If you decide to create a house that is more environmentally friendly, you will not only experience a significant increase in personal fulfilment, but you will also enjoy lower monthly energy costs, a smaller overall carbon footprint, and a dwelling that is more energy efficient.
You may either start from scratch and construct an eco-friendly home by using a fabric-first strategy throughout the design phase, or you can make your current house more environmentally friendly by making a few cheap upgrades.
Regardless of where you choose to focus your attention, the ultimate goal should be to develop a house that is as kind to the natural world as is humanly feasible. The following are some methods in which you may reduce the environmental impact of your home.
1. Use a fabric first approach with the building
A fabric first approach is seen as being more environmentally friendly than renewable energy systems because it does not involve the installation of anything; rather, the structure performs the job for the architect.
Building using a fabric first approach implies that you will invest in the building’s envelope to guarantee that high-quality insulation, airtightness, solar gain, and natural ventilation are considered at the project’s design stage.
If you want to make certain that your house is as airtight as it is feasible, you may even construct it according to the stringent requirements of the Passivhaus regulations.
2. Take care with insulation.
Increasing the energy efficiency of your home, which will result in decreased energy consumption, may be accomplished by improving the insulation.
When doing a self-build, it is essential to take a fabric-first approach and to maintain as much airtightness as possible in the home. Nonetheless, any homeowner may make insulation improvements.
It is possible to install cavity walls or solid wall insulation in older homes that do not already have it. Additionally, it is important to make sure that your loft is well insulated to prevent heat loss via the roof.
3. Use natural materials where possible
When natural materials are used for construction, the demand for man-made resources, which sometimes call for a lot of packing and carrying, is reduced. This results in significant improvements in terms of sustainability.
The most environmentally friendly approach to construct something is to make use of materials such as wood, stone, recycled glass, recovered bricks, and even straw.
The following natural construction materials should be considered:
- Wood is a terrific renewable source that is sturdy, adaptable, and emits very little carbon dioxide gas molecules. It is also one of the most environmentally friendly materials that can be harvested.
- Straw is an excellent insulator, and if you build your house out of it, it will be sturdy and long-lasting; in fact, if you take good care of it, it should survive more than 200 years!
- Building with lumber that has been acquired ethically will result in less waste of material. In addition, timber frame buildings are lightweight, which typically necessitates foundations that are less complicated (and thus less expensive).
4. Use renewable energy sources
The term “renewable energy” refers to the power generated by using the earth’s natural resources, such as the sun, the wind, and the water. These may be used to generate energy, hot water, and heat in your home. They can also be utilised to power your home.
The following are some of the most effective forms of renewable energy that should be considered:
- Solar panels harness the power of the sun to provide heat for your home. Solar panels are available in various configurations, including those that generate heat, energy, or a combination of the two.
- Heat pumps are available in two primary varieties: air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps. Ground source heat pumps draw their power from the soil, while air source heat pumps use the surrounding air. A heat pump will pull heat from one location, move it to another (using a heat exchanger), and then deliver that heat to your home’s heating system.
- Boilers that run on biomass are an effective and trustworthy method of warming one’s house using carbon-neutral fuel in the form of natural wood pellets or logs, known as biomass.
If these are not available or practical where you live, an LPG tank may be a suitable alternative.
5. Make Use of reclaimed materials
When it comes to new construction, salvaged materials are sometimes ignored, despite the fact that they are frequently employed in rehabilitation projects. Although they might not be the best choice for structural components, there are still many applications in which they can make an important contribution.
When used as outer skins on timber frame walls, used roof tiles, floors, skirtings, and recovered bricks may not only add character but also save on the amount of embodied carbon that is produced by new materials.
Search for recovered materials and things such as bricks, tiles, doors, stone, and wood to aid in the reduction of waste produced by building construction.
6. Collect the water from the rain
You can limit the water you draw from the mains by collecting rainwater and utilising it again. This can help you save money.
If you do not want to spend a lot of money, you may irrigate your garden by collecting rainwater in a water butt that can be installed in your yard.
If you are looking for something more substantial, you could go the route of installing a rainwater harvesting system, which would allow you to collect enough rainwater to wash your car, flush your toilets, and even wash your clothes. This would be a good option for you if you want something more substantial.
By following these tips, you will help the environment and help your bank account!
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