Architecture and construction have changed their practices to make them more sustainable over recent years. This change has been a long time coming, but it is still a welcome one. Your home extension project will, therefore, if hiring external services like these, be more eco-centered than ever before. Even if you opt to do most of the work yourself, there are plenty of ways to make a project like this more sustainable. This guide explores the primary pointers.
Protect the Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the collective noun for every part of nature found in a particular area. It refers to animals, plants, trees, water sources, and microorganisms too. There has been a clear focus on protecting it in recent times, and the biodiversity net gain is a predominant policy currently imposed on construction projects. It dictates that once a project is complete, the natural area must be improved as well instead of destroyed or harmed in any way. Therefore, it has to be a part of the planning process in order to get plans approved. So, how do you protect the biodiversity of a building plot?
Rewilding is allowing a space that has been modified or urbanised to be reclaimed by nature and away from human interference. The benefits of rewilding are multiple.
- Enables the re-integration of species that may have been exiled owing to building works.
- Adds to the biodiversity of any space.
- Supports the bees.
The process itself is easy enough to complete, for example, you can begin by doing absolutely nothing and taking a step back to see what happens. Monitor the progress and ensure that everything is needed is there, by doing your research beforehand. Try not to interfere unless a species is at risk of danger from external predators, in which case there will be measures you can take to protect them such as building a protective habitat.
A primary focus of rewilding initiatives is to re-integrate and better support species that may have been unnaturally removed from their usual habitats. Bats are a prime example and are dangerously close to extinction, hence their protected status. So to rewild an area to encourage a safe space for bats:
- Try to remove any artificial light sources, which can deter natural hunting patterns (bats prefer total darkness or the twilight hours).
- Further to this, build a bat house and provide a water source and even a little tempting snack.
- Sow some bat-specific flower seeds into the rewilded area, and try to make sure there is a tree or similar.
- Keep your cats and dogs away, as this can frighten the bats and act as a major deterrent.
Before you go ahead with your extension project, you may need to conduct a bat emergence survey, as there is a legal penalty for wrongfully interfering with an established colony. This should be carried out by a professional company, like the one linked below. Aside from bat surveys, this company provides an extensive pool of resources and information, alongside expert survey services to keep construction running smoothly. You can see Arbtechs services here, alongside lots of helpful information.
Move Towards Renewable Energy
The initial cost of converting a home’s energy source into a renewable model can often be high. The benefits in the long run, however, are invaluable. So an extension is an ideal place to start, as it is a smaller section of the property, which is a completely blank slate opportunity to implement more sustainable practices. Try something simple like installing solar panels onto the exterior of the extension, to harness the power of the sun. If you have a bit more space at your disposal, wind energy is also just as viable and can create a clean, green source of energy to power whole houses including appliances, lights, and other electrical outlets.
Focus On Installing Insulation
Insulation is ideal for extensions, as it can show you the benefits on a smaller scale to inspire the large-scale implementation further down the line. It is a viable method to ensure that heat loss doesn’t happen on an unmanageable scale, save money on energy bills, and provide a more viable method of heat retention during the colder seasons. Insulation can be placed in the walls or the roof, either method is fine and it can be as much or a little as you can afford. There is something to suit every budget range, usually starting at around £200 and ranging up to anywhere near £2500 plus.
Consider the Carbon Cost When Selecting Construction Materials
A carbon cost is not a monetary assessment, it refers to the environmental cost of using a certain material source. Every building project has its own carbon cost, and to offset this in a positive way and reduce the impact of your carbon footprint throughout an extension work, there are several routes you can take:
- Reuse materials that have been broken down from other features in the home. For example, if a wall has been destroyed, or a piece of furniture, do it carefully in a way that preserves the integrity of the source material. That way, it can be reused in the extension if there is a place for it.
- Try to purchase as much eco-friendly building material as possible. Reclaimed lumber, recycled steel, bamboo, and ashcrete are all viable alternatives to more traditional construction supplies.
These two small steps create large change overall. Concrete, for instance, is a cause of global warming and harmful pollution. It is a popular material because it is durable, waterproof, and easy to meld, but the negative attributes are being noticed more frequently. That has led to the creation of alternative resources like green concrete, which draw less from natural resources and have a reduced impact.
Home extensions are an exciting venture that is a product of careful planning and a vision coming to life. But it is worth remembering that there is always value in maintaining a clear focus on positive environmental practices.