Carbon Neutral Homes: Are They the Future of Construction?
We talk a lot about the problems of plastic and gas-guzzling businesses in the sustainable industry, but there’s one topic that’s causing a lot of issues but going unnoticed: housing. Residential homes are responsible for using almost 30% of global energy and release over 20% of the world’s total carbon emissions. But, there isn’t much action being taken to change that!
If you’re like us and have had enough, it’s time to start looking into carbon-neutral homes. These energy-efficient, eco-saviour houses could be the future of construction and residential living. Let’s take a look.
What Is a Carbon-Neutral Home?
A carbon-neutral house is one that doesn’t add to the world’s global emissions. It commonly refers to how the home is constructed but can also mean that it functions as a carbon neutral property, too, emitting no excess carbon dioxide when lived in.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that no carbon emissions are released at all, but that it’s balanced. For example, your cement foundations may have added to global emissions, but your wooden staircase absorbed more CO2 than it released, making it carbon negative. The two balance each other out to become carbon neutral.
Why Our Need For Carbon-Neutral Housing is So Desperate
There’s no denying that if we want to keep our planet in tip-top shape, we need to stop polluting it at current levels. Really, we need to stop polluting at all! But for now, the world is trying to focus on reducing carbon emissions to more manageable levels.
We’ve already highlighted just how much CO2 residential properties add to the world’s emissions. The way we build and live in houses isn’t sustainable or fit for the future. Our homes are huge climate change contributors, and as we move into a more eco-conscious world, that needs to change on a large scale.
In fact, reducing emissions from built-up areas is known to be one of the best options for slowing the decline of our environment. The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction reported that construction worldwide needs to reduce its emissions by 6% year-on-year until 2030 if we want to stay on track with our climate goals. Creating carbon-neutral homes could be a viable way to make that happen.
Are There Many Carbon-Neutral Builds in Existence?
Currently, carbon-neutral housing isn’t very common. In the UK, the government is pushing through regulations for zero emissions energy in any new buildings from 2025. However, the rest of the properties already standing in the country still need to be renovated to meet carbon-neutral demands in line with the 2050 goal.
It’s not just the government that has a say in carbon-neutral construction – you do, too! Whether you’re building a property from the ground up or renovating your existing home, you can make going carbon neutral a key focus. To help you out, we’ve put together some tips to inspire your net-zero homes.
Steps to Building a Carbon-Neutral Home
There are a number of ways you can create a more sustainable home that’s designed to move towards being carbon neutral. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Focus on Energy Efficiency
Reducing energy consumption in your home is vital. Use insulated roof sheets which according to Southern Sheeting are “ideal for garden buildings, workshops and garages where some insulation is required which will also avoid condensation that occurs on a single skin steel sheet.” For hotter weather, design your property with sufficient airflow in mind to reduce the need for air conditioning. Triple glazed windows are a must, too, as is reducing draughts with durable sealing.
Renewable Energy Sources
Installing a new build or existing home with renewable energy sources is one of the best ways to reduce emissions. From solar panels and solar heating to wind power, look into the options you could tap into. If you can’t create your own renewable energy, be sure you switch to an electricity company that uses 100% renewables!
Choose Sustainable Materials
When building or renovating your home, prioritise sustainable materials. Untreated, sustainably sourced timber native to your country is a great option that looks beautiful and doesn’t harm the environment. There are plenty of construction companies out there developing eco-friendly, carbon-neutral materials. Be conscious when sourcing products for your home to ensure they have a low impact on our planet.
Opt For Sustainable Appliances
It’s not just building materials that you can source sustainably, but appliances, too! LED light bulbs, low-flush toilets, heat pump water heaters, composters, and energy-efficient refrigerators are all great additions to an eco-friendly home. By investing in high-quality, innovative appliances, you can lower your carbon footprint without sacrificing your lifestyle.
Carbon offsetting is a great way to keep your home carbon neutral. When it’s impossible to be completely emission-free in construction or the running of your property, you can reduce your impact by donating to a carbon offsetting organisation. They’re working to reduce CO2 levels by upgrading cooking stoves in third-world countries, investing in renewable energy infrastructure, planting trees, and plenty more.
Are Carbon-Neutral Homes the Future?
Creating homes that are built to be carbon neutral isn’t that difficult. By using locally sourced, sustainable materials, renewable energy, and taking the time to research different options, we can all easily start making a big difference for the future of our planet.
To make it work, though, governments around the world need to get on board. There’s no doubt that carbon-neutral houses are the future – they have to be! – but for widespread change to happen, new laws and legislation need to be put in place. Luckily, we can all help this happen by pushing demand for renewable energy and speaking out about the world’s needs. Together, we can make change happen.
If you’re looking into carbon-neutral construction, this should be a great introductory guide. There’s plenty more to learn, though, so keep researching! If we all invest our time in researching the ways we can be more environmentally friendly, the planet will thank us for it.