About Eco Homes
This page covers various topics regarding the subject of eco homes. It includes their construction, guidelines for eco-friendly homes, as well as benefits for various stakeholders that can benefit from an increased amount of eco homes.
What Are Eco Homes?
The concept of eco homes refers to an environmental rating scheme in the UK, and is has been put into commercial practice in the form of several different versions from the year 2000 until 2006. As of 2007, it has been replaced by a new scheme titled the Code of Sustainable Homes. This code, which is the process of certification for the performance pf homes throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, compiles the key aspects of the eco homes scheme (including the major characteristics and implementations), as well as the benefits from each scheme – which can be used parallel to each other.
The rating scheme Eco Homes, implemented by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), was first developed and released in 2000 and since then it has gone through three revisions, leading to a total of four different versions:
The rating scheme that was used by eco homes was implemented by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), and was first developed and released in 2000. Since then, it has gone through three revisions, which led to a total of four different revisions, as seen below:
- Eco Homes Pre-2002
- Eco Homes 2003
- Eco Homes 2005
- Eco Homes 2006
Due to the major revisions that were made in each of these eco homes schemes, it is not possible to compare homes that have been built under different versions, as the standard that had to be achieved differs considerably in each version.
The Code for Sustainable Homes was officially launched in December 2006, and it replaced the eco homes scheme as an assessment method for new homes in Northern Ireland, Wales, and England. It also complements the Energy Performance Certificates for new households.
The Building Research Establishment, which initially developed the eco homes scheme, now also managed the technical content of the new code’s standards on behalf of the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). It also has some broader responsibilities.
How Does the Eco Homes Assessment Work?
The eco homes scheme awards new homes with ratings from 1 to 6, which are based on their performance in nine criteria that relate to sustainability. When combined, these criteria assess the environmental impact of the house. A rating of 1 refers to a level above the very basic and regular building standards. A rating of 6 is the highest possible, and states that the building is a superior development in terms of sustainability.
The nine sustainability criteria for the eco homes and the Code for Sustainable Home are:
- Energy and CO2 Emissions
- Water: Internal and external water savings
- Materials: Sourcing and environmental impact of the materials used for building
- Surface: Water run-off
- Waste: Reducing, reusing or recycling of construction materials
- Pollution: Using insulation materials and heating systems without adding to global warming
- Health and Well-Being: Good daylight quality, sound insulation, private space, adaptability and accessibility
- Management: Home User Guide
- Ecology: Protecting and enhancing the ecology of the area
Although it is voluntary, the eco homes scheme encourages home builders to follow the principles that are set out within it, and the Code for Sustainable Homes has plans to make this a mandatory feature for builders in the near future. This is great news for the environment.
How Can I Turn My House into an Eco Home?
The requirements for your home to be considered an eco-home are actually quite demanding. Unfortunately, not everyone currently has the funds to build a house that meets the set requirements. However, there are a few things that everyone can do in order to make their homes a little more environmentally friendly. Small changes and improvements help towards the big picture, even if they won’t be recognised officially by the eco home scheme.
Insulate Your Home
Make sure that the insulation in your walls and windows is up to standard, and that if it needs replacing or improvement that you get it done. Insulation helps to reduce heating costs for your home.
Use Low Wattage Lightbulbs
Low wattage light bulbs, or eco-friendly lightbulbs as they are sometimes called, use a lot less energy and are just as bright as regular ones. They can take a couple of minutes to warm up, but they are far more energy efficient.
Use Motion Sensor Lightbulbs
Alternatively, you can use motion sensor light bulbs. It’s essential to turn off your lights when you are not in the room, but so many of us forget at some point. With motion sensor light bulbs, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting again.
Update Your Appliances
New fridges, ovens, and other appliances, tend to have been designed to be more environmentally friendly. So, if you have old appliances, it might be worth getting them recycled and buying yourself some new, energy efficient ones. That way you save on energy, and also help save the planet.
Install Skylights in the Roof
Allowing more natural sunlight to get into your home will render the usage of artificial light unnecessary in many situations, therefore saving a lot of energy.
Skylights not only look great, but they also help to brighten your home. The natural light pouring in will mean that you won’t have to use as much artificial light in order to see clearly. This can end up saving you a lot of energy.
Invest in Renewable Energies
By investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, you can provide your home with energy, essentially, for free. This happens after the initial cost of investment, of course. Or you can use one of the many government schemes available.
What Are the Benefits of Eco Homes?
Eco Homes have several benefits, both for home builders, consumers, and of course the environment. The benefits of Eco Homes for different groups of stakeholders will be explained in more detail below.
There are several benefits that come with having an eco-home, and these are for both the builders and consumers – as well as the environment. The benefit of eco homes for different groups of stakeholders is explained in detail below.
Benefits of Eco Homes for Home Builders
- Credibility and Increased Reputation
Those who are constructing eco home often receive excellent press and positive attention on social media (a hugely important business tool) for the efforts in protecting the environment. Eco homes also demonstrate how sustainable the houses are in terms of their design and construction, setting those who build them apart from the competition.
- Flexibility and Innovation
Although the eco homes scheme measures the performance level for different categories, it does not set any rules for how this needs to be achieved. It leaves space for the builders to be creative and innovative so that they can come up with clever and cost-effective solutions to meet, or even exceed, the requirements set by the scheme.
Benefits of Eco Homes for Consumers
- Improved Decision-Making
The ratings on eco homes give valuable information to consumers. This often makes it a lot easier for them to make decisions.
- Reduced Carbon Footprint
Sustainable eco homes are effective when it comes to reducing the carbon footprint of their occupants, as well as their effect on the environment. At the same time, it also works to encourage more and more home builders so that they can focus on building eco-homes.
- Reduced Costs
Eco homes have been built to be energy efficient when it comes to things like electricity and water. This then reduces the costs for consumers.
- Improved Well-Being
Eco homes also provide a more pleasant atmosphere, as well as a healthy place for people to live.
Benefits of Eco Homes for the Environment
- Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions
By focussing on renewable energies, eco homes are able to help reduce the ongoing threat of climate change and global warming.
- Reduced Impact on the Environment in General
Eco homes also promote the use of materials that are less harmful to the environment and also create less pollution, to name a few. As a result, eco-homes have a 100% green approach when it comes to global warming.
Building Eco Homes
If you are looking to build an eco-home, or simply make your current one environmentally friendly, you can make good use of the form on this page. Simply fill it out (it only takes a moment) and we will get back to you with a number of trusted suppliers that can help you through your eco-home ideas. The service is free, fast, and obligation free.