To be conscionably green does not just involve wearing natural fibres, eating organic, buying fair trade goods and cycling to work. It should involve your home too – especially when constructing, maintaining and living in homes account for some 30% of a developed nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. Experts at organizations such as the Town and Country Planning Association in the UK say sustainable homes should be built with materials selected from natural, renewable or recycled sources, have energy-efficient designs; include water-saving appliances and water-recycling systems; accommodate recycling bins; and, by their location and design, reduce car dependency.
That said, how does one go about looking for an eco home? Especially if you are not much of an eco pioneer and don’t really want to sort out the solar panels and energy insulation by yourself.
Unfortunately, if you look in the classified advertisements for homs to purchase, you will not see a list of eco homes for sale, yet. But while there are no eco estate agencys, there are some property sites that specialise in listing eco homes for sale. Green consultant Julian Brooks set up www.greenmoves.com which lists about a hundred properties around the UK. There is also www.whatgreenhome.com that was established by journalist Gordon Miller. It lists eco developments around the world with a very easy-to-use tick system for grading the eco credentials of the developments, including carbon efficiency, materials and water usage. The fact that such websites exist, even if the range of homes is still quite limited, shows that the market is taking the first tentative steps forward in pioneering the eco home to the wider mass market. for the rest of us who would like to start transforming our current energy-guzzling home into a zero-carbon triumph, there are a few baby steps we can take. Learn more about green living here.