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

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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 environmentally-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. 

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