Climate Proof Your Home Before It's Too Late!

Shawn Ng
Climate change is defined as a change in global or regional temperature and weather patterns. It is largely attributed to increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a range of human activity.
Some of the effects of climate change that we are experiencing in Malaysia today include rising sea levels leading to floods, increased heat islands, landslides and a shift in the monsoon seasons among others.

How Climate Change Should Influence Your Property Choice

1) Location

Homes located on low-lying land near coastal areas are more prone to flooding, especially in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
During the north-east monsoon between November and January, some areas suffer flooding which is only expected to worsen over time.
Climate Proof Your Home Before It's Too Late
The rainy season also poses a threat to houses and buildings built on hills and slopes that might be at risk of collapse from soil erosion unless soil retention works were adequately handled from the start.

2) Weather Extremes

Taiping is known to be one of the wettest places in Malaysia with an average rainfall of 4,000mm per annum.
Meanwhile, the driest place in Malaysia is Sitiawan, Perak with an average rainfall of only 1,787mm a year.
Over the years as the effects of climate change take hold, it would be wise to consider what weather extremes your home will potentially be subjected to.
This will help you understand how climate change will affect the structure of your home and the surrounding landscape.
Climate Proof Your Home Before It's Too Late

3) Risky Investment

Let’s say you’re looking to invest in a beachfront home and sell it off in the future for a profit. The value of your property can stagnate at best or take a hit if it is subjected to the elements.
The longer you hold on to the house, the more costly it will be with mounting repair works and reinforcements to prevent severe damage.

Is There Something That Can Be Done To Shore Up Against Climate Change?

Thankfully, it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are some things that you can do to not only climate-proof your home, but also save you money in the long run.
Climate Proof Your Home Before It's Too Late
So, here are the 6 ways which you can use to climate-proof your home:

1) Roof covering

Over the last few years, the heatwave has become more noticeable and at times, unbearable.
Covering your roof with live greenery like grass can have several benefits. It helps reduce heat penetration which means slashing your electricity bills. The vegetation can also absorb more water which helps alleviate the risk of flooding.
Growing trees can shade your roof during the hottest months of the year but be sure to trim it back before the rainy season to avoid damage to your roof from falling branches.

2) Rainwater harvesting

Climate Proof Your Home Before It's Too Late
Malaysians consume a hefty 219 litres water per day, per capita which is above the World Health Organisation’s recommended rate of 165 litres. It is no wonder we were all up in arms experiencing multiple water cuts this year.
With rising global temperatures, the risk of droughts brings with it the very real possibility of water shortages.
The solution is pretty simple. You don’t need a sophisticated system to collect rainwater. A bucket will do the trick but if you have gutters installed, it is just a matter of channelling the water into a vessel for watering plants or cleaning the porch.

3) Raise it up

Electrical appliances like refrigerators should be raised if your home is prone to flooding to reduce the cost of replacing these items.
Consider raising all the electrical sockets in your home to avoid severe damage to the wiring and a costly bill.
Climate Proof Your Home Before It's Too Late

4) Illuminate with the power of the sun

If you receive a lot of sunshine, put it to good use and install solar panels or solar lights to maximise your energy efficiency.
If you really want to geek out, look for ways to store that energy and utilise it for appliances that run 24/7 like a fish tank and fridge.

5) Quality building materials

CO2 emissions from materials used in buildings such as concrete and steel require high amounts of energy to process.
It is good practice to find out what materials were used and where they were sourced from as locally sourced products emit far less energy than importing the same requires.
Giving preference to recyclable or reusable materials with zero toxic emissions is also a way that consumers can nudge developers towards being more environmentally conscious in their building and landscape design.

6) It takes a village

Climate Proof Your Home Before It's Too Late
Speaking to your neighbours or resident’s association about climate-proofing your homes and community is by far the fastest way to improve resiliency especially if your neighbourhood is prone to the effects of climate change.
Banding together can mean reduced costs and manpower needed to build, upgrade, or replace certain aspects within the neighbourhood.

PropertyGuru Tip

Remember: When it comes to climate change, it’s not merely about living sustainably. It is about being resilient in the face of change and adversity.

Taking small steps today to climate-proof your home will help save you some big bucks in the long run. So, check out 10 Top Tips To Build Your Own Eco-Friendly Green Home and 6 Renovation Hacks To Save Money In The Long Run.