Green building in the Cotswolds: 5 reasons why you should build an eco home
PUBLISHED: 13:04 11 April 2016 | UPDATED: 13:30 11 April 2016
Bruno Klomfar Vienna Austria
Self building an eco home in the Cotswolds could be more than a distant dream once you learn the benefits of sustainable building and how to integrate these ideas into your new house. Here are five reasons to opt for green construction over traditional designs
Planning on self-building the home of your dreams? Before getting knee deep in the groundwork, it’s worth considering a carbon neutral build created with sustainable materials from the start, which can offer important benefits to your new living space.
Expert home builder Andy Lewis at Sylva explains why eco homes are proving particularly popular in the area.
“In the Cotswolds there is a certain vernacular with Cotswold stone, and our homes can be designed to fit in entirely within the local surroundings to suit the environment.
“Green buildings are carbon neutral and built with sustainable materials. Insulation is made from natural materials rather than oil based derivatives and the standard is about low energy consumption and renewable energy throughout,” Andy adds.
He offers us his advice on why building an eco home is a wise move.
1. Low environmental impact
“Most buildings we produce have low energy consumption, and eco homes differ from traditional builds due to materials used and technologies installed at the beginning of the build.
“For instance, concrete which is normally used would be classed as carbon intensive as the materials aren’t renewable. When it comes to sustainable materials, timber is the ultimate renewable resource and forms the main structural elements in a timber frame build.
“People have expressed an interest in the Passiv Haus standard which refers to low energy consumption, therefore, thermal performance and air tightness are of paramount importance. All Sylva homes are designed with low energy and high performance in mind,” says Andy.
2. Running costs
“Running costs can be reduced with insulation and wall systems that use natural, sustainable materials rather than oil based derivatives,” Andy says. “Opt for wood fibre quilt for example, over rigid foam insulation.
“Natural and sustainable materials can be affordable, readily available and are easily incorporated into a Sylva eco build,” he adds.
3. Renewable technologies
“Eco builds usually incorporate a form of solar panel, rain water harvesting, mechanical ventilation, heat recovery and heat pumps.
“The structure is bespoke rather than something that is produced in large numbers by builders, and by using thermally efficient fabric, the running costs will be very low.”
4. Plan your own build
“The benefit of planning your own home is that the living space is totally designed to your lifestyle,” Andy explains. “All of our projects are individual, as the case studies on our website show, with a wide range of architectural designs to suit all requirements.
“There are two main routes that people usually take when working with us, the first being when the client already has an architectural design and we produce a timber frame structure to suit.
“The second is when a client is in the early stages of their project and they’ve found a potential plot. We’ll then work with the client to understand their requirements and create a design from first principles. We work with the client on all aspects of the form and function of their new home, keeping in mind the requirements of the local planning authority.”
5. Choose a unique location
“Another benefit of building a sustainable home in the Cotswolds is that you’ll have access to some locations that may not otherwise be available to you,” adds Andy. “Overall costs when finished are usually significantly lower than buying a house off the market.
“Once you’ve identified a potential plot, it’s a good time to talk to us about how your new home could be designed to suit the piece of land and incorporate all of the things you’ve always wanted.”