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Green choices to guide self-builds

Having already considered the energy efficiency measures your clients should include in renovation projects, this time let’s look at self-build properties.

Clients should consider the following green measures:

• Insulating the building as much as possible.

• Using passive stack or mechanical ventilation with heat recovery.

• Installing timber framed double-glazing with low E glass.

• Installing a condensing boiler.

• Installing a radiant heating system (usually under-floor heating). Due to the low flow and return temperatures of this type of system, the boiler should always be working in condensing mode, optimising its efficiency.

• Locating the boiler, hot water store and outlets close to each other.

• Ensuring the primary pipework between the boiler and the hot water cylinder is insulated.

• Installing low-energy light bulbs.

• Buying A-rated appliances.

• Installing a solar water heating system or ensuring that the building is solar ready through a south-facing roof with no dormer windows and building a cupboard big enough to house a solar cylinder and its controls.

• Installing solar panels or a wind turbine. When it comes to self-build projects, your cli-ents should be aware that every material in-volved will have had some sort of environmental impact during its manufacture. Some will be more green than others.

So using local, renewable or natural materials and resources wherever possible will mitigate the environmental damage of self-build work. Considerations here include:


• Choosing only zero ozone-depleting materials.

• Minimising the use of products that require lots of chemicals in their production.

• Using materials that have a low embodied en-ergy that don’t pollute during their manufacture, use or disposal.

• Using second-hand materials if possible.

• Using locally grown or Forest Stewardship Council-accredited timber for all woodwork.

• Using durable timber species on the outside of the building to reduce the amount of preservatives required.

• Using materials or products that are reclaimed or recycled wherever possible.

• Choosing durable products that have a long lifespan and are low maintenance.

• Avoiding PVC wherever possible.

• Sourcing materials from manufacturers with a proven environmental management record that can supply environmental and health data.

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