Sustainability has become something of a buzzword over recent years and many of us are keen to address climate change by changing the way we live. As well as changing the way we travel and shop, our homes offer a clear opportunity to reduce our impact. Did you know that 19% of the UK’s carbon emissions result from energy used to heat, cool and operate the buildings we live and work in?
When building and improving our homes, we tend to focus on what can we add to our buildings, such as solar panels, heat pumps and wind turbines. Yet, there is another consideration – how we build our homes from the outset.
Passive strategies for enhanced sustainability
You’re probably aware of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra. Recycling is good, reusing is better and reducing what we use is better still. Sustainability follows a similar hierarchy. Before investing in renewable technology to provide sustainable power sources, think about how you can design your house to use less energy.
A prime opportunity for new builds is to consider the building’s orientation. How does it sit in relation to the sun? This impacts how that building performs in what’s known as passive solar gain. By maximising solar gain in winter and minimising it in the summer, you will use less power to heat and cool your property.
The UK has one of the oldest housing stocks in Europe, limiting what we can achieve – you cannot rotate your home to make better use of the sun! However, better insulation and more efficient windows, doors and skylights improve thermal performance and reduce your home’s power consumption. With these in place, renewable power sources provide a further opportunity to limit your carbon footprint.
Whether your project is a new build, renovation or extension, considering passive strategies from the outset will deliver the best results. As architects, Nye Saunders can determine the best opportunities to optimise your home’s sustainability and minimise your carbon footprint. Get in touch for a free consultation. We’d be delighted to design your sustainable dream home.