Self builds are becoming increasingly popular; in part because they allow families to build the home of their dreams, and in addition because they offer eco-conscious people the opportunity to build an energy efficient, low carbon footprint, home. Modern building materials and design principles are a lot greener and far more energy efficient than the principles that we used a few decades ago, however if you want a truly green home then there’s a lot to consider. Here’s a few tips to ensure your new build is as eco-friendly as possible.
1) Think of the Savings Room By Room
There’s more to a green home than just using green building materials and investing in insulation. Your roofing felt choices and Velux windows might cut down on some energy loss, but you should think about the inside of the home too. Simple considerations such as programmable thermostats, low flow shower fixtures, dual flush toilets, and energy-efficient appliances really do offer substantial savings over the lifetime of those appliances.
2) Consider Pre-Fab homes
Production homes, and pre-fab homes, can be incredibly green these days. Yes, you lose out on the thrill of building your own home, but pre-fabs in particular are inexpensive, quick to build, and far less stressful than a from-scratch self build. If you’ve got a dream plot of land and simply want an energy efficient home on there, then this can be a good compromise.
3) Pick the Right Location
It would be unfortunate to invest in a green home only to then need to buy a gas-guzzling 4WD that you use every day to commute to work because your home is in a hard-to-get-to area. If you pick a flat, sunny area in a neighbourhood that is easy to get around on foot, you’ll save on construction costs, heating, and transport.
4) Consider Passive Systems
Depending on where you live, energy generation systems such as windmills and solar panels might not be practical. Consider “passive” technologies instead. Passive systems rely on insulation to reduce heating costs, and ventilation to prevent sick-building syndrome. These systems can save money and energy in the long term.
5) Recycle and Upcycle
Energy consumption is just a part of the equation. If you want to build a truly green home then you should consider recycling as a lifestyle choice. While you might not be able to get your Velux windows made of recycled materials, you could get reclaimed roofing felt, use wood from sustainable forests, and upcycle or use freecycle for a lot of your furniture and decorations. Of course, you should try to buy new appliances for your home, as these are generally far more energy efficient than older ones.
When you get started on the path to building a greener home, it can often spur you on to look at the way you live the rest of your life. For many families, building a green home is the start to becoming almost self-sufficient. If your new home includes a garden, why not grow some vegetables or herbs there?
This guest article was contributed by Jon Platy on behalf of Principal Homebuyers – getting the right deal when selling your home or business premises.