The term sustainable housing has beenbandied about alot during the past 10 years and is now pretty much
part of the property industry’s vocabulary.
Whilst the term
is now a well-recognised one, you could be forgiven for not being
clear on its meaning and purpose. Exactly what is it and why should
we all be interested in finding out?
Here, we take a good look
at sustainable housing, identify its aims and objects and discover if
it will shape the future of property building and buying in the
What Is It
In short, sustainable housing
simply refers to property with a minimal carbon footprint.
idea is simple; to create houses
that combine contemporary technology
with natural materials and renewable fuel sources.
What’s the Point
The idea behind the whole concept is to create carbon neutral
property. Basically, sustainable housing is as close as you can
currently get to total energy efficiency. It’s certainly no secret
that natural resources are fast disappearing.
Sustainable Housing Designs
These are reportedly increasing in popularity at a significant
rate. Supporters of sustainable housing are keen to point out that
the concept is no flash in the pan passing fad. As the government
takes steps to make the Green Investment Bank a reality, the signs do
point towards a trend towards more carbon friendly house building
Eco-friendly methods of construction and materials
used are the key to sustainable housing designs. The idea is to
design properties in a way that reduces our dependence on fossil
Sustainable Housing Qualities
So, how do you spot a property of this type? What are the features
that define them as sustainable?
Properties are constructed to
make maximum use of natural light throughout the entire interior. The
use of pergola roofing, sky lights and courtyards help to maximise
sunlight as does the positioning of doors and windows. The natural
flow of air is another construction consideration taken into account
during the design and building process. Adequate ventilation is also
The materials used in construction instantly mark
out sustainable housing from ‘normal’ housing. They are
non-toxic and have less of an impact on the environment. Commonly
used materials for eco-friendly houses include bamboo and clay. Other
materials used such as steel, wood, tiles and bricks are recycled to
reduce the risk of environmental impact.Driveways are generally
created using gravel, which can reduce rainwater run-off.
Fuelling Sustainable Housing
When it comes to energy sources for sustainable housing, the
accepted wisdom is to take a long-term view. Solar panels aren’t
exactly cheap to install and geothermal energy requires pumps to be
laid in the garden but the idea is to save money on bills in the long
term. It’s no quick fix that will save money in 6 or even 12
months. The idea is to take save in terms of years, not months.
truth, sustainable housing is nothing new. It simply marks a possible
return to the way our ancestors used to build. Whether it’s the
future of the residential property construction industry remains to