An eco village is a small community of homes that are designed to offer sustainable living, ranging from a string of properties using modern renewable energy and insulation technology – to houses made from mud, wood and grass. However extreme you want to take your renewable energy living habits to, you’ll need to make some sacrifices to your lifestyle to do so.
The question is, are you willing?
Properties that utilise renewable energy sources have to be fitted with the latest insulation, triple glazed windows and be rid of any draughts in order for central heating to run at maximum efficiency. It’s a lot harder and more expensive to get an older property retrofitted with the level of insulation that’ll mimic that of a new build, similar to the Findhorn Eco village pictured above..
New builds are the most likely properties to be included in an eco village – as they can be built in a bespoke manor for maximum efficiency and, in some cases, zero carbon emissions. With a new build it’s quite possible to live a life of comfort but not be impacting the environment.
A typical new build property within an eco village will have any of the following:
- Solar panels for electricity and/or heating
- Airsource heat pumps for maintained ambient room temperature
- Ground source heat pump for highly efficient constant room heating
- Super high efficiency boiler (if renewable sources cannot cope with demand – this might also be a Biomass boiler)
- Wind turbine for electricity generation
- LED lighting
- Underfloor heating
- High levels of wall cavity, floor, loft insulation
- Triple glazed windows
- Garden with vegetable patch
On top of this will be electrical appliances such as fridge freezers, washing machines and dishwashers that operate to a very high level of efficiency. There will also be very advanced heating controls to ensure your property doesn’t waste fuel when maintaining heat.
This type of sustainable living isn’t too far removed from how most of us live nowadays. The downside is that a property like this will cost a lot of money and for most of us, this is often too much.
Although, for the most dedicated eco-warriors, there’s the option of going back-to-basics and doing the “sustainable everything” approach.
We’ve tweeted about this before – but some families are now opting to build small homes out of entirely sustainable material – such as wood, mud and stone – to make super-self sustaining homes.
These homes are in essence completely carbon neutral. Vegetables and food will be grown in the garden, heating will be via a wood fire burner and electricity supplied by solar panels or wind turbines. It seems crazy, but with modern technology starting to filter down to affordable levels – it IS actually quite doable.
In fact, a whole community did this in Wales. You can read about it here. These people obviously had to make great sacrifices from the luxuries of the modern world to live how they do, but they will be having a positive environmental impact.
Is this something you’d be willing to do?