Sustainable living

Having observed the scale of new housing developments in our area, we ask the question; are any of the new builds “Green”?

The majority of the houses are hastily constructed using bricks, with seemingly no intention of roofs fitted with solar panels. We dare hypothesize that ceiling, walls and floor insulation is bare minimum. In this day of age, it is sad to see houses still being built in this way.

We would like to see a more holistic approach in our area, institutionalising the urgency for environmentally sustainable, green housing.

Let us look at the possibilities:

  • Installation of south facing solar Photovoltaic” systems to convert sunlight into electrical energy
  • Utilising a fully insulated building envelope within the build to conserve heat
  • Using methods to harness geothermal (ground source and heat sink) energy for heating
  • Installation of biomass (pellets and logs) burners for heating
  • Using air source heat pumps in conjunction with underfloor heating for home heating
  • Small wind energy systems (turbines) to generate electrical energy could also be possible.

Our philosophy is – Fossil fuels such as oil, coal and LPG should remain deep underground!

Some advantages behind using renewables are:

  1. They are cleaner and safer for the environment and our human health.
  2. They are sustainable – they provide a ubiquitous supply of power every day.
  3. In the long run, they save money and it is possible to sell excess energy back to utility providers.
  4. The Renewable Heat Incentive is a government grant that gives homeowners quarterly payments for 7 years on installation of renewable technologies.

As well as heating and electricity, there are some other Green concepts to consider:

  • Where accessible, using sustainable, possibly local materials in new builds
  • Landscaping an external space, using native plants attractive to pollinating insects, with biodiversity a forefront of planning
  • Creating a system of rainwater harvesting and storage for domestic use as well as incorporating engineered approaches within the build
  • Composting solutions, green roofs, charging points for electric cars . . . . . . . . and lots more ideas

So, in conclusion, we ask – Why aren’t any of these methods being practiced by companies when building new homes?

We need answers and action, not profits.

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