The key elements to building Eco
There are many elements to implement when it comes to construction and eco builds are no different. An eco build starts from the design stage. By this I mean you have to think about what it is you want from the beginning and how you’re going to get there. For example, Eco builds are, and need to be, extremely energy efficient and the way to ensure that this will be the case is to factor it into your design. Air tightness testing, or an air pressure test (it also has many other names) is one of the most important aspects of any build but no more so than eco. The fewer the gaps you have in your construction the less air that will be able to escape and also enter the build. Ideally you need to be able to control the air into and out of your construction. This will pair up nicely with the ventilation system that you install. Although you want your home to be completely air tight, you also need to have controlled ventilation. This will set you in good stead for your perfect eco build.
You need to know your plot and its location knowing where the sun will enter the build. Eco builds will use natural light throughout and this will be factored into the design. Roof lights, windows and doors etc will all allow the flow of natural light and reduce the need for artificial lighting. Windows can also have what is called ‘solar gain’ to trap the sunlight and its heat which can then be used to warm your home. Also if you’re going to be using solar panels that aren’t on the roof, you will need to know where it is best to place them.
You must know the thermal mass of your building materials. Materials can absorb the heat from the sun and use this heat to warm the build. This brings us nicely on to insulation. You must have the right insulation for your home; don’t fall short here. By not having the correct products or the right quantity you can loose quite a substantial amount of heat which will interfere negatively with your energy consumption.
Often when people are building an eco home they don’t always think about how the materials that they are using are transported or made. To ensure that your build is complying with the eco ethos you need to source your materials ethically. Not only do you need to think about this but you also need the right materials for the job; they must be fit for purpose. There can be a fine line here and sometimes you have to make some tough decisions. Remember that the products you choose, you’re choosing to last; they must be durable.
You also need to think about your structure and what you are going to build it from, such as block and brick, timber etc. There are many structures that you can choose from and some provide better levels of energy efficiency but others might lend more to your design.
There are many things to think about when designing any home and there are even more things to think about when going all-out-eco. These are just the basics that you need to follow, but the key is in the preparation. Get the design right, build it air tight and source the right materials and you’re halfway there. Eco is a lifestyle not just a build.