Contribute an IdeaGot an Eco-Friendly idea or topic? Share it with us.

Building your own eco-friendly home in 5 easy steps

In the current financial market, more and more people are recognising the benefits of building their own home, and furthermore they are recognising the benefits of making that home ‘green’. Eco-friendly homebuilding is on the rise, but many people are still at a loss about how to make their home-build greener and thus miss out on all the ethical savings they could be marking. Eco-friendly builds require a little extra thinking and creativity, but the savings you can make over the lifetime of your house make the decision an easy one for most. If you’re interested in green construction, here are five steps you will need to take in order to build your own eco-friendly home, which will hopefully help you make a decision on whether to create your own little eco-paradise.

1.   Find suitable land

Whether you are building an eco-friendly home or an ordinary one, choosing the right location for your house is a must. If you want your home to align with your green ethos, you may for example want to ensure your house is within walking/cycling distance of your workplace and most visited areas. In addition, you might also want to check into the history of the land you are buying. Using environmental data resources, it is easy to find out who owned the land before you and if factories, gas stations or other harmful building that may have contaminated your soil ever stood there.

2.   Find a contractor and architect whose vision matches yours

If you have a green vision for your new property, then you need to find a contractor who shares in that vision. While your contractor need not be a specific ‘green’ contractor, the person you choose should at least have some idea about how to maximise the environmental factors in a building. This should be something also factored in by your chosen architect, as it is their job to design a home which is as efficient as possible whilst putting as little strain on the surrounding environment as possible.

3.   Pick suitable building materials

Although the best sources of advice on building materials will be your architect and contractor, you might want to do some research yourself into possible building materials that are more eco-friendly. For example, you might consider having a thatched instead of tiled roof, as roof tiles often come from quarries that have devastating effects on their local environment. Always consider where your building materials will come from and if said sourcing is ethical and environmental.

4.   Think about your energy needs

If you want to make an attempt at reducing your energy bills or even at being self-sufficient, then you need to think hard about how to make your home fit your energy needs. This may mean installing solar panels on your roof or even installing a small wind turbine if you live in a weather-suitable location. While these can be expensive upfront, they will reduce your energy bills massively over the lifetime of your home and therefore present an excellent investment.

5.   Decide how far you want to go

Some eco-friendly houses are hard to tell apart from non-eco-friendly houses, whilst others undisputedly look like hobbit holes. The choice of whether you want to just add a few eco-friendly touches or whether to go ‘extreme green’ is yours, and it largely depends on your lifestyle, budgets and ethos. For some, the life adjustments needed to live in an extreme green home are too much, while for others they present little to no problem. Decide how far you are willing to go to meet both your conscience and your wallet—and plan accordingly.