Monday, February 1, 2016

How to Build an Eco-friendly House

If you are building a new house, you may be concerned with a lot of things, such as maximizing floor space and minimizing noise, but the latest architectural trend is making sure that new buildings are environmentally friendly. In fact, new houses in many areas actually have to meet certain environmental criteria. Even if you do not need your house to check any boxes, then you may still want to consider building in some of these features to help to make your home more environmentally friendly. Many of these tips are also low cost, so you won’t have to blow your budget in order to save the Earth.

Building Materials

Carefully consider what you will use as a building material for your new home. Locally sourced materials are best, because they have fewer road miles attached to them. Alternatively, choose materials which have been upcycled and would otherwise have been destined for the scrap yard. Wood is a good choice for an eco-home, but make sure that it comes from a sustainable source if you cannot get hold of reclaimed wood. Contrary to popular belief, properly installed wooden framed windows can actually be better insulators than their uPVC counterparts, and they last much longer as well.

 

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Proper Insulation

Countless units of energy are lost from homes without proper insulation. Many homeowners are not only heating their homes, but they are also heating up the area around their homes too. This means that during cold periods, they are forced to spend a fortune on their heating bills. Scrimping on insulation during the building process will lead to extra spending on your energy bills. The type of insulation that you will require can very much depend on the climate that you live in and what other design ideas you have. If you live in a cold place, it is worth investing in loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and double glazing. There are plenty of natural and recycled materials which can be used for insulation. Alternatively, properly fitted turf roofs are excellent for keeping the heat in.

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Energy

You are going to need energy to power the appliances in your home, unless you are planning on living gadget-free. Whilst it is a shrewd move to connect your new home up to the national powergrid in case of emergencies, it is possible to power your home entirely using localized renewable energy generation devices. If you live in a sunny area, solar cells are a brilliant investment. The location of your home will dictate which way you need to face your solar panels for maximum effect. Depending on your climate, you can support or replace solar panels with wind turbines. Whilst some people think of turbines as unsightly, clever design techniques can help to make them seem really integrated into the style of the home. If you have built your home near a flowing water supply, you may even be able to take advantage of micro-hydro generation sources, for example a water wheel. The force of the water turns the wheel, which generates energy.

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Saving Water

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There is a range of water saving devices to place around your home to save water. If you live in an area where it rains a lot, buy a rainwater butt to collect water when it rains. You can use this water to water your plants, rather than using expensive tap water from the mains. If you cannot afford a special eco-toilet, reduce the water waste which is associated with using a standard toilet by adding a water saver to the cistern. Most of the water that floods into the pan when you flush a normal toilet is unnecessary, so reducing the amount of water that you flush will have a positive environmental impact and will reduce your water bills. Anything that takes up space in your cistern will reduce the flush level.  The same can be said of showers; whilst showering is far more eco-friendly that bathing is, if you install a power shower then you may be undoing all of your good work. An aeration or low flow shower head will spray out enough water to keep you clean, but not so much that it becomes wasteful.

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