Self-build has been an increasingly popular way of acquiring a home in recent years, with individuals and families with the skills to carry out the task finding exciting ways to save money and put their own design stamp on their dream homes.
What makes a self-built home an ideal place to reside will vary. Some will want an emphasis on space at a time when many new dwellings are derided as ‘rabbit hutches’. Others simply want their design to stand out. But for many builders, the number one priority is making their home as green as possible.
In a month when a developer in Birmingham has announced plans for a whole skyscraper to be carbon neutral, it is clearly something you should be paying attention to as you plan your self-build.
According to Nigel Griffiths, an expert writing for self-build magazine Build It, there are several steps you can take to ensure your home is green. Some of them are very basic: Better heating controls, draught proofing, upgraded glazing, cavity wall insulation, roof insulation, fitting an energy-efficient boiler, floor insulation and, where cavity wall insulation is not an option, solid wall insulation.
These are effective steps you can take whether improving an existing home or constructing one from scratch. However, it is also important to consider your lighting, as this also has a major role to play in affecting your level of energy consumption.
Mr Griffiths noted that LED lighting can make a huge difference when it comes to energy use. These use only around ten per cent of the energy of incandescent bulbs, and still less than halogen and compact fluorescents. While they may cost more, this pays for itself because they last longer.
Of course, when you are designing your dream home, you will want to pay careful attention to the aesthetics as well. That means your interior design will require attractive lighting that fits well with the design.
When it comes to designer ceiling lights, we have several products that can be fitted with either incandescent bulbs or LED lighting.
Indeed, this will also apply with wall lighting and outdoor lighting, helping to ensure you use less electricity.
The amount of energy used by lights may come as a surprise. Standby lights used to be a major factor, using up to 20 per cent of all the world’s electricity until initiatives over the past two decades reduced the typical energy usage to around one watt each. That such small lights should have made an impact is a demonstration of just what an important role more energy-efficient lighting can play.
Building your own home can require a lot of planning and a lot of revisions to those plans. There will be bumps in the road as you try to deal with issues of finance, materials, land acquisition and some unexpected problems.
Ultimately, however, the key to remember is that there need be no conflict between creating a stylish interior with wonderful lighting and making your home a place that helps protect the environment - not to mention keeping your energy bills down.