It’s hard to imagine why anybody would say no to a healthy, eco-friendly home if they had the chance to build one or live in one, whether they have any regard for climate change or not. Of course, ‘eco’, for those who have just arrived on the planet, means ecologically sustainable or friendly, something that doesn’t harm the environment and leaves only a slight, or no environmental footprint when it comes to the release of carbon into the atmosphere. The release of carbon adds to greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
What is sustainability?
Sustainability is sensible. Think of your weekly budget. You don’t eat in one day all the food you bought that was meant to last a week; just as we wish people would not destroy, for a quick profit, valuable forests that the earth took a million years to grow. These forests act as the lungs of the globe breathing in carbon and breathing out oxygen for living creatures to survive. The building industry has some responsibility when it comes to the worldwide destruction of our rainforests and for climate change, but there are some who understand the need to turn this around. These are the builders of eco homes.
What materials are used in eco homes?
Eco homes can be built using grown or renewable materials such as bamboo which only takes up to seven years to be fully grown and is therefore classed as renewable. This is a better alternative than oak or maple which takes from 50 to 100 years to mature.
Other materials used in eco homes include:
- Wood (sustainably grown without destroying native animal habitat or rainforest)
- Recycled wood
There are materials now on the market that claim to be eco-friendly, or ‘green’ such as SIPs which stands for ‘Structural Insulated Panel systems’. These prefabricated panels are not biodegradable; they contain hazardous chemicals and still have a heavy carbon and environmental footprint. A better alternative is Bio SIPs, based on renewable, as opposed to non-renewable resources.
How healthy are eco homes?
Compared to a brick building, eco homes save much more power, depending as they do on solar, wind or hydro energy for heating and electricity. This can lead to better air quality inside the home, and happier, healthier inhabitants.
But are they attractive?
The manufacturers of prefab eco-friendly homes are riding the crest of a wave as the sustainability message is broadcast loud and clear. Most now realise eco doesn’t necessarily mean awkward or unattractive, with architects leading the way in proving that these homes are at the top of the range when it comes to style and functionality. ‘Eco-friendly’ is the new catch phrase and green is the colour of 2018 and it is fast becoming the new black in home design. With this building boom comes lower prices.
What are some examples?
Some eco homes, with solar panels and everything ‘off the grid’, are sophisticated, with smooth lines and an endless variety of designs. At the extreme is probably the Dutch company that built an eco house entirely from cardboard. But eco home designs can range from futuristic villas, English barns and Brazilian studios by the pool. In Australia, companies are making prefab eco homes with up to three bedrooms. These homes can be transported to your site and put up in a matter of 10 days. They all have in common ever-evolving photovoltaic cells, a commitment to new green materials, and the best, and most efficient insulation. These eco-friendly houses are not only being built in sprawling countrysides, either, but in big cities around the world.
The ‘Tiny House’ movement
You can have an eco mansion, a tiny cottage or something in between. The ‘tiny house’ movement is fast gaining in popularity and pushing the eco housing message. Those who embrace the movement allow people to hop off the merry-go-round of renting for life or having a never ending mortgage. This trend began in the 1970s in the US but gained momentum after some terrible disasters made it imperative that houses were built fast for the victims, and this was a focus of media attention which brought the solution to light. Financial crises have caused the eco-friendly tiny house movement to grow and they are now seen as popular choices in many countries of the world.
Can they be built in the bush?
Eco homes give the occupants the best living conditions even if they’re erected in remote locations. They’re versatile, affordable, and attractive, and some are built by Australian firms such as Fox Transportables from materials with energy ratings of 6-8 Stars and come in designs with two or three bedrooms and either double-glazed windows and/or aluminium insulated panels. These eco homes are prefabricated and with a fold-out assembly, they can be built in less than a fortnight and can be delivered anywhere in Australia for permanent or temporary construction.
Matt has been with Fox Transportables since its inception in 2010 and currently serves as its General Manager. He brings extensive knowledge from a background in Construction & Mining, as well as Information & Technology solutions from earlier in his career based in the United Kingdom. Under Matt’s leadership, Fox has continued to grow and expand its innovative products & services and has become one of Perth’s premier modular construction companies. Quoted once as saying “empowering our team is far more valuable than leading them can ever be” – Matt continues to encourage a healthy work culture at Fox and provides valuable guidance to all staff members with a door that’s always open.