Only a decade ago self builders were seen as out of the ordinary but since television programmes have made the nation obsessed about building and property issues it is a lot more glamorous telling people that you are building your own home. Alternatives to bricks and mortar are becoming in vogue such as timber framed houses and today’s self builders are willing to give anything a try.
Around 20,000 British people build their own homes each year for many different reasons. At present homes consume 30% of all energy used in the UK so when building a home sustainability is always a high priority. Don’t forget about the savings that you can make in terms of energy use too.
Many self builders answer when asked that low running costs and how green their home is was the main reason for building their own home. However there is still a lot of snobbery in self building, the wealthy have always liked to show off with their grand designs and the eco issue has emphasised this very point. In some houses it is not unusual to see complete walls made of glass and only top quality seasoned wood being used. However there are others that simply want to build a normal family home but include solar panels and a thatched roof.
Green solutions is something that a lot of self builders and developers are looking for, especially as the Government is trying to get all new builds being zero carbon by 2016. It seems that the number one priority is energy saving such as through more breathable but more airtight insulation on individual builds as well as housing estates.
Both eco-friendly and traditional builds look the same from the outside but the difference is in the amount of carbon that is emitted. A typical new build will pump out around 25 to 30 tonnes of carbon every year but a 1930’s traditional build house will pump out a massive 500 tonnes per year. The things that make this huge difference are the things that you cannot see, cavity wall and loft insulation and superior draught-proofed doors and windows. A more efficient boiler can also make all the difference. Greener technology can typically save you around 550 per year on energy bills.
Big volume house builders are beginning to invest heavily in energy-saving technology but some home owners will never know the green living way of life. Barratt have developed the country’s first large scale zero carbon development in Bristol called Hanham Hall and it allows more people the opportunity to live a greener way. However although this is thought of as the ideal and for the majority of developments it will not make economic sense.
Everyone can do their own little bit even if they cannot afford to self build their own green home. Energy saving light bulbs have been around for ages but heat pumps are becoming more popular although they cost between 2,000 and even 12,000. These will draw warmth from the ground and heat your home but will not make your radiators hot to touch. Solar panels are a great way to heat your home and although photovoltaic cells sound expensive at the higher range of between 16,000 to 22,000 they will pay off in the long term. They return 41p for every 1of energy generated.
Back to self building your dream home, why not try and do a lot of the work yourself. Enlist any builder friends you may have to help you. Self builds are cost around 1,000 per square metre but if you get your hands dirty you really can cut this price by half.