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The Rise of the Eco Home

Posted by Emma Johnson on January 3, 2020
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Fancy having your own eco home? Who wouldn’t? It’s not just the fact that they are ‘on trend’ right now, but also that they’re just so economical to run.

How come? Well, most of them run on renewable technology. Whether it’s a roof full of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for heating and lighting purposes, or a ground source air pump to supply hot water and running your washing machine, it’s going to cut your utility bills considerably. Triple glazing is a must too. Ideally you want a house that generates more electricity than it uses (and so sends energy to the national grid – and for which you’ll receive payment).

If you’ve ever watched Grand Designs you’ll have an idea what we mean. People have even built houses into hillsides to benefit from the cosiness of the earth surrounding their house.

Celebs who have embraced this new domestic eco-consciousness include actor Orlando Bloom and artist Damien Hirst. And they’re definitely not alone. The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (Breeam), which rates houses for their eco-credentials, assessed 7,000 projects last year (a decade ago there were around 3000). This year more buildings than ever received the organisation’s “Outstanding” rating.

Eco materials

Building a home using eco materials means using sustainable wood ie when a tree is chopped down a new one is grown in its place. You can tell this if the wood comes with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) guarantee.

Some homes are built using Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). This is a panel with a core layer of rigid insulation sandwiched in between two layers of structured board. The board itself can be wood, metal or even concrete. In the case of timber, the fact there are fewer planks of wood means better insulation ie less room for draughts to get through.

Eco-minded building also means buying locally in order to cut down on your environmental footprint. Recycled metal, glass and even wool are all good sources – and not particularly expensive to buy. And which is another point – by reusing materials you’re not going to pay a premium for them in the first place. And you’re keeping them from landfill.

Different types of eco homes available

According to the Sustainable Living Association, there are lots of different eco homes types around – depending on just how green you want to go. Not to mention how much you have to spend in the first place. Here’s a run-down of some of the main ones here:

  • Prefabs (prefabricated homes) – made in sections then shipped to the owner who assembles the house together.
  • Passive house – a very energy efficient home
  • Zero carbon – very efficient with no carbon footprint at all
  • Straw bale – using straw to insulate or as an actual building material
  • Rammed earth –build into a hillside or with extremely tightly packed soil
  • Earthships – self-sustaining homes which are build using all natural and/or recycled materials
  • Shipping container – big in America, these are cargo containers made of steel which can be used as a basic structure.

There days it’s perfectly possible to find architects who specialise in self-build and eco-projects. You’ll also find government schemes encouraging eco construction with grant funding for particular projects. Certainly, the number of green schemes in the UK is predicted to rise by as much as 60 per cent over the next few years, according to The World Green Building Trends 2018 Smart Market Report. Will yours be one of them?

Do you have any questions we can answer? Contact the team today on 0333 577 0733 or drop us an email to info@iSellproperties.co.uk.

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