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​​​Focusing on capital cost without considering lifetime running costs​
When constructing a home, it can be easy to focus solely on the purchase costs of products and systems and ignore the bigger picture. 

Products that deliver sustainability outcomes often lead to reductions in running costs and reduced energy and water bills. To accurately understand the lifecycle cost of a product or system it is important to consider both the upfront capital cost and impact on longer-term running costs.

Focusing on individual systems rather than outcomes
​Many of the products and systems used in your home work together to deliver outcomes. For example, your running costs for energy are impacted by the appliances that use energy, lights, water pumping, and energy generation systems such as PV panels. Appliances or fittings that use hot water such as showerheads will also impact your energy costs by affecting the amount of water you need to heat.

Evaluating the lifecycle cost of an individual system will not give you full visibility of the actual running costs you will pay when in the home. You will gain greater insight by considering related products and systems together.
This can help avoid overinvestment in systems and lead to significant cost reductions. For example:
  • Products and systems that deliver comfort include insulation, windows and heating. Considering them together may lead to you investing in more insulation, thereby reducing the required size of the heating system and its associated running costs.
  • ​You may choose to invest in energy-efficiency measures such as LED lighting, low-flow showerheads, or control systems. This can result in a lower total energy demand, reducing the size (and cost) of the PV system required.​
Failing to consider non-financial benefits
​Taking a strictly financial view excludes a range of other benefits associated with products or systems that deliver sustainability outcomes. It is important to consider these as they can deliver significant value in your home. For example, some low-toxicity materials may end up costing more than more toxic options but can result in improved indoor air quality for your family. Also, water- or energy-efficient products have environmental benefits beyond the scope of your home, which for some people is worth investing in.

Cutting costs at the expense of comfort and health
​Cutting costs when building your home can result in inside temperatures and humidity levels that can lead to discomfort and poor health. While you may pay less for your home, the long-term consequences are significant. In addition, when you come to sell your house it may be less attractive to buyers than one that is warm and dry.


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