There has certainly been an increase in demand for eco-friendly and sustainably built homes. Advances in technological innovation in the construction industry, paired with increased awareness surrounding our individual responsibility in the tackle against climate change, there has certainly been a boom in eco-housing. Did you know that over 40% of manmade carbon emissions come from the construction industry? So, what sustainable decisions could you make when designing your new home, to make it as eco-friendly as possible? Let’s take a look…
Choose sustainable materials
Designing an eco-friendly home starts with the materials you use. Sustainable materials are growing in popularity in the construction industry. There are plenty of options when it comes to sustainable materials, from reclaimed woods to entirely recycled materials. There is a common misconception that sustainable materials are too weak for house building. But don’t be fooled! There are so many homes across the UK which have straw or cod foundations, and are still standing strong. Therefore, incorporating sustainable materials into the walls and roof of your new home will lower your home’s carbon footprint.
Go for green gas and electricity
Although you can’t switch to a new energy supplier until your first day in your new home, take some time to think about what kind of energy plan you want to sign up to in your new home to be as eco-friendly as possible. There are a wide range of green energy tariffs on the market from a number of different suppliers. Opting for one of these will reassure you that your energy comes from renewable energy sources, rather than fossil fuels.
While you’re at it, you should consider the appliances or other features of your home that will complement your green tariff, such as a combi boiler, or energy efficient electrical appliances.
Focus on insulation
Having a poorly insulated home is incredibly wasteful. We can lose up to 10% of our home’s energy through our windows if they are not well insulated. Building your new home with this in mind will make you massive savings in the long run. Why bother making sure that you have an efficient and renewable energy plan, if so much of it is being wasted through your windows and doors?
When it comes to windows, the main indicator of their efficiency is the amount of heat that we lose through them. We now have a huge range of materials on offer for our window glass and frames to minimise the amount of heat that we lose through them. For example, make sure that your windows are at least double-glazed, and also ensure that you aren’t losing heat through the frame of your windows. If there is any space between the glass and your frame, then you are definitely losing a lot of heat and money.
We can say the same for our doors. Essentially, the less heat that our homes lose, the more energy-efficient they are. If you make the up-front decision to invest in insulating materials for your home, then you will definitely thank yourself later, as you will see huge savings on your energy bills. Ideally, to be the most sustainable, the doors and windows you choose for your property should come from renewable sources such as reclaimed wood. This will limit the environmental impact of using plastic and can be just as effective from an insulation point of view, if you choose superior quality materials.
Choose renewable energy from the get go
Constructing a new build is the most convenient time to integrate renewable energy generation into your home life. From solar panels, to home wind power generation, there are a number of ways in which you can generate your own energy, and even sell energy that you don’t use back to the National Grid. It’s important to decide which renewable energy systems you want to incorporate based on the construction and design of your new home, to ensure that your domestic energy generation is as efficient as possible. Take into account the direction in which your home faces, how big your roof is, and more, when making this important decision.
A smaller home is simply better for the environment. It requires less energy to heat it, less material to build it, and less time to construct it. With effective interior design, your smaller home can actually feel very spacious. You can also learn a lot about how to effectively use your space, and how to cut back on your energy consumption, by living in a smaller space.
Of course, opting for sustainable materials when building your eco-friendly home drastically reduces the carbon footprint of your new property. However, no matter how sustainable these materials are, there will always be an environmental cost to constructing your new build. Therefore, the less material you use to build the house, the better.