With property prices on the rise, and many new homes being rather cramped and unoriginal, many people are now looking at building their own home. For those who are concerned about the environmental impact of their home, this can be an excellent option, and means they can design each aspect to minimise their carbon footprint. However, many people don’t know where to start when it comes to building their own home, so here are a few steps to get you started.
Find the right piece of land
The great thing about building your home is that you have a huge choice of potential locations. You’ll find plots of land in towns and out in the countryside, and can usually either buy through an estate agent, or even at auction. Be sure to use the same amount of caution that you’d employ when buying a house. Check for issues such as flooding in the area, and find out whether there’s already planning permission in place or whether you’ll need to get it.
Use a specialist architect
The design of your home will go a long way towards making it energy efficient. Ideally, you want to hire an architect who can create a practical, hard-wearing design. A good architect will ensure rooms aren’t too big or small, that recycled materials are used as much as possible, and that the home has features such as gable roofs, which are usually the most energy efficient choice.
Add solar panels
Adding solar panels is an excellent way to cut your energy bills, and in some areas they could even make you money in the long term. Even if you are doing a lot of DIY work on the house, it’s always best to leave the electrics to a qualified electrical installer, and they’ll be able to wire up a system that works efficiently with your solar panels.
There are lots of ways you can save water around the home, and if you’re starting from scratch it’s so much easier. Firstly, you can install water efficient toilets and showerheads, so you cut your water consumption. You could also set up a system for greywater – the name given to used water from baths, showers, and sinks. This can often be re-purposed for toilet flushing, washing cars, or watering the garden. Look for a plumber who specialises in fitting greywater recycling systems.
Use recycled materials
Making bricks and tiles can have a big impact on the environment, as can cutting down trees for wood. You can save money and reduce your environmental impact by using reclaimed materials wherever possible. You may even find you like the design more.
Don’t forget the garden
Modern gardens may be green and blooming, but they can often be full of chemicals, or take huge amounts of water to sustain. Consider adding some raised beds to improve water efficiency, add some water butts to save rain water, and consider going organic so you can lessen your impact. You could also build a composter into the design, allowing you to get rid of any biodegradable household waste.
There are lots of ways you can make your home eco-friendly, and the advantage of building a place from scratch is that you can integrate these features so much more easily. When you design your home, think of all the areas where you might be putting a strain on the environment, and research some new ways of doing things. Not only will you enjoy lower energy bills, you’ll be proud of your eco-friendly abode, and can feel satisfied that you’ve lowered your carbon footprint.