ELLA HENDRIX FEBRUARY 4, 2020
Over in Britain today, they’re in the middle of a housing crisis. With a massive shortfall of affordable homes around the UK, a rising population and unpredictable economic output, it can be tricky for people who are trying to get on the housing ladder or even afford to rent in Britain at the moment.
We are also facing challenging times in terms of the planet and the climate crisis and must be conscious of the effect that we are having on the environment in everything that we do – including the provision of more housing. It can be difficult to balance these two important issues but it is vital that we do so as a society.
Technology a better understanding is helping us to create solutions to sustainable living, and here are some options that you have if you are looking to use your property to aid your quest for a greener life.
Storage Container Homes
Storage container homes have been rising in popularity for about the last 20 years. They consist of metal shipping containers that have been customised to allow for comfortable living, with water and energy sources installed, windows fitted and the walls fully insulated to stop the heat from escaping. They can also be bought and adapted at a fraction of the price of a bricks and mortar house.
When you buy a storage container you will know that it has been built to withstand extreme weather (it was, after all, built to be shipped around the world, protecting its cargo), and due to its uniform shape and sizes, can be stacked and joined on to other storage container to create the house with the size and shape that you want.
Storage container homes can be well insulated, fitted with solar panels and are also moveable, meaning that they are an excellent option for sustainable living.
Use Local or Surplus Materials
If you are planning on constructing your new home – or, indeed, adding to or changing your existing home, you should try to use both local and surplus materials. Of course, the use of local materials (such as stone or wood) will drastically reduce the carbon footprint of your home, as well as often help to support local businesses.
Another option that you have is to try to source surplus materials for your construction work. You can do this by talking to local builders and suppliers and helping to cut down on their wastage by taking it off their hands – and this will often save you money as well.
Building a home from natural materials used to be something that you only ever saw on Grand Designs, but today it is becoming increasingly straightforward thanks to the general population having a greater consciousness about the environment.
Some people are creating their well-insulated home from bags of earth or other natural materials. Stone and wood are becoming increasingly popular – both looking great and being good for the environment as long as they are sourced ethically and locally, and the use of natural insulation such as hemp, wool or straw is also rising in popularity.
Not all of us are in a position where we are able to build or buy a new sustainable home. Although there are now regulations that must be met by new build housebuilders, that can help to cut down on the wastage of energy and help us to become greener as a society, most people live in older properties which perhaps don’t have these energy (and often, money) saving measures already built-in.
The use of technology can make a big difference ensuring that you have a greener home. Some examples of what you can do are:
- Fit solar panels or wind turbines to create more renewable energy
- Insulate your home well (cavity or outside walls, lofts, floors)
- Double or triple glaze your windows
- Use reclaimed materials and eco-paint for decoration
- Use low energy, smart appliances which lower the amount of energy that you are using to perform certain tasks
- Ensure that your boiler is working properly
- Fitting a smart thermostat to ensure that your home is heated only when you are there – and only the part that you are in
- Get energy-efficient, smart lighting
- Add a rainwater harvesting system
Ensuring that we have enough ‘green’ housing is important in Britain – and around the world in 2020, and to be able to do this, we need the help of better technology and innovative solutions. It is true to say that we are still only near the beginning of our journey to a more sustainable world, but there is already plenty that can be done.