What you can do to your home to keep it as sustainable as possible, without sacrificing style and aesthetic.
What is sustainability within the home and why is it important?
A sustainable home is a home that is built or retrofitted to run efficiently, respects resources, optimizes energy and water usage and uses quality systems with longevity in mind. Sustainable homes use low-impact, high-performance materials, are efficient in terms of manufacturing, shipping, and installing and by using high-quality materials and systems that break less and last longer, they therefore waste less.
By making your home more sustainable, you are contributing to improving the environment. But that is not all. A sustainable home can lower running costs, save energy, water, and maintenance, create a healthier environment for your family, and still look good at the same time.
Knowles regularly look at ways to make the build of a home sustainable, not only during the construction process, but for the long terms too. Most of Knowles’ projects feature sustainable elements such as Ground Source Heat Pumps and High-Performance Windows, as these provide beneficial features that clients want to see!
Ways you can make your home more sustainable:
Use reclaimed wood and brick
Materials such as wood and brick can be salvaged from the remains of old buildings, and then carefully restored and upcycled. Not only is this a great way to keep your project as green as possible but from an aesthetic perspective, reclaimed wood flooring or a reclaimed brick wall can have character and charm, whilst also creating a cost environment, particularly apt for country living.
Passive solar design
Passive Solar Design uses energy from sunlight to aid in heating and cooling your home without using mechanical or electrical equipment. It relies on building materials that absorb, reflect, or transmit the sun’s radiation, whilst inside spaces are designed to facilitate the movement of sun heated air without the use of fans. This can reduce the amount of energy used to heat and cool your home.
High performance windows
Windows account for at least 50% of lost energy. Technologies including double glazing, special coatings, nonconductive framing materials and higher-quality, air-tight construction all result in better energy efficiency.
Steel windows and doors not only look stunning but also provide incredible energy efficiency. The key is to get thermally broken profiles. “Thermally broken profiles use resin isolators inside the steel profile to reduce heat transfer in harsh climates. This innovation is an important factor in steel’s returning popularity,” explains Joy Palmer of FireRock. “Thermally broken profiles also prevent interior condensation in colder weather.”
Good insulation is key in your home energy efficiency. Older homes might need improvements such as foam injections or blown-in attic insulation o to improve insulation of walls, floors, and ceilings, improving the overall efficiency and insulation of the home.
After HVAC systems, appliances are the real energy consumers in your home. When you buy the most energy-efficient options, you dramatically cut the cost of operating. The appliances that tend to consume the most electricity include, refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, air conditioners, clothes dryers, and water heaters. Investing in stainless-steel Energy Star label appliances not only look sleek, but they also guarantee significant energy savings.
Replace fluorescent light bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs which offer longer life, greater energy efficiency and fewer toxic metals.
Technology such as smart thermostats and hybrid heat pumps use less oil and gas and make it easier to track and reduce how much energy you use, and in the long-term you will feel the effect on your monthly bills.
Eco or non-toxic paints emit fewer toxins to reduce indoor air pollution. They are also less toxic to manufacture, so good all round!
Ground Source Heat Pump
Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) use pipes that are buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water in your home. Benefits include lower fuel bills, reduction in your household’s carbon footprint and the ability to heat your home as well as your water! Most new projects by Knowles now feature GSHP’s!