If you are building an extension or a conversion it could be a great time to assess the energy efficiency of your home and incorporate energy-saving measures into the building process. This is a cost effective way to begin to make your property more eco-friendly and reduce your carbon footprint.
How can I increase the energy efficiency of my house?
The best way to increase the energy efficiency of your property is by making sure that it is insulated as much as possible. In any new buildings or extensions you should make sure that you install insulation, the best option is insulation made from natural materials such as wool, hemp or recycled newspapers, these are less environmentally damaging than fiberglass. Double glazing is now a government requirement in new windows to meet energy efficiency targets, you could also consider Low-E glass that allows heat into a room but stops it from escaping.
If you are at the building stage you could consider alternative heating methods such as underfloor heating which is best installed when building from scratch or doing major renovations. Underfloor heating also works well with alternative heating methods such as air source and ground source heat pumps so you may want to install of an alternative, renewable heat source for your home’s heating needs.
How can I generate my own electricity?
As well as alternative heating sources, home electricity generation is becoming more and more accessible. If you are building a conversion or extension you may wish to consider fitting photovoltaic solar panels to the outside walls or roof of your property. Wind turbines and hydro power are also alternative energy sources that you could consider in order to generate your own electricity. These will reduce your energy bills and increase the value of your property.
Are some building materials more eco-friendly than others?
Definitely. When building you should consider the materials that you are using. Firstly where possible reuse materials both in the building process and the decorating, for example flooring or units. This will save you money as well as helping the environment. Breeze blocks and concrete might be cheapest building option but they use a lot of resources in their production. Instead wooden frames are a renewable building material that also adds character and aesthetic appeal to your home.