Wednesday, 17 September 2014
The future of self-build projects is likely to be found in the so called “eco-homes”. Living in environmentally friendly homes isn’t just for those looking for the simple life, but for everyone looking to build in the UK.
Energy efficiency is the watch word of the new age, and reducing running costs is as good for your wallet as it is for the world at large. Generally, self builders have taken to the eco-friendly revolution more enthusiastically than other commercial developers (who will likely wait until government regulations force them to clean up their act). Though the science is by no means sound (with a great deal of disagreement in the scientific community at large), early indications seem to indicate that human actions are having an impact on the global climate and living greener could make all the difference.
Though the UK government might be a little sluggish to implement widespread eco-friendly requirements from the building trade, they are at least taking steps in the right direction. The Code for Sustainable Homes promotes energy efficiency in housing and supports the ethical sourcing of renewable building materials. More energy rating legislation is expected to be passed in the future, and already home sellers / landlords are required to provide an Energy Performance Certificate to new buyers / tenants. Achieving a "Level 6" rating on the government Code rating will give your home a zero emissions status and make it relatively future-proof should you come to sell it down the line.
Eco-homes do not just need to have low emissions levels during their operational lifetime after they have been built, but also need to have a minimal impact on the environment during its construction as well. Both of these issues can be tackled during the planning and design stages, providing that the initiatives are followed through to completion. You need to carry out an ecological assessment in order to develop a workable construction plan and you should consider both new technologies and tried and tested sustainable techniques. When finding materials, it might be a bit more effort to find sustainable resources, but often the difference you make will be tremendous and at little or no increase in costs.
Ethical sourcing and sustainability
Ethical sourcing and sustainability are not the only considerations you need to make about materials, but also the energy consumption and material wastage involved with its acquisition, processing, manufacturing and transportation. On top of these issues you also need to think about your chosen materials' usable lifespan, weighing it against that of equivalent materials with lesser green credentials to see if it balances out. Being able to recycle material once it has reached the end of its lifespan is another plus and should work in a material option's favour.
Good management skills
Good site management skills are essential for an eco-friendly build, as an efficient and responsible approach will be required to limit energy consumption, water and material wastage. Using the Environmental Management System (EMS) accreditation scheme operated by British Standards (BS) and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), you can find contractors with environmentally friendly work ethics. The Considerate Constructors Scheme also encourages good eco-friendly building approaches. EMS can also be used to find suppliers with the required ethic and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) helps by certifying timber from responsibly managed sources.
Any eco build project you are undertaking will likely require non-standard construction insurance. Self build insurance cover might be more difficult to come by than standard insurance, because it is associated with a higher-risk category. With HomeProtect you can get a competitive online quote for self build insurance, regardless of what type of project you are embarking upon or what your eco home will be made out of.