When builders create a sustainable home, they are conscious of using resources that do not harm the environment. A secondary goal is to equip the home to use water and energy in the most efficient manner possible. While the concept of sustainable housing has existed in developed nations for the past few decades, the push to make them more affordable has only come about in recent years. World leaders, including those in the UK, are realising the benefits of using limited space and resources to create homes for their citizens. Below are several examples of sustainable homes that people of average means can afford.
A Sustainable Home for less than $20,000
Rural Studios, located in Alabama in the United States, set out to prove that it could produce a sustainable home for less than $20,000 and sell it to a first-time home owner. This is quite an accomplishment considering that the average home in Alabama sells for $121,900. The figure included materials, labour, and profit. The finished home was 500 square feet (46.45 metres) and contained one bedroom. Rural Studios built it with high ceilings to promote cross-ventilation and reduce heating and cooling costs. The large overhanging roofs protect the home from sun damage. Construction crews placed doors and windows in strategic places to take advantage of bouncing light.
Australia’s Homes Are Getting Smaller
The typical home in Australia is larger than anywhere else in the world, with the United States coming in a close second. With both the price of land and housing on the rise in Australia, homes with an average size of 241 square metres are no longer realistic. Austin Maynard Architects came up with the solution to construct an environmentally, financially, and socially sustainable apartment building that promotes the benefits of community living. This is something that had been lacking in Australia up to this point.
To serve young and growing families, the Australian Population Council also recommended building small, affordable, and environmentally friendly homes of approximately 65 square metres. Builders in that country have reduced costs by using lightweight construction materials and limiting the number of bedrooms in each new home.
Sustainable and Affordable UK Neighbourhoods
Not content to build just a single sustainable home, several UK construction companies have created entire neighbourhoods of them. The housing association Radian is an industry leader in the UK for having retrofit thousands of homes to improve energy efficiency and lower fuel bills. The retrofits benefitted 44,000 people while reducing C02 emissions by 34 percent.
A project at Cotney Croft and Peartree Way consists of eight new low-carbon homes available for rent. Baily Gardner Architects exceeded Level 5 maintained by the Code for Sustainable Homes when creating this city block of homes. Residents here enjoy lower energy costs than their neighbours living in non-sustainable homes.
Privates residences and apartments on Bearwood Road in Birmingham are built with load-bearing masonry and timbre frames with advanced insulation. BM3 Architects created multiple structures with solar thermal heating capability as well as roof-mounted panels and hot water storage supplementation. The designer of these structures achieved an Eco Homes Very Good Rating.
The demand for sustainable housing is expected to grow as the issues of environmental concerns, land costs, housing costs, and population growth continue to challenge developed nations.