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6 Myths About Building Eco Homes

11 December 2018

Building a sustainable home can involve incorporating eco-friendly elements into the design; like relying more on natural light, fresh air and good insulation, or adding more complicated materials and systems that will boost energy efficiency and promote a healthier living environment.  Ultimately the focus is on minimising the impact on the environment throughout the build process and into the future.

Although most people have a greater awareness towards reducing their impact on the environment, incorporating this into your build process is something you may have some reservations about.  Often there is uncertainty surrounding the concept of eco-friendly homes, with some left wondering - is it really a good idea?  Below are a few of the most common misconceptions examined more closely.

Does Building An Eco Home Mean An Increased Build Cost?

The biggest concern for most people who are considering building any home is the cost.  Depending on your definition of an eco home, and how far you wish to extend that definition, the truth is it can become expensive.  However in general sustainable building options have become more affordable in recent years and in some cases eco home builds can actually cost less than conventional methods.  A calculation of long term benefits versus upfront costs can also be beneficial as often building using eco-friendly materials and concepts offers better value over the lifecycle of your home.

Is Building An Eco Home Really Going To Help The Environment?

Using fewer chemicals, toxic products, and reducing energy needs while creating healthier living environments will absolutely make a difference to the environment.  Anything that does not add to the pollution of our planet is a good thing.  As more and more people get on board with the idea and realise most of the old practices and products are simply not necessary, the difference will become more measurable.

Are Eco Homes Built As Strong As Conventional Homes?

There is no risk of an eco-built home not being as solid or not lasting as long as a conventionally built home.  An eco home must be built to meet all building codes and requirements just as a conventional home has to.  The design, methodologies and building procedures of building ‘green’ have always been around, just in slightly different forms.  Modern technology has just made eco-friendly building materials more efficient, resilient and readily available than ever before.

Can You Make An Existing Home Eco–Friendly?

Absolutely, think of retrofitting your existing home as a bit like recycling.  It is much more eco-friendly to reuse existing materials than to build something entirely new.  However alterations to existing homes can be expensive, but sometimes even the smallest modifications can make a big difference.  Upgrading windows, adding or increasing insulation and sealing off drafts will all make a house more energy efficient and therefore more eco-friendly.

Are Eco Built Homes Just A Passing Trend?

The drift towards building eco homes is largely driven by consumers, many people are just fed up with cheap plastic or synthetic materials that have become common place in our daily lives, not only are they detrimental to the health and wellbeing of our planet but all of its inhabitants as well.  A wider understanding of energy usage, limited natural resources, global climate change and growing health concerns are all contributing factors pointing to a lasting eco-friendly movement and an increase in more planet friendly practices.

Do Eco Homes Use Only Non-Toxic Materials?

The short answer here unfortunately, is not always.  When building an eco-friendly home there is always the need to balance sustainability with practicality.  The building industry is still relatively new to the eco-friendly movement, it is not always possible to find suitable alternative materials that are sustainable, environmentally friendly and that will also meet the requirements of the Building Code.  Some items are simply too costly to source or not readily available and a realistic approach must be taken.  

Hopefully, this article has helped clear up a few of the common myths often linked to building an eco home in New Zealand, if you would like further information or to speak with a qualified builder feel free to contact the team at JMI Construction.

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