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Information about Eco-Homes

The following text covers various topics regarding eco-homes, their construction, guidelines for eco-friendly homes, as well as benefits for various stakeholders, that can benefit from an increased amount of eco-homes.

What are Eco-Homes?

The concept of eco-homes actually refers to an environmental rating scheme in the UK, that has been put commercially into practice in different versions from 2000 to 2006. As of 200, it has been replaced by a new scheme called the Code for Sustainable Homes. As the Code for Sustainable Homes, which is certifying the performance of homes throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland, compiles in most aspects to the eco-homes scheme, the major characteristics, implementations, as well as benefits of the two schemes can be used in parallel with each other.

The rating scheme eco-homes, implemented by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), was first developed and released in 2000 and since then it has gone through three revisions, leading to a total of four different versions:

  • Eco-homes Pre-2002.
  • Eco-homes 2003.
  • Eco-homes 2005.
  • Eco-homes 2006.

Due to the major revisions made in each of these different eco-homes schemes, it is not possible to compare homes that are built under different versions, as the standard needed to be achieved in each of the versions varies too much from one another.

Officially launched in December 2006, the Code for Sustainable Homes replaced the eco-homes scheme as an assessment method for new homes in Northern Ireland, Wales and England and complements the Energy Performance Certificates for new households.

The Building Research Establishment, which developed the eco-homes scheme, now also manages and broadens the technical contents of the new code’s standards on behalf of the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Read More: The Renewable Heat Incentive Application Guide.

How Does the Eco-Homes Assessment Work?

The eco-homes scheme awards new homes with ratings from 1 to 6, based on their performance in nine criteria regarding sustainability. Combined, those criteria assess the house’s environmental impact, while a rating of 1 refers to an entry level above regular building regulations, while a rating of 6 is the highest, referring to superior developments in terms of sustainability.

The nine sustainability criteria for eco-homes/the Code for Sustainable Homes are:

  • Energy and CO2 emissions
  • Water: internal and external water savings
  • Materials: sourcing and environmental impact of materials used for building
  • Surface: water run-off
  • Waste: reducing, reusing or recycling of construction materials
  • Pollution: using insulation materials and heating systems without adding to global warming
  • Health and well-being: good daylight quality, sound insulation, private space, adaptability, and accessibility
  • Management: home user guide
  • Ecology: protecting and enhancing ecology of the area

Although it's voluntary, the eco-homes scheme encourages home builders to follow the principles described in the eco-homes scheme, and plans of the Code for Sustainable Homes are to be made mandatory for home builders in the future.

How Can I Turn My House into an Eco-Home?

The requirements for eco-homes are very demanding, and not everyone has the possibility of the funds to build a house that meets these requirements. However, there are several ways for everyone to turn their homes a little bit more environmentally friendly, by making small changes or improvements, even though, officially, it won’t be considered an eco-home.

  • Insulate Your Home

Make sure the insulation in your walls and windows are good, as it helps reducing heating costs for your eco-home.

  • Use Low Wattage Light Bulbs

Low wattage light bulbs use far less energy and are as bright as standard bulbs while being a great way for your eco-home to save energy.

  • Use Motion Sensor Light Bulbs

With motion sensor light bulbs installed in your eco-home, you will never have problems with forgetting to turn off the lights anymore.

  • Update Your Appliances

Upgrading different appliances of your eco-home to more energy-saving versions can save energy, especially the refrigerator which uses huge amounts of energy.

  • Install Skylights on the Roof of the Eco-Home

Allowing more natural sunlight to get into your home will render the use of artificial light unnecessary in many situations, therefore saving a lot of energy.

  • Invest In Renewable Energies

By investing in renewable energy sources, such as geothermal or solar, you can provide energy for your eco-home basically for free, after initial investment costs.

Read More: Go Green, Go Solar!

What Are the Benefits of Eco-Homes?

Eco-homes have several benefits, both for home builders, consumers, and of course the environment. The benefits of eco-homes for different groups of stakeholders will be explained in more detail below.

Benefits of Eco-Homes for Home Builders

- Credibility and Increased Reputation

Constructors of eco-homes can receive an increase in positive media attention for their efforts in environmental issues, but eco-homes also demonstrate the houses’ performances in terms of sustainability, differentiating the home builders from their competitors.

- Flexibility and Innovation

Although the eco-homes scheme measures performances for different categories, it does not set exact rules on how to achieve the different levels. Home builders can be creative and innovative in order to come up with cost-efficient solutions to meet and exceed requirements for eco-homes.

Benefits of Eco-Homes for Consumers

- Improved Decision-Making

Ratings on eco-homes give valuable information to consumers which can make it easier for them to make decisions.

- Reduced Carbon Footprint

Sustainable eco-homes reduce their occupants’ carbon footprints and the effect on the environment while encouraging more and more home builders to focus on building eco-homes.

- Reduced Costs

Eco-homes are built to be energy efficient in terms of electricity and water, therefore reducing costs for consumers.

- Improved Well-Being

Eco-homes provide a more pleasant and healthy place for the people to live in.

Benefits of Eco-Homes for the Environment

- Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By focusing on renewable energies, eco-homes reduce the threat of climate change.

- Reduced Impact on the Environment in General

Eco-homes promote the use of less harmful materials and produce less pollution, among other aspects. Therefore, eco-homes have a 100% green approach regarding global warming.

Read More: UK Renewable Energy: Facts & Stats.

Building Eco-Homes

If you want to build an eco-home or make your house more eco-friendly, you can make use of our form to tell us about your wishes and requirements, and we will match you with up to four different suppliers that can help you with your ideas about eco-homes. Our service is obviously completely free and without any obligations!