gardens are an important part of the green corridors that provide habitat for birds, reptiles, insects and small mammals.

2. Consider permeable paving

The second suggestion is to think about how you cover the soil. All houses need driveways and paths, but choosing permeable paving options can make a big difference in terms of preserving precious rainwater and helping it reach your soil to create a cooler, healthier and more resilient garden.

One of the often-overlooked problems in our city and suburbs is that we are covering so much land with concrete and bricks – sometimes building virtually from boundary to boundary – that water has nowhere to go but into the street. If the gutters can’t cope, flooding results.

3. Be serious about collecting rainwater

This leads neatly into suggestion three. Make collecting rainwater an integral part of your building and garden design, not just a token add-on, and explore the many ways the water can be used in a new house. That’s one of the advantages of building from scratch – you can build in new thinking and new technologies.

4. Install solar panels and battery storage

And that leads into suggestion four. Install solar panels and battery storage. It’s a no brainer really. It is one of the most important things individuals can do to address climate change.

5. Consider eco-friendly building materials

And finally, think about the building materials you use and where you source them from.

There are many clever alternatives these days, from “green” insulation and recycled metal and wood to specially engineered materials and modular construction techniques that minimise waste.

There’s a lot to think about – but also a lot to be gained.

Like what you’ve read? Browse our other nature stories, subscribe to our monthly newsletter below and/or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.