Although you might be able to build your house extension without planning permission, you still need to comply with building regulations on (among other things) energy performance.
There’s a good reason for this: the Government wants to see us all living in greener homes, because the average UK household currently emits more carbon than the average UK car.
That means if you are building or extending, it makes sense to go for an eco friendly house design because doing so will save you money.
At Harvey Norman Architects we practice sustainable architecture for greener homes.
So here are our 5 Steps To A Greener Home – and an eco friendly house extension.
1. Start here: do the simple things first
Before you start Googling the latest green technologies, start your journey to a greener home by limiting your current use of water, heating, electricity and gas.
Simple things like switching lights off, fixing leaking taps and turning off radiators in rooms you don’t use are obvious places to start. Investing in thermostatic heating controls will benefit you in the long run too.
2. Check the energy ratings of your electrical goods
If your kitchen and other electrical appliances are over 10 years old, it is advisable to think about replacement with more energy efficient models.
As part of its drive for greener homes, The European Union has developed an energy labelling system to help us make an informed choice when buying electrical items.
If your house extension means you’re going to buy a new dishwasher, fridge or oven, check their energy ratings, especially if they’re ‘included’ in your new kitchen price.
3. Install double-glazed windows and doors
It’s almost unthinkable for new builds or house extensions not to have double glazing, and in fact for most people wanting a greener home this is a good starting point.
If you live in – or want to add an extension to – a period or listed property, you’ll need double a glazing solution that combines the aesthetically acceptable with the highly eco-efficient. Ask your architect to specify a suitable make.
4. Insulate wherever you can
Insulating your hot water tank, heating pipes, roof space and wall cavities and draft proofing your external doors are all good routes to a greener home.
When designing your new house extension, your architect should consider insulation as part of building regulations requirements. But you always have the option to exceed the requirements if you want to go a step further towards a greener home.
5. Invest in solar & renewable energy resources
Renewable energy from wind turbines, solar panels and ground source heating is increasingly popular in greener home and eco friendly house design. But beware: rapid development of sustainable technology means that whatever you invest in may quickly be out of date.
Installing renewable energy solutions in your existing home is not as easy as designing them into a new build or house extension, but it’s still well worth considering.
Will renewable technology you save money as well as contributing to a greener home? Almost certainly.
Will your renewable energy investment pay for itself quickly? Almost certainly not.
But don’t be deterred.
Just be sure to choose your renewable technologies carefully according to your circumstances and try to avoid being an ‘early adopter’. If in doubt, always ask your architect for advice.
After all, that’s what we’re here for.