If you decide you need an entirely separate building, the problem changes dramatically from one where the site, the style, the size and the orientation have all been decided for you, to one where you are starting from scratch. The problem is complex, because of this increased number of variables. However the same basic principles apply as with extensions.
First and foremost is respect for the site you are intending to build on.
This requires looking at carefully, to understand its true ecological potential. Is the soil rich and fertile, or is it barren and polluted? These are extremes, but the message is clear: we should always try to build where it is difficult to cultivate. Our tendency is to do the opposite and much prime quality land has been built over. At present our use of vast amounts of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides is masking the true situation and gives us the illusion that we can grow whatever we like in whatever quantities we like. This practice is, however, unsustainable.
There are many other criteria that we can apply to this respect for the site, such as the spoiling of views, the destruction of historically important sites, the destruction of trees, the local importance that may be attached to the site as a special area for wildlife, and so on. Apart from the building itself, it is important to work out how much land will be required for access roads and paths.
In some cases these considerations will lead you to build largely or wholly underground to reduce the impact of the building to its minimum. Whatever the outcome of your deliberations, finding the right place ecologically should be the starting point.
In terms of its construction, there are many books on new energy-efficient houses which should lead to a building that is super-insulated and uses the sun’s energy to maximum advantage. With the application of existing knowledge, the end result should be a building that uses a fraction of the energy that the average building uses now.
Finally, a new building should use materials that cause as little damage as possible both to the environment, and to your health as a result of living in it.
Filed Under: Home & Maintenance
About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.