Sustainable housing – How to build more sustainable properties
Sustainability has become the key buzzword of the last few years as the pandemic has forced us all to look inwards and review our wasteful ways. For the property market, the trend has never been more apt, with the property market contributing a significant portion of the globe’s carbon footprint. Indeed, construction is comfortably the sector with the largest carbon footprint, bar none.
With the eyes of the populace turning to the sector to do something about it, sustainability has become a key factor in whether or not people choose to invest in the property market. Sustainability, after all, goes hand-in-hand with efficiency and efficiency means profit. But what are the elements that make a property more sustainable and what should businesses be doing to propagate a more sustainable future?
To create an energy efficient property, insulation is arguably the key element. It’s why there has been such a call for an increase in insulation across the UK in recent months and is perhaps the most significant single thing that can be done to improve property sustainability. Roof and wall insulation increase the energy efficiency of the property by keeping heat inside for longer. If you use insulation with decent acoustic properties, it will also add an element of soundproofing to your home.
There are many different materials used in property construction, some are far more sustainable than others such as using timber over hardwoods like mahogany, make sure to use more sustainable materials. Of course, there are always going to be outside sources to factor into what materials you choose but, generally speaking, sustainable materials will be just as cost-effective as more unsustainable alternatives.
There has been a notable shift in recent years towards using more renewable energy in green buildings. You can install solar panels on the roof of properties to allow them to generate their own solar energy and rely less on fossil fuels from the main grid. You can also take any extraneous energy you’ve generated and well it back to the grid for a tidy profit. And every little helps right now.
Make sure that the building is properly airtight. Any draughts or air gaps will seriously decrease the energy efficiency of the property so always factor potential gaps into your construction. Of course, ventilation is also important but the true key to mastering sustainable construction is finding the right balance between the two.
Finally, always remember to make use of the most valuable free resource we have – the sun! Use smart placement of windows and skylights to maximise the amount of natural light that will filter into the property and always ensure the front of the house is facing the direction that gets the most natural sunlight throughout the day.
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