Grand Designs TV Houses

by Gemma Parkes

December 04, 2017

RIBA House of the Year 2017: 7 of the most inspiring houses

From a hand built barn to a castle-like clifftop vista, this selection of projects longlisted for the RIBA House of the Year will inspire your…

From choosing eco friendly materials to buying the most efficient windows, read on for top sustainable house design ideas.

 eco build house blue sky self build grand designs

Image credit: Darren Chung

Whether you want to build a low-energy, sustainable home or renovate your existing property to enhance its eco credentials, you’ll need expert advice to set you on the right track. We've rounded up five enviromentally-friendly building tips to consider. 

Why build an eco friendly house? 

The benefits of creating an eco friendly and efficient home include lower fuel bills, a healthy living space and having a positive impact on the environment. But creating a sustainable home isn’t simply about introducing add-on renewable technology, it’s important to consider the fabric of your build as well. 

Eco friendly building materials

Sustainably sourced timber, blockwork, brick and pre-fabricated systems, which are made off-site in a factory are all viable options to consider. Dense materials such as brick and concrete offer high levels of thermal mass, so that during the day they absorb and store heat while at night the heat is slowly released, keeping your home at a comfortable temperature. For the best of both worlds, many prefabricated timber builds can be clad with blockwork or brick. Interior elements such as a polished concrete floor will offer similar benefits of warmth.

A heat efficient house

Measures you can take to further ensure the thermal efficiency of your build range from using a good level of insulation, installing high performance windows and doors, and fitting a Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) system. MVHR warms fresh air with the heat of the stale air that it expels.

Choose green building materials

Eco-friendly insulating materials include materials such as sheep’s wool, cellulose (recycled newspaper) or wood fibre. These can be reused and recycled and are fully biodegradable.

Consider triple glazed glass

When it comes to thermally efficient windows and doors triple-glazed is the Passivhaus standard but good-quality, double-glazed designs also offer high performance. 

Your aim is to achieve a well-insulated, airtight house, which will be dependent on the efficiency of the components and materials used, along with workmanship of the highest quality.

For more expert advice on eco-friendly home building ideas, get up to £10 off tickets for Grand Designs Live Birmingham, exclusively for Grand Designs Magazine readers, where you'll find the latest developments in sustainability and eco-technology. 

Kevin McCloud on how our homes give us the chance to reflect and have new experiences

Our editor-at-large ponders how our homes can give us a chance to reflect and have new experiences.
how-our-homes-give-us-the-chance-to-reflect-and-have-new-experiences
5-eco-friendly-home-building-ideas-from-experts
Self Build Homes

5 eco friendly home building ideas

Are you looking to build a house that is also environment friendly? Check out Grand Designs Magazine's editor's eco-friendly house build ideas.
new-build-by-the-sea-in-donegal-ireland
Self Build Homes

New build by the sea in Donegal, Ireland

In an inspirational coastal setting, this contemporary take on a traditional Irish home was designed to embrace its surroundings and be a sociable space for...
contemporary-eco-new-build-home-in-denmark
Self Build Homes

Contemporary eco new build home in Denmark

The design of Rasmus and Lene’s Danish home connects with its woodland setting, making it a natural winner.
george-clarke-on-why-britain-should-be-a-nation-of-self-builders
Self Build Homes

George Clarke on why Britain should be a nation of self-builders

The architect and presenter of Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces and The Restoration Man shares his latest tips and ideas.
case-study-hi-tech-contemporary-kitchen
Self Build Homes

Case study: Hi-tech contemporary kitchen

Hi-tech appliances combine with contemporary style in this new-build family home in West London.
stunning-demolition-new-build-in-north-london-by-facit-homes
Self Build Homes

Stunning demolition/new build in North London by Facit Homes

With Anya, Robin and their 4 boys fast outgrowing their house in North London, in order to stay in the area that was ideal for...