Friday, 7 August 2020

How do I build an eco friendly house?

There is so much to consider when building a house, but here are just some of the key basics to think about when building your sustainable home.

Location of your build is really important. A south-facing site is the ideal for building a sustainable home.  It not only helps to reduce heating bills by using the heat from the sun but also provides a higher amount of rays for PV usage if you decide to have them.  If the house is too exposed, you will need to take more care ensuring your house is airtight to avoid draughts.

Before you employ anyone to get involved, make sure you speak to people who have built a similar property.  Their knowledge and experience will be invaluable and could save you time and money in the long term. Ask them what went well and what issues they had?  Ask them if they have any contacts that they recommend using?  Make sure you speak to as many people as you can and learn from their experience.  

Make sure you are clear in your mind with what you do and don't want.  Changing your mind at a later stage can be time consuming and costly. (Remember, this is all before you even employ an architect!) The last thing you want is for a overly keen architect to design their dream home in your name, and before you know it you're living in a house that isn't entirely what you had in mind.  So before you start, brainstorm, draw pictures, write lists, get clear on what you want.  Think about layout, what you'll want to use each room for, any materials you want to use, type of heating etc.  Once you have your lists sorted, then you can employ an architect to design from your ideas and dreams.

Your architect will be able to advise you based on your requirements and budget.  You should also consider consulting a structural engineer, electrical engineer and plumbing engineer.  These all bring their own specialty in to the mix, and it can sometimes help to get them all working together.  It can be good to keep your architect involved throughout the build - just in case you need any aspects of the design amending, or if you need extra drawings to get you through planning/building regulations.

To keep your heating bills as low as possible in your new home, you need a high level of air tightness to reduce the draughts.  People create moisture naturally, as does cooking etc, so you will also need mechanical ventilation to make sure that moisture is removed to prevent damp, but also so that you have clean, fresh air in your home.  Mechanical ventilation systems with heat recovery (MVHR) ensure that the heat in your home isn't lost through this transfer of air, so it saves you money on heating bills.

When you're thinking about insulation for your home, make sure you have plenty, and consider what type you use.  The more insulation you have, the lower your heating bills are likely to be.  There are so many different types of eco-insulation now, you will need to do your homework to find one that is a sustainable source, but that also delivers the performance that you want it to.  Natural insulations tend to level out the heat loss more gradually, so you have more of a steady temperature in your home.  For further reading on this, visit or

Whether you know exactly what you want your new home to look like, or whether you have no idea yet, there are always people out there to help and advise, so don't be afraid to ask...and keep asking questions until you have your dream eco home!

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