Global climate change influences different aspects of our lifestyles. Conscious people all over the world change their habits, lifestyle, and approaches to creating homes. Sustainable housing is becoming a trend in the design and necessity for an effective and healthy way of life. High demand for eco-friendly buildings has influenced the innovations in eco-friendly techniques and materials, such as efficient lighting, solar panels, recycling, wind turbines, plastic concrete bricks, rain harvesting systems, etc. We would like to share some ways and techniques on how to make an eco-house, like using energy from renewable sources, water recycling, roof gardens and living walls, sustainable construction materials.
The results of climate change can already be noticed and sensed by ordinary people. Global climate changes are no longer perceived as the phenomenon of a faraway future. Large businesses as well as individuals become more aware of the ecological trends and take responsibility in doing their best to treat the planet with greater care.
The effect of the construction and development on the ecology cannot be underestimated. Approximately 40% of carbon emissions come from construction and housing is the main type in the industry. For example, over 300,000 new homes have been built in Britain since the 1970s and the numbers continue growing. Alarmed by the effects of global warming progressive governments of the cities and countries all over the world start taking the task of building eco-homes seriously.
Of course, necessary adjustments for the industry and large development companies might be complicated and take time. Self-builders have more flexibility in their choices, can install according to their own specifications, and start constructing sustainable dwellings setting a positive example for the wider housebuilding industry. Increasing demand for eco-friendly homes has influenced the innovations in techniques and materials, such as efficient lighting, solar panels, recycling, wind turbines.
Our homes are not only walls and ceilings. They are a place where we spend time with close people, rest, fill it with our values and memorable moments. People become more aware of how a dwelling influences life and relations in the family. Many choose to build a home so it avoids or at least minimizes negative environmental footprint focusing on functionality, innovative design, and care for the planet.
Our homes can be built environmentally friendly and sustainable if we include the following components during the construction:
Use energy from renewable sources.
New ways of efficient house energy are replacing electricity. The main smart approaches to power up the house are:
Water shortage is a huge problem normally ignored or at least underestimated. Old toilet flushes use about 20 liters of water each time, the new models decrease the amount to approximately 6 liters, which is still a lot.
An innovative approach is to fix the sink so it disposes soapy water into the toilet flush and reuse it. Such a simple solution helps save great amounts of water. Rain harvesting system installation is another technique that allows the reuse of the water and decreases its consumption. Depending on the ecology of the region such water can be utilized in different ways as household chores, washing cars, and sometimes even purified for drinking purposes.
Using sustainable materials with minimal carbon emissions for the construction is of the utmost importance. Sustainably sourced wood is load-bearing, hydroinsulating, soundproofing, safe for the environment. Designers and engineers create innovative solutions to replace brick, concrete, and steel with wood even in large structures.
The passive house idea invented in Germany in the 70s is about creating an eco-friendly home in harmony with nature and using its resources in an ecological way. One of the principles of the technique is about designing the house so the sunlight enters the rooms in a way that direct sunlight is cut in summer and low winter sun penetrates the house in winter. Or using the natural wind direction and designing the windows to achieve better ventilation. Such design requires additional skills and understanding of the natural processes, it creates the special atmosphere of a home being a part of the planet existing in accordance with its laws and life.
In case there is no room for a back garden it is possible to place one on the roof or the side of your house as well. Such eco-friendly design components are used mostly in urban environments helping to absorb carbon dioxide, add oxygen improving the air quality, reduce the influx of heat created by car fumes and solar rays.
Roof gardens also help manage stormwater and extend the durability of the roofing membranes. Do not confuse roof gardens with ivy, as they are constructed with soil pack installation and normally have the water delivery system preventing brickwork erosion.
Definitely, the aesthetic effect of such design techniques is unquestionable. Roof gardens and living walls are popular not only for building homes but also in the business centers design in big cities. Such areas become a retreat for the office workers to relax and alleviate stress.
Because of the broad ways of consuming plastic it has become quite a challenge to give it up completely. The understanding of its negative effect and amounts consumed has also given ways to the innovative ideas of using plastic in producing construction materials. Although plastic is not yet commonly used in construction, a great example of recycling is plastic concrete bricks. A well-known ecotech design idea is a bottled house in Honduras, constructed out of 8,000 PET plastic bottles filled with mud. Most likely the tendency of innovations in recycling will grow and we will see more examples in the construction and design.
These are only a few ways and ideas of what can be done to build an eco-friendly house. Of course, some of them might seem out of reach and very complicated for now but there are various ways to strive for and implement eco-friendly ideas in your dwelling. Everyday changes in the house and habits have the potential to impact the environment. We hope to provide you with more ideas and information on creating sustainable homes.
Environmental or “green” buildings are more than just a passing trend. They represent a paradigm shift in the field of architecture and a more sustainable way to secure the future of urbanization.