Well, you could also ask: how long is a piece of string?

The answer to this question is unfortunately not straight forward and depends on a lot of valuables and can be very different for everyone.

In this scenario, size does matter. Simply put, the larger your home is the more it will cost. The more features you want the more it will cost. Building a lot will cost a lot. The bigger the house the more materials and labour is needed, the more money you have to spend.

If you do want to build an affordable home you kind of have to pick and choose certain features and finishes for your home, depending on how much money you have available.

Whereas a project home from a volume builder typically costs you between $1000 and $1300 per square metre, depending on the level of finish. Sadly, many of those more affordable homes do lack in energy efficiency measures and only comply with the legal minimum requirements. Often the insulation and windows are installed poorly, leading to homes that don’t perform according to their star rating and that will feel cold and draughty in winter and overheat a lot in summer.

In comparison to that, to build a custom designed home will cost you something between $1300 and $2,300 per square meter, for a standard brick veneer or weather board home, depending on the level of finishes and your builder.

On the other hand, the cost to build an architecturally designed luxury home can vary largely and sit between $2,500 – $3,500 per square meter and more, no upper limit, depending on design features.

Obviously, there are some builders that charge more than others. Some builders will build you a nice brick veneer home for $1,800 – 2,000 per square metres. Others do not take on projects under $2,500 per square meter.

It is important to note, that the above build costs do not consider any special sustainability or energy efficiency upgrades or measures.

How much it will cost to build your energy efficient and sustainable home does depend on a lot of factors. Firstly, as mentioned before. Size does matter. Obviously, it will cost much more to build a 300 square meter home than it will cost you to build a 150 or 200 square meters home. Therefore, one of the first steps should be to really think hard what it is that you really need. Think about clever use of space and multi-functional spaces. And you also need a designer/architect that can design a beautiful compact home that will feel bright, open, and spacious, without being huge. Avoiding and minimising corridors and walkways is a key.

Also, when building on a budget, and most of us are, you must be mindful with the things that you want. Not everything in your house can be a feature.

I personally would rather get my kitchen carcasses from ikea, and then add a nice benchtop & handles and get a cabinet maker to build me some nice feature shelving to make the kitchen look stunning. Which will probably cost me something between $5,000-$10,000 rather than spending $50,000 + on the kitchen. I prefer to spend the extra money on my windows J

How much features you can have and where you can and do want to spend your money on depends a lot on your budget and on your personal circumstances and preferences.

It is important to design a home that is relatively simple to build. Meaning no extravagant structural elements or challenges. Being mindful with build forms and roof shapes. Not going overboard with glazing sizes and shapes. Trying to stick with standard material sizes. Using good finishes and materials without going overboard on costing.

Please do not hold me on numbers. But we have been and are designing and building several highly energy efficient homes that are sitting between $2,200-$2,300 per square meter. For homes ranging between 7 and 9 stars.

In summary I would say:

You can build a highly energy efficient and sustainable home with a good mid to high level of finish for the same price as a ‘standard’ high level finish brick veneer home. Assumed that you have a close eye on the size of the home, the construction details, and your design features. Furthermore, it is really important that you work closely with a builder, ideally already during the design stage. To optimise and fine-tune the design, the structure and build cost of your home.

If you would like to know more about build cost and what other things you can do if you want to build an affordable energy efficient home, please feel free to call or email me.