What is an Eco home?
An eco home is a sustainable, healthy and environmentally friendly home which uses sustainable building methods, materials, energy, heating and water conservation methods.
Why Make your home an Eco Home?
There are many reasons to make an eco home, making changes now and adopting a more environmentally friendly way of living, can bring both long and short term health benefits.
For example, making your home an eco home, can reduce your exposure to pollutants because there are fewer toxins in the air from paint, carpeting and furniture due to alternative eco interior choices being readily available.
'Eco homes help combat climate change and global warming and improving the global environment means that we need to change to an eco friendlier lifestyle in order to conserve our natural resources for future generations.
About Eco Design
Eco design is a way of thinking about design which takes into account the environmental impact of a product across its entire existence.
It includes the raw materials used, how the product is manufactured, how the product is retailed, how the product is used and what happens to the product at the end of its life. This approach is know as 'life cycle thinking.'
Who uses Eco Design?
Eco designers use the 'life cycle thinking' approach to create products which are designed to benefit the environment as well as people. 'Sustainable design' practices that use less raw materials, cause less impact on the environment by being available locally and are less polluting and use recyclable materials are amongst the many different design criteria which they use to create products which are 'ecologically friendly'.
Who are the Eco Designers?
Eco designers have great power to shape the future and save the earth. Sustainability is being seen as an opportunity to do business differently. Indeed, with the introduction of the EuP, Energy Using Product directive, it is becoming increasingly important to consider the design and life cycle impact of products.
This regulatory environment is obviously very important because lots of regulations in Europe will drive global standards.
Why Make an Eco Home?
There are 4 reasons to make an Eco Home: the first is to save money, eco designed products are generally made with higher quality materials which are more hardwearing and are, therefore, replaced less often, this means that there is a cost saving with eco interior design over a longer period.
The second reason is that eco designed products tend to have a longer life because they are built to last, which saves environmental resources. Thirdly, by using advances in technology we can now use eco-friendly appliances, water saving devices, solar powered lighting, movement activated switches, radiator insulation panels, etc. etc. to save energy and money.
Finally, an eco home brings benefits of better personal health and is an effective way to conserve our natural resources.
Recycling is the collection and often the reprocessing of discarded materials for reuse which, in turn, conserves natural resources, decreases the use of landfill sites and reduces pollution. Two common examples are the reprocessing of recycled newspaper to make cardboard and the door step delivery of milk in re-useable bottles – many materials like glass, aluminium and steel can be recycled in this way.
Low Impact Materials
The plastic containers and bottles that we see everywhere are made from non-renewable petrochemicals and styrene. They can be substituted with biobased products such as bagasse which is the dry fibrous by-product of the sugar cane harvesting process – it can be processed and molded into heat resistant cups, plates, etc which are biodegradable and compostable and can be used for hot and cold food. This is just one example of how low impact/non toxic materials can be used to benefit the environment.
This applies to products or systems designed to use less energy for the same or higher performance than regular products or systems. This saves money, reduces fossil fuel consumption and emissions and, as a result, protects the environment.
This relates to products which are long lasting and have to be replaced less frequently – for example, rechargeable batteries. Certain manufacturers claim a lifespan of up to 3000 charge cycles for their batteries which, undoubtedly, offers both economic and environmental benefits when compared to one-time-use disposable batteries.
This refers to materials from renewable resources capable of being naturally restored or replenished. For example, bamboo, which when treated forms a very hard wood which is both lightweight and exceptionally durable. Cork is another good example of a natural, renewable and recyclable material where the outer bark of the cork oak tree is used, new layers of cork are quickly formed and, more importantly, no tree is cut down.
There are about 1000 types of bamboo and some of the largest species can grow over 1 metre per day! – bamboo is an excellent example of a local material which, in tropical climates, is used in house construction and fencing. Furniture , flooring and tableware are just a few of the other products made by local communities using this local renewable resource.
This includes how and where a business obtains its products. One way in which a business can help to ensure that producers’ basic rights are respected and that sustainable development is promoted, is by dealing in ‘Fairtrade’ products. Environmental issues such as emissions, waste and consumption strategies and what a business puts back into the community are also included under this heading.
This applies to products which improve people's quality of life or which could provide a more environmentally friendly equivalent to their counterparts – an excellent example of which is the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) – a modern type of light bulb that will fit into a standard light fitting. They are often called low energy lamps because they use less energy than the traditional tungston filament bulbs that they replace – a typical CFL will last 8000 hours’. A lower wattage bulb is needed to give the equivalent of an ordinary bulb, therefore, saving energy and money and creating greater wellbeing.
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