Companies are currently doing everything they can to help consumers “pick green” which has included a significant reduction in prices – in a lot of industries, products marketed as environmentally friendly had been more expensive to purchase.
As demand for oil increases globally, production is being considerably reduced and scientists have predicted that we’ll have reached global peak within the next 20 years. As the building industry relies heavily on oil for the production and transportation of materials, it’s been one of the hardest hit which is why, over the last few years you’ll have noticed huge changes in the way houses and other buildings are built, in a bid to control the amounts of air, water and ground pollution as well as capping the amount of waste going to landfill.
A reduction in energy consumption
According to the government “in 2009 buildings accounted for about 43% of all the UK’s carbon emissions.” From 2010 a policy was introduced which meant that all new developments needed to be energy efficient. However, from 2016, all new homes must be zero carbon in order to comply with the latest policy, and this could be stretched to include all other developments too from 2019.
With the inevitable reduction in fossil fuels and also the threat of climate change having an irreversible impact, it’s essential we significantly reduce our energy consumption with not only energy efficient housing, but also outbuildings too.
It might sound like a lot of effort, but in reality, it’s really easy and will save you a lot of money in the long run too – great news when the cost of fossil fuels are set to rise dramatically.
When talking about eco-friendly buildings, a lot of people’s first thoughts spring straight to houses, blocks of flats and workplace environments. However, we should all be thinking much closer to home. As many people now avoid commuting and work from home, the garden office is something that’s grown massively in popularity, the traditional summerhouse – very often made into a man cave – has also made a comeback and also glamping is now a huge favourite of all Brits, and these are all areas that are really easy to make eco-friendly environments.
There are plenty of companies now that specialise in the making of eco-friendly outdoor buildings, whether it’s a home office you’re after, an entertainment space, a camping pod, a playroom or a summerhouse, all bases are covered. What’s more, they look great too, made from sustainable timbers, high-spec and extra thick insulation, along with quality double-glazed doors and windows which means that the outlay from the consumer, in terms of heating the area, is kept to a minimum. Not only is this great for your pockets, it also means that the majority of generated heat is unable to escape into the atmosphere, which is great for the environment too.
This type of construction also means that the building’s temperature will be much easier to regulate, staying at a constant throughout the year as opposed to having a constant battle with an area that’s too hot to work in the summer and far too cold for working during the winter.
It’s not just the building that can be eco-friendly though, other elements can be too. Take the roof, for example, some companies will offer wild flower or sedum covered roofs as an optional extra when you buy the building. If this is not offered though, it’s something that you can buy and add separately yourself. Wild flower roofs blend in with green space surroundings, and provide great looking and exceptionally important micro-climates for insects, bird life and other wildlife.
Not only does this enable the existence and survival of wildlife, it also acts as yet another insulating layer to the roof, reducing heat loss even further, and providing an eco-friendly way to deal with water run-off in the event of a heavy downpour.
The base and below
As well as the building itself, it’s great to know that all other elements of the build can be just as good for the environment as the main structure.
Weeds growing underneath your eco-building are the last thing you want, not only because they look unsightly when they find their way out, but also because they command moisture which could cause damage to the building. By using a weed blocking membrane, the base is protected as the growth of weeds is suppressed. Then, of course, you need to think about the base itself. Times have changed dramatically in terms of outdoor building and shed bases, so forget about the permanent concrete base that used to be so popular, because the new kid on the block is so much better. Fully transportable, which means you alter the position of the building in future should you wish, recycled plastic interlocking base tiles are the way forward – take a look at these if you’re unsure.
Each of these tiles are made from 100% recycled plastic which was destined for landfill before being scooped up and transformed into a strong, durable and, most importantly, useable product. The plastic shed base tiles you can see here from the Shed Base Company are lightweight, easy to install (there’s a simple interlocking connection on the sides of each tile) and exceptionally strong.
Most people can expect to be able to lay 100 m2 in around 60 minutes, so a small building base should be no problem. Each of these panels can withstand weights of up to 420 tonnes per square metre, is resistant to adverse weather conditions, chemicals and UV damage. This type of base will also ensure the base of your construction is continually ventilated thanks to the innovative cellular structure of the panels. Their structure means that surface water is able to flow easily through natural drainage channels; this will prevent a build-up of moisture and as a consequence will prevent the development of moisture and damp to the base of your eco-building.
About the Author
Fergus, CEO at Shed Base Company
Fergus - As a UK manufacturer The Shed Base Company’s mission is to become the UK’s leading supplier of shed bases made from recycled plastic for use in all types of garden buildings. Since 2013 we have provided over 6000 plastic shed bases to our customers across the UK and is quickly becoming the number one choice for Eco-Friendly shed bases.