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Green Building - creating an eco-friendly home

Whether you're building a new home or renovating an existing one, it's a good time to think about its environmental impact. Here are some tips to make your home lean and green.

Home orientation

Take advantage of any northern orientation to add natural heating to your home. Provide sun-shading on the eastern, western and northern sides, and keep cross-ventilation in mind for energy efficient cooling in summer.

Insulate your home

Good insulation is essential for reducing energy use when heating and cooling your home.

green building

Energy efficient windows

Standard window glass provides no insulation at all. Installing double glazing or low-emissivity (Low-E) glass will save money and carbon in the long run.

Sustainable water, heating and cooling

Consider installing a rainwater tank, solar hot water system and water efficient showerheads, taps and toilets.

Now is also the time to replace any old heaters, air conditioners, dishwashers and washing machines with modern energy-efficient models.

Low VOC paint

Ensure your paint is marked 'low VOC'. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are carbon-containing chemicals that can cause air pollution and a number of health problems.

Low formaldehyde materials

Only use low formaldehyde MDF (medium density fibreboard) or particleboard. Formaldehyde is a carcinogenic substance that standard particleboard releases over time.

Sustainable timber

Make sure your timber comes from sustainable plantations, not old growth hardwood forests. Look for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo to be sure.

Recycled building materials

Many companies sell recycled hardwood timber, which is environmentally sustainable and looks amazing in your doors and windows

Consider using recycled bricks. This works out significantly cheaper than buying new bricks and will dramatically reduce your home's eco-footprint

Eco-friendly materials

There are a variety of eco-friendly building materials out there, such as mudbrick, rammed earth, Autoclaved Aerated Concrete and strawbale. You can even buy lightweight building panels made from recycled paper!

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