Saturday, March 7, 2015

Five Ways to Build a Greener Home

Five Ways to Build a Greener Home
Today's construction industry is not based solely around the need for cost-effective or aesthetically-pleasing solutions: Nowadays we have to think greener.

With environmental buildings regulations tightening year-on-year in all developed markets, the savvy builder or renovator will be looking to maximise the green potential of their home from the offset.

Here are five things you might want to bear in mind:

1. If you are already in a home and want to renovate it to a more eco-friendly standard, your first task is to audit it for its energy-efficiency. There are many organisations open to you, for example the UK's Carbon Trust, which will provide you with easy steps to calculate the overall carbon footprint of your house and work out where you need to update the building to make energy savings.

2. The right insulation is a must, particularly in older houses.

It has been estimated that if your house was built before 1920 then around a third of the heating can be lost through the walls. Even newer houses can fall well below standard, so get some estimates for loft and cavity wall insulation, as well as, of course, double glazing.

Remember that whatever this costs initially, you will usually make your money back in savings on your energy bills within a couple of years. If you want to gain extra green credentials, you can add further insulation with external cladding, although this does come at an increased price so may be something you have to add later on.

3. When building a house from scratch or converting an existing properly, think very carefully about the materials you are going to use. Where possible, use the most lightweight options as this dramatically reduces CO2 in transport. For example lightweight roof tiles made from plastic are an increasingly viable roofing options these days as they are just as robust at the heavier slate or concrete options. In addition to the CO2 savings, lightweight plastic roof tiles can also be made from polymer waste, and if you're thinking green then you should be using recycled materials wherever possible.

4. Whilst it is important, then, to consider the type of material you use, you should also consider where you are going to be sourcing these from. Where possible, try to find good local suppliers, as this will also cut CO2 in transport. These days, a responsible supplier will usually distribute the goods in re-useable, returnable pallets and containers as well which dramatically reduces waste.

5. In addition to the long-term sustainability of the building itself, it is also important to make all possible efforts to reduce waste or pollution during the construction process itself. You can do this by asking suppliers to buy back unused items, or making sure that any waste on site, such as plastic insulation or wood offcuts, is recycled as wherever possible.

DIY Solar Panels and Windmills Building Guides

Earth 4 Energy
Make your own solar panels or wind turbine.
More info here

Home Made Power Plant
There are some other guides for DIY wind and solar generators, but all of those that I've read don't get into the same details.
More info here

The Green Roof Tile Company manufactures lightweight roof tiles from recycled plastic bottles - reducing landfill and helping the environment. More details can be found on their website

Article Source: Five Ways to Build a Greener Home

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