Can we afford NOT to build a Green Home?

Sustainable and environmentally conscious, Green Homes (or eco homes) are fast becoming a popular consideration for self-builders and renovators alike. As Town Planners, our primary objective is achieving sustainability, so this is music to our ears.

The term “eco house” can broadly be used to describe any house which puts sustainability or environmental concerns at the forefront of design. An eco house can include everything from adding renewable technology to an existing house during a renovation, to a full fabric first approach during a self-build.

Eco Homes are not only better for the environment; they are worth the modest premium it costs to build when you factor in the monthly energy savings. Check out how in this article by Real Homes.

As well as the low maintenance and operational costs, there are a number of other benefits to building an eco home, which makes us question… can we actually afford NOT to build a Green Home?

Reduces Strain on Resources

As the population increases, local shared resources such as water and energy come under considerable pressure. Through the use of technologies and processes that increase water and energy efficiency, green buildings can reduce this strain.

Green building allows for the use of alternative sources of water such as rainwater, reducing water waste through the installation of plumbing fixtures that are efficient and reducing the strain on shared water resources by installing systems that purify water and enable recycling.

Green building companies design buildings in a manner that allow for the use of fewer materials and employ processes that use less water, raw materials, and energy. They also use materials that are long lasting and/or recycled and reused. All of this helps achieve material efficiency and reduces the strain on resources.

Environmental Impact & Future Proofing

As the effects of climate change become more pronounced every year, it is becoming virtually impossible for the most ardent climate change deniers to dismiss it.

For decades we have known of the dire predictions for the climate due to runaway carbon emissions, and, like ignoring recommendations from your doctor to quit smoking, eat better and get more exercise, we now seem to be potentially paying the price.

When have you ever heard someone say “my house is too energy-efficient, too sustainable and too durable?” The wind speeds, snow loads, rainfalls, heat waves and deep freezes we have designed for in the past will in all likelihood not reflect the climate in the future. For these reasons, we think homes should be built with far more resiliency and environmental stewardship than they are today.

Planning Implications

The planning implications for green housing are much the same as for any other self-build or renovation, the same principals and procedures apply. Check our our FREE ebooks for more information about the planning process – we’d particularly recommend the edition for “Self Builders”!

There is a push for greener homes with Councils including planning policies within their local plans to encourage more energy efficient and environmentally friendly housing. Don’t be surprised if you apply for planning permission and you’re asked to demonstrate how your property will achieve this.

The installation of solar panels and equipment may be ‘permitted development’ with no need to apply for planning permission; however we would recommend you check with your Local Planning Authority first.

If you need a bit of extra support with the planning process feel free to give us a call on 07944844882 .

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