We have all learned to develop our eco-conscience these days. The debate about global warming will rumble on for many years to come. I think that there is a distinct possibility that the actions of man contributes to it, and doing our bit to save the planet will do no harm.
If you are building the home of your dreams, you have a golden opportunity to add features to reduce its carbon footprint. Those who are experts in the field try to construct passive homes that are not reliant on mains services at all. It is a science within itself, but we will take a look at some eco-friendly features to include in a bespoke home.
You can break with tradition when building a custom home. Walls are typically of bricks, blocks or timber, but would you consider straw as a viable alternative? It’s no joke; people are turning to bales of straw as the construction material of choice because it is entirely natural. There has been no little fuel consumed to produce it, and the bales are robust. Add to that the fact that it has amazing insulation properties, and you are on to a winner! The walls will be two or three feet thick and are ideal for keeping in the warmth. Apply some render to the outside and cover them with drywall internally; no-one will know your secret..
Just because the building is new doesn’t mean you shouldn’t thatch the roof. A thatch, if done correctly, can last for fifty years with little maintenance. It adds insulation to the home and is an attractive alternative to tiles.
Apply a lot of insulation to the loft because it is the place where most heat escapes from buildings. With the insulation two feet thick and a thatched roof, heat will have a hard time getting out.
There is no viable alternative to modern double glazed windows. They are highly efficient and will pay for themselves many times over by reducing heat loss and preventing draughts.
Instead of relying on the main sewers, use a composting toilet. The experts reckon they are a viable alternative to standard units and efficient too. When it is up and running it is supposed to be odourless, but it takes a little practice to perfect the technique.
If you orient the slopes of the roof to face north and south, think about installing solar panels to generate electricity. There are two options available to you.
- Store the power in a battery bank for use later. You can either light the house with 12v LED bulbs or use an inverter to transform the electricity to mains voltage.
- Use power from the array when you can and use mains power when it is dark. During the daytime, export power that you don’t use to the grid and make money from it. Hopefully, it will be enough to cover the cost of your electricity with plenty left over.
There is no need to live in the dark ages in your eco-home. You can fill it with the latest technology and save money on the bills. That is the prime consideration for most people. I hope you take inspiration from my ideas that come from experience. For now, I wish you good luck with your project.