Is Your Home an Eco Home?
What is an Eco Home?
An eco home or house is designed to be more sustainable and reduce the amount of energy used and waste produced. In most cases, the buildings are created to incorporate the natural environment and it is believed to be a healthier way of living. As consumer and business approaches change to try and make their practices more sustainable, it is clear that we all need to start thinking about the future and protect the environment. Eco homes are also created out of natural and sustainable materials and as much reused or recycled materials as possible. The idea is that at the end of the home’s life, it can be converted back to the materials it started from to then be reused in further construction projects. Therefore, it is recommended not to use any nails or glue, only screws and bolts.
Most eco homes have a focus on increasing thermal efficiency and getting passive solar gain. Methods used to do this include high levels of insulation and airtightness, good levels of daylight, triple-glazed windows, mechanical ventilation, and having the house north (sun) facing. Heating would be from a renewable energy source such as biomass or solar. The idea is to reduce all types of waste, including electricity. Water is conserved, and rainwater is collected for example. Other ideas include composting toilets, low carbon materials, wind power systems and novel approaches to sharing limited resources. LED lighting is widely used thanks to its much lower energy consumption and design options. The options of colour in LEDs are also attractive, as the natural light shade will go well with the openness of the plan and the ecological theme.
The Benefits of Owning an Eco Home
As well as being much better for the environment and saving you money in heating and electricity bills, it has been proven in some cases to be beneficial for the inhabitant’s health. Quite a lot of traditional house construction materials are not good for us as they are volatile organic compounds which are known carcinogens. There are many toxins in paints and plastic, and traditional buildings are known to have moisture building up which can cause damp and mould. In extreme situations, this can lead to breathing problems and even cardiac arrest. There are also numerous benefits to the eyes and well-being, of having natural lighting around the home, and the indoor temperature would be very comfortable indeed.
So, Why isn’t Everyone Doing It?
With the way we build houses in modern society and how we lay out residential areas, it can be difficult to make every new house an eco home. Despite the numerous savings when living in the house, the planning and construction is not cheap, and usually requires the knowledge of experienced architects and builders who know about sustainable construction. Then of course there is the addition of solar panels and other expenses to power the home and increase sustainability. It is clear that as a society we want to go green but implementing the concept of eco homes will take time and the cost will put a lot of developers off for now.