Around 20,000 people self-build their own homes every year, and its estimated that one in every four detached homes built in the UK is a self-build.
But with the effects of global warming, such as increased flooding, being felt increasingly in the UK and around the world, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society is launching a competition to raise awareness of how homes can be built in a more environmentally responsible way.
N&Ps competition is open to all home owners who have undertaken a self-build that is kinder to the environment. The winner will be the entrant whose property has, in the opinion of the judges, a most positive impact on the environment. The self-builder that has made environmentally friendly features a priority in their new home could win the 5,000 prize.
The green mortgage lender suggest several energy-efficient features that can be incorporated into a brand new home, such as building on a brownfield site rather than virgin countryside. Self-builders could also install water recycling systems that reuse household water, super-efficient insulation and double-glazing, or energy-saving central heating and water heating systems.
Last years winners, Paul Gladman (a designer and developer) and Kerry Medhurst (his partner/business partner) made environmentally friendly features a priority in their new home in Danbury, Essex, where they live with children Briony and Harrison. They describe their five bedroom, two storey home as a stunning and spectacular house, which has no adverse impact on the environment due to its unique build system.
Graham Wood, managing director of N&Ps surveying arm Hockleys, and one of the judges of the competition, says: “This house, which Paul and Kerry designed themselves, took just 65 days to construct. The property has solar heating, a rainwater recovery pond and zero CO2 emissions. All the materials that went into its construction are from sustainable resources and its a very attractive home.
“The competitions aim is to raise awareness that making homes more energy-efficient is really an option for everyone, from major developers to the individual. Making homes energy efficient saves people money and helps the environment everyone wins.”
N&P has offered green mortgages since 1998. Today, for every green mortgage taken out, N&P plants 40 trees which “off-set” the equivalent of an average propertys harmful greenhouse emissions for five years.
The planting is arranged by Future Forests, which was formed in 1989 to raise awareness of how forests mitigate the build-up of CO2. It does this by planting and maintaining forests, measuring carbon uptake, and developing carbon management programmes.