You have probably been hearing more and more about the latest trend in home building and that would be eco-homes. These are both environmentally friendly and less expensive to maintain. Who wouldn’t love a home that cut their electricity and utility bills by at least half month after month while also doing something for the environment? If you are in the process of having plans drawn up for a new home or renovating an older home to convert it to an eco-home, you’ll want some tips to get you started.
Your Choice of Architect Matters
If there is one thing which can be honestly said it would be that all architects are not created equal. When it comes to environmentally friendly homes, it will take an architect that has invested a considerable amount of time in understanding government’s outline on sustainability in terms of home building as well as the major environmental issues facing today’s homeowners.
When planning a home, architects in Birmingham, for example, should understand the specific environmental issues that need to be dealt with. This experienced architect firm can inform you on the species that are endangered and protected. Did you know that bats are among the protected species in the UK? Many people don’t, but they are important to the ecology and if you have a bat infestation in your loft, you can’t just automatically assume that they should be exterminated. Government regulates protected species, so if you are undergoing a home renovation with a loft conversion, you will absolutely need to understand how to handle a situation like that.
Focus on Key Features of Sustainability
Whether building a new home or revamping the one you currently live in, there are a few key features of sustainability every eco-home should include in the design. The very first consideration is energy efficiency. Unfortunately, many consumers in the UK aren’t aware of the new energy ratings that came into effect in March of 2021. They took away the plus system and went to a strict A, B, C and D rating. It is also said that there will be very few appliances rated as an “A,” so if you find one, grab it up! It means that you will realise the ultimate in energy efficiency.
Then there are those archaic tank-style water heaters that cost an arm and a leg to keep water hot. The newest trend are those tankless water heating systems that heat water on demand by running it through a series of coils. Can you just imagine how much energy is saved when you aren’t keeping water heated 24/7?
It is also imperative to consider design elements like energy-efficient windows that keep the heat out in the summer and the cold out in winter months. These also help you to draw less energy in climate control which has the added benefit of keeping the cost of heating and cooling your home lower.
Another element to consider is using heat pump technology that exchanges air rather than heating it. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, but as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Once your energy bills are significantly lowered, you won’t care if you understand how heat pumps work by exchanging air. You’ll just be happy that you are spending less to keep your home warm on those cold winter days.
Groundwork and Eco-Homes
Here’s another point to consider. Several decades ago, the government legislated the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for real estate in England and Wales. This is a broad sweeping bit of legislation that deals with how to handle contaminated land. There are other laws that seek to protect the natural habitat of wildlife. Laws also regulate the felling of trees in some instances and how you must leave the land more environmentally friendly than before you began groundwork.
As Net Zero approaches, there will be a stricter focus on environmental sustainability so the plans for building an eco-home extend beyond the structure. Every area of the UK has more localised regulations which is why you might want to work with a firm of architects that are knowledgeable in terms of regional legislation.
Vegetation is another issue to be aware of. Some plants are also listed as endangered so being able to identify them is critical. Do you know what a Ghost Orchid is? It is listed as the most endangered plant in the UK and thought to be extinct about a decade ago. Now it has been spotted growing wild in fields and if you have this plant on your land and even unknowingly plough it under, you could be slapped with huge fines.
Last But Not Least – Free Energy from the Sun
While this probably doesn’t need to be highlighted, it is a vital element in an eco-home. Solar power can make you less dependent on electricity still produced in part by fossil fuels. That is a major environmental concern; however, it is also an important feature in a sustainable home design.
Can you imagine never needing to pay an electricity bill again? Also, if you feed power back into the grid, you will be financially rewarded as well. There are so many benefits to solar power that it would take days to list them all. However, think about actually getting paid to produce your own electricity. That’s a switch, isn’t it? We have been paying so much for so long that it might feel good to be compensated for a change.
A Final Word
We’d like to leave you with one final tip that may be the most important of all. Don’t ever rush in blindly to plan an eco-home. Always consult with expert architects who understand the rules and regulations of environmental issues. From tree surveys to bat surveys, there is always something that could put a snag in your otherwise well-thought-out plans.
Although you understand energy-efficient appliances, solar power and other key features of an eco-home, there is always something you hadn’t considered. Take your time in planning and seek the advice of professionals in the field. That’s the surest route to an environmentally, sustainable eco-home and that’s your goal after all.