Self Builders! How To Create An Effective Green Strategy

So you’ve either decided to build a new home or seriously renovate your existing one and want to really embrace “green” tech in the new scheme. You have an approximate budget and want to make best use of every penny. You’ll need an effective green strategy.

When all is said and done people often want to make their money go as far as possible and would like to know what they can do to spend within their budget today, and reduce their running costs for the foreseeable future.

This week’s blog explains where to start to ensure you get it right first time.

An Effective Green Strategy

Plan ahead

Too many people go barrelling into home construction concentrating on getting through planning, getting it built fast and then worrying about home furnishings. If you are reading this you are one of the few that has discovered the first secret behind successful eco building…research!

I can tell you that some focused planning and thinking about what are important to you as a homeowner will put you quickly ahead of the curve and well set up to progressing with a successful project. The sad fact is not enough people do it.

Insulate, insulate, insulate!

Every home loses energy and improving insulation of the key elements such as floor, walls, roof and windows will quickly provide lasting benefit. Every time this is the best way to invest your hard earned cash for lasting energy savings.

For a new home it is likely that the local planning authority and building regulations will set a minimum energy efficiency target, but what about going beyond that?

Even if you have an existing home the modifications can be trickier but the improvements will be considerable; especially if draughts can be reduced in the process. What about insulating suspended floors or dry lining particularly cold walls in the home?

Heating and hot water scheme

For a well-insulated home the options open up considerably for those looking to do something a little more eco-friendly to their home, but again it pays to keep a high level view initially instead of focusing too precisely.

If you like the idea of a heat pump, great, but think about efficient underfloor heating and low flow temperature radiators to maximise their full efficiency. Consider also the electricity supply to the home and ask “is it capable of coping with this new appliance” as it has caught many out in the past.

With government subsidies abound take a real look at the financial implications of renewable technology and discover if all the other financial benefits warrant the initial money spent.

Micro-generation

Onsite power generation using solar panels is now easier than ever and should be strongly considered in any new build or retrofit project. Prices are cheap, government subsidies are still available for a 20-year duration and you get electricity for free during the day!

Solar panels or a wind turbine may make a lasting impact on your electricity bills for many years to come.

Water use

Last but not least, one topic that often gets forgotten during home renovation or construction is water usage, yet savings here can have a profound effect on the running costs of the property.

Rainwater harvesting and grey water harvesting requires little extra investment in the construction of a new home yet both make complete sense.

All of these elements of course add to the initial capital cost of a build or renovation and it is so tempting to let important aspects of the energy efficient scheme slip. Make sure you prioritise you key aspects of the system and identify which ones can go first if required without compromising the lasting integrity of the overall scheme.

Doug Johnson

Doug is a chartered mechanical engineer and has had the pleasure of being involved in the UK renewable sector since 2008. With wide-ranging operational and design experience in both the domestic and commercial sectors across a wide range of recognised technologies he hopes to be able to share his experience to help enlighten and save you hassle along the way.