What makes a sustainable house? A nice house that has no or very small energy costs. Such houses are also often called energy-neutral houses. They are not only very environmentally friendly, but also very comfortable to live in. The temperature is even and comfortably warm, the floors do not feel cold either. There is always fresh air inside. Generally speaking, a home that does not consume more energy that it itself generates is an energy-neutral home. So how can you build yourself such a sustainable house?
Characteristics of an energy-neutral home
As mentioned above the main idea behind an energy neutral home is that the amount of energy you use is in balance with the amount of energy you are producing. You can achieve this balance by:
- Keeping your energy consumption as low as possible.
- Sustainably generating the energy you need.
You can generate the required energy by yourself, for example by installing the solar panels. However, it is often more effective to do it at a local or neighborhood level. Energy can be produced in a variety of ways: solar energy, wind, geothermal heat, wood or biogas. Most probably, you will still require some power from your energy provider (especially in the winter). However, you will also be supplying energy TO your provider (especially in the summer). Therefore, if measured throughout the whole year, you will hopefully come out energy-neutral.
Ideas for an energy-neutral house
Living in an energy-neutral house seems like a great idea, but how do you build one? Or even better, how to turn your house into an energy-neutral one? The main strategies for achieving this goal are listed below.
1. Very good insulation
You want your house to lose as little energy as possible, therefore, you’ll need a good insulation of every part of your house. That includes the floors, the windows, the roof and the walls.
Floor insulation. Houses without floor insulation lose a lot of heat through the floor. That means that the central heating has to work harder and uses more energy. That is something you want to avoid! Installing floor insulation reduces the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, since you do not burn unnecessary amounts of gas to warm up your home. Consequently, you also give less money to your energy provider, since you are using less energy. Another advantage of floor insulation is that it drastically increases your living comfort! You will have warmer feet, less drafts and less large temperature fluctuations. Floor insulation also helps against moisture reducing the chances that mold will develop somewhere in your home.
Wall insulation. This usually implies insulating the cavity between the inner and the outer walls of your house. Wall insulation has similar advantages to floor insulation – you use less energy to keep your house warm, therefore, you are more environmentally friendly and your wallet is thicker.
Roof insulation. Roof insulation is extremely important due to the fact that warm air rises up. Therefore, your house loses a lot of energy through the roof. Roof insulation thus has the same benefits as floor and wall insulation, only on a larger scale.