Green Building – Apr 2008

It’s extension time at Lands End Farm House! With so many of our friends having growing families and living so far away, another bedroom will be very useful when they all stay over.

This raises a whole new range of challenges when considering the environment, especially with a 200 year old house. Finding environmentally sympathetic and experienced architects and builders is a good start. Current building regulations require a good level of insulation which is encouraging. However as a nation we are still a long way from zero carbon building practices despite it being a government target. At the planning stage the odds are stacked against being able to produce a truly sustainable house. Is it right that our island will be full of pseudo Somerset farmhouse style properties while the sea is lapping on the shores of Heath House, Blackford and Wedmore?

The difficulty is measurement. How much CO2 is emitted for one bag of cement or one floor joist? If you have a Photovoltaic Solar Panel, how many years of use does it take to pay back the environmental cost of producing it? By following the steps below we hope to reduce the impact of our small build;

  1. Using a local builder who is sympathetic to the planet
  2. Using local materials wherever possible
  3. Recycling as many of the building materials as possible, any that we can’t then we’ll put them on the Freecycle website
  4. Hopefully we won’t use a skip, eliminating landfill waste
  5. Insulate more then the building regulations
  6. Install renewable energy devices such as solar photovoltaic cells
  7. Investigate rain water harvesting
  8. Reducing cement usage.
  9. Using FSC sustainable timber

If you want help with your build you can contact local organisations such as Green Wedmore for help.