What is an “eco” home?
It’s an environmentally-friendly home that’s designed to have as little impact on our planet as possible.
Why’s that important?
Because burning fossil fuels to power and heat our homes is causing climate change. Eco-friendly homes are all about using renewable energy sources, being energy-efficient, and using natural materials.
What makes a home eco-friendly?
When it comes to making a house more environmentally friendly, there can be many different features to consider. But, broadly speaking, there are some key elements.
A truly eco-friendly home is one that’s built from sustainably sourced and natural materials. The best option is to use reclaimed or recycled materials because creating something new from scratch takes much more energy. Wood and lime are commonly used to build the timber frames of eco-houses.
Straw bales are often used in eco-house buildings, as they’re brilliant for insulation. Bamboo is also great. Unlike trees, which can take decades to mature, bamboo is plentiful and grows quickly.
Renewable electricity is vital for an eco-friendly home.
Some eco-homes even generate their own electricity. The most popular way of doing this is via solar panels on a south-facing roof. Or, if you live in a windy part of the country, you could also install a domestic wind turbine. Both of these methods are sustainable sources of energy and reduce the carbon footprint of the homes that use them.
Another important part of an eco home is the way it’s heated. New central heating systems, like heat pumps, can keep homes cozy without burning fossil fuels. Heat pumps can run on renewable electricity, so they’re a much greener type of central heating than a gas boiler. They absorb heat from the air outside and use this to heat your home, they even work in the depths of winter! It’s really clever technology.
Smart gadgets can also make a home greener. Smart meters let you track your energy use in real-time, helping you spot ways to save. And smart thermostats can do things like sync your central heating up with the weather, and make sure you never heat an empty home. It all helps save energy.
Why do we need more eco-friendly homes?
A whopping 40% of carbon emissions come from our homes, so the biggest benefit of an eco-friendly house is its smaller impact on the environment.
But there are lots of other advantages to eco-houses too, such as:
- Better air quality
- Innovative design
- Reduced strain on local resources
- Higher property value
- Less maintenance work (for things like boilers)
Whatever you pay to build your dream home, making it energy-efficient and eco-friendly will have the pleasant side effect of lowering your energy bills. So, you could be looking at big savings in the long run!