If you want to live in an eco-friendly home and you’ve got enough money saved up for at least the first stage of the build (you can’t normally get a mortgage on a self-build project until it’s wind and watertight), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do it yourself. Many of the best eco-friendly homes in Britain were built this way. To succeed, however, you’ll need a thorough, carefully costed plan.
Considering your options
The first thing to think about is what kind of features you want to include in your home. It can be tempting to try to pack in every eco-friendly system you’ve ever heard of, but in practice this is both unnecessary and impractical. What works best will depend on where you want to situate your home and how you intend to use it. For instance, if you’re in the middle of a city you may find it difficult to get planning permission for a wind turbine and if you’re in the far north of Scotland, triple glazing your windows might be more of a priority than installing solar panels. Think about the cost of each option and consider what needs to be done now and what might be added later when your finances are stronger.
Finding the right site
When we think of eco-friendly homes we tend to think of living out in the countryside, but if that means having to drive a lot, it could end up being quite polluting. To choose the right site you’ll need to think about transport options, your lifestyle, local planning regulations and how you can construct and maintain your home with minimal environmental impact. You could also think about positive ways to help the environment, like integrating bird boxes or nesting sites for bats in your construction.
Finding the right team
Certain kinds of eco-friendly building work requires specialist builders and you may also want to find people with prior experience of eco-conscious projects in order to ensure they minimise environmental damage whilst they work. A good way to do this is to find an umbrella company that can recommend suitable individuals with a range of different skill sets. Because you can pay all their wages through that same company, this will also help to reduce your paperwork.
Finding the right materials
An important matter that some people overlook when it comes to projects of this type is finding building material that is non-polluting, ethically sourced, and has to travel as short a distance as possible to reach the site. Looking for local stone and local timber grown in sustainable forests is a good start, but you should also consider things like the metals used for the pipework and the paints on the walls.
Working your way through each of these areas will enable you to identify the most practical options, draw up a budget and start organising work. Your future home can be great for the environment and a wonderful place to live.