8 tips for building an eco-friendly home
If you're planning a self-build home, ensure your design is future-proofed by integrating these sustainable features into your project
If you dream of building your own home, these eco innovations will not only minimise the impact of your building project on the planet, they also serve to make your home more resilient in the face of future challenges.
Just keep reading to discover eight eco-friendly features to consider for a self-build home, as well as our recommendations for suppliers to explore. For more eco ideas, check out our guide to keeping your renovation green - and for small-scale improvements you can make in your home right now, don't miss out our eco-friendly home tips.
Sustainable home renovations: 10 ideas for eco-friendly improvements
Opt for sustainable flooring
Do your research when it comes to flooring, as there are plenty of eco-friendly options that don't compromise on style. We love the Colour Flooring Company’s Corka range is made from the bark of Portuguese oak trees and is only harvested once every nine years. Corka is carbon negative as it removes more carbon dioxide from the air than is used in its manufacture. Choose from seven designs for a stylish cork floor that’s planet-friendly.
Insulate using recycled materials
If you’re looking to improve your home’s eco credentials, good insulation is a must. Check out Supasoft – an itch-free, cost-effective and easy-to-install insulation made from recycled plastic bottles. An average of 12,000 bottles produces enough Supasoft to insulate a typical loft. It costs around £37 per pack (containing enough to cover 5.85 per sq m) from Natural Insulations.
Embrace hydrogen heating
Hydrogen is likely to be one of the main fuels used to heat our homes in the future. A hydrogen-ready boiler is intended to provide a like-for-like replacement of an existing boiler, and can run on natural gas until hydrogen becomes available in the next decade or so. They’re not available yet but it’s expected that all new boilers installed in the UK from 2025 will have to be hydrogen-ready. Worcester Bosch is one of the brands pioneering hydrogen boilers.
Consider alternative heating solutions
A computer-controlled infrared (CCIR) heating system is a great low-carbon alternative to a traditional heating system. It’s more effective because it heats the materials within a room, rather than the air, and uses fewer units of energy. Prices vary depending on the type of property and existing heating setup, but for a typical two-bedroom house, a CCIR heating system from Ambion Heating should cost around £5,000.
You might also want to explore the possibility of installing a heat pump as another environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional central heating.
Harness solar power in style
Although more expensive than solar panels, solar tiles could be a great alternative if you’re building or renovating a roof. They function similarly to solar panels, but their smaller size is designed to replicate the look of traditional roof tiles, so they blend in more seamlessly. Solecco’s tiles create a clean, contemporary finish and generate energy to power your home efficiently. Visit soleccosolar.com for a quote.
Choose recyclable aluminium
Aluminium is a greener option for a kitchen splashback. AluSplash panels are made from recycled aluminium that can be recycled again, should you ever need a replacement. There are various designs available, including the Elements collection, which has chic matt-finish panels.
Switch window dressings
A huge amount of the heat from your home can be lost through doors and windows, but choosing the right window dressings could make a big difference. For instance, made-to-measure thermal roller blinds or solar reflective blinds will both help to reduce heat loss.
Future-proof your driveway
Electric vehicles are undoubtedly going to become a far more common sight on the road as we shift away from fossil fuels, so an EV chargepoint is a great investment for any self-build. Check if you’re eligible for the Government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles EV chargepoint grant – you could receive up to 75 per cent towards the purchase and installation of an electric vehicle charging point.
Lisa Hibberd is an experience freelance journalist specialising in interiors