A day doesn’t pass when we aren't reminded of our environment and encouraged to be ‘green’ in our daily lives. A self-build is the ideal opportunity to put some of the Eco friendly ideas into practise.
Being Eco-friendly doesn’t mean we should go to ridiculous lengths to be green so don’t think you will have to build an earth hut or cover your roof in turf. Apart from being high maintenance the chances are that it wouldn’t get past the planning department especially if you plan to build in the suburbs.
Architects, Planners and Grants
When designing your house speak to your architect and the local planning department and see what Eco-friendly ideas are acceptable to the area in which you wish to build. Other builders may already have had permission for green and energy saving builds and have paved the way for future builders. There may also be grants available for environmentally friendly items such as solar panels and wind generators.
Insulating the property properly is common sense even before you consider the green option. To be Eco-friendly investigate recycled paper or sheep wool insulating material for both cavity wall and loft space.
Composting toilets may be an option if you have the space, as they are usually slightly larger than the conventional toilet system. The waste is composted and the end result is suitable to put onto the garden. Modern systems mean that there is no smell in the bathroom.
Triple glazing is very popular in self-build houses, although expensive will reap rewards by keeping the home warmer.
By installing a rainwater harvesting system you will be ahead of your neighbours during the summer droughts plus save money on your water bills. The correct system can replace a lot of the water that would have been piped into the home thus saving money.
Generate your own power with a wind turbine fitted to your roof. This product is now available in high street do-it-yourself stores and is gaining popularity. Remember to apply for planning permission before you buy.
Another energy saving product is the solar panel. Placed on the roof area that gets the most sunshine they can supplement water heating. Situated on the greenhouse they can be a free way to heat and grow your organic vegetables. Check with your local council, as there are sometimes grants available for solar heating.
Recycling as much building materials as possible will save money and keep your build Eco-friendly. Visit architectural salvage yards for bricks, doors and old-fashion radiators and fireplaces. Apart from being cheaper than the newer products will add charm and style to your home.
Eco-Friendly Timber Frames
If opting for a timber frame house – a kit build – ensure that the timber comes from a sustainable source. Many suppliers of timber frame homes are keen to promote this part of their business. These homes are quick to erect and although a little costlier than standard brick built homes are more efficient when it comes to insulation and heat retention.
By carefully planning your build to be as Eco-friendly as possible your home could become carbon neutral and benefit the environment as well as becoming a beautiful home to live in.