Sustainability when building a new home

Sustainability when building a new home

A rocking chair is infront of window with a wooden kitchen table in the foreground with two designer lamps hanging above

An eco-home follows green or eco-principles to reduce the energy used in the construction process and energy used once the home is inhabited. Ultimately an eco-home should be low energy in all aspects, which allows for environmental and user well-being.

 

What types of new sustainable homes are there?

Eco-homes can be constructed in a selection of ways, whether this be utilising timber frames in construction, prefabrication or off-site construction, or buildings that are structurally made out of eco-materials. Each type of eco-home has its own benefits and choosing the most appropriate construction method is an integral part of creating a home that minimises environmental impact and maximises energy efficiency.

Building a new eco-home requires more than considering the structure, it’s about employing sustainable practices at every aspect of the building process, from the selection of building materials to the architectural design and waste disposal in construction. 

 

Are newly built houses more energy-efficient by default?

While newly built houses tend to be more energy-efficient compared to older structures due to advancements in building materials and technologies, they are not energy-efficient by default. Achieving optimal energy efficiency requires intentional design choices and careful selection of materials. To make a new build home more energy-efficient, homeowners and builders can implement various strategies such as optimising insulation, installing high-efficiency heating and cooling systems and incorporating passive solar design principles.

 

How can I make a new house build more energy efficient?

 

Design and arrangement

Designing floor plans with eco-friendly principles in mind can transform a home into an eco-home by optimising the space available, natural lighting, and energy efficiency. Open floor plans promote airflow and natural ventilation, reducing the need for mechanical cooling. The strategic placement of windows and skylights maximises natural light and reduces reliance on artificial lighting. Incorporating passive solar design elements, such as south-facing windows harnesses solar heat in winter and minimises it in summer.

 

Eco-friendly materials

Materials must be carefully considered at the beginning of the project to ensure they align with the principles of eco-homes. 

With advancements in material technology and production, there are eco-friendly options for all requirements. By selecting materials with low embodied energy, minimal environmental impact, high durability and healthy indoor qualities, homeowners can be confident that their home is contributing to a greener future.

 

Recycled materials

Using recycled materials such as reclaimed wood, recycled glass or recycled metal can significantly reduce the environmental impact of construction by diverting waste from landfills. By repurposing materials that would otherwise contribute to pollution, energy consumption, and resource depletion, builders can lower carbon emissions associated with extraction and manufacturing processes. Additionally, recycling materials conserves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to producing new materials, making it a sustainable choice for eco-conscious construction practices.

 

What can building companies do to make a house build or extension more sustainable? 

Building companies have a significant role in making new builds or extensions more sustainable. This can be achieved by using eco-friendly materials, adopting energy-efficient construction techniques, implementing renewable energy systems, promoting water conservation measures, and minimising waste generation. Additionally, they can educate clients about sustainable practices and offer green building certifications to ensure long-term environmental benefits for house builds or extensions.

 

Waste management

Waste management and disposal during and after the build is another critical consideration in ensuring the sustainability of the entire construction process. Construction waste, including debris, packaging materials, and unused materials, should be properly sorted and disposed of according to local regulations. Recycling materials whenever possible and minimising landfill contributions can significantly reduce the environmental impact of the building. 

 

Energy use on site

Eco-builders can manage energy use on-site by implementing energy-efficient equipment, optimising construction schedules to minimise energy consumption, utilising renewable energy sources such as solar panels, and educating workers on energy-saving practices. Monitoring energy use and conducting regular audits help identify opportunities for further improvements in energy management on site.