About SustainableBuild

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far SustainableBuild has created 436 blog entries.

Great Kneighton: A Case Study in Sustainable Drainage

By |2021-05-24T08:38:24+00:00November 14, 2014|Case Studies|

Designing an effective sustainable drainage system can be a bit of a challenge at the best of times, but it's ten times worse when you're trying to come up with something that will work for an area of very flat land, with an underlying seam of clay and a high [...]

Dealing With Builders’ Waste Sustainably

By |2021-05-24T08:22:46+00:00April 14, 2014|Sustainable Design|

It isn't always easy ensuring that what is titled as a 'sustainable build project' can be kept as sustainable as possible across the whole construction cycle. Dealing with the waste side of that has often caused builders rather more than their fair share of headaches. Fortunately, as increasing numbers of [...]

Grey (and Black) Water Recycling Design

By |2021-05-24T08:22:26+00:00June 21, 2013|Sustainable Design|

Between shifting rainfall patterns and the burgeoning demands of our increasing population, the pressure on water resources in the UK continues to rise, despite our often notoriously wet climate - which puts water reuse and recycling high on the sustainability agenda. Perhaps more to the point, at a time when [...]

Floods and SuDs: Making Drainage Sustainable

By |2021-05-24T08:22:34+00:00May 31, 2013|Sustainable Design|

It is, perhaps, one of the most irritating paradoxes of British weather that, having endured downpours and deluges throughout the winter, we'll often be met with hosepipe bans in the summer, as the water supply struggles to meet demand. Then, as if to rub salt into the wound, when the [...]

What the Changing Climate Means for Garden Design

By |2021-05-24T08:22:40+00:00May 22, 2013|Sustainable Design|

Wetter and drier, hotter and possibly colder - and windier too - that contradictory mix appears to sum up the predictions for the UK over the rest of the century. It seems that just when the British climate can't get any stranger, it does! Britain's weather has always been what [...]

Planning Departments and a Building Conspiracy?

By |2021-05-24T08:22:38+00:00May 16, 2013|Construction Methods|

While beset by yet another set of official forms, or struggling to understand the latest turn the planning committee has taken over your application to build what they call in the trade a 'non standard' house, have you ever wondered why it all seems to be such hard work? After [...]

Straw Bale Building: Case Study, Howden

By |2021-05-24T08:22:25+00:00May 3, 2013|Case Studies|

Carol Atkinson's interest in straw construction arose during her studies for a Master's degree in architecture at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth - and she's been putting theory into practice ever since. Originally setting out to add a straw bale cottage as part of a diversification of the family's [...]

Fracking: Truly Sustainable?

By |2021-05-24T08:22:32+00:00April 17, 2013|Energy Sources|

Between being blamed for two Lancashire earth tremors in 2011, and making a surprise appearance in George Osborne's 2013 budget, the once little known term of 'fracking' has now firmly entered the language - and become one of the most hotly debated energy technologies in Britain today. Fracking fans point [...]

PloughCroft Renewables: Case Study

By |2021-05-24T08:22:41+00:00April 20, 2012|VIDEOS|

Established in 1997 in the heart of Yorkshire, Ploughcroft Renewables started its days as a construction and roofing company. Founded by father and son, Bill and Chris Hopkins, the duo set up business with quality and satisfaction at the centre of their ethic. As the years past, hard work soon [...]

Insurance and Mortgage Issues: Wood & Straw Build

By |2021-05-24T08:22:23+00:00April 6, 2012|Financing Your Build|

'As safe as houses' is a reassuring phrase and one which, even despite the recent recessionary wobbles and the credit crunch, conveys the comfort of a solid investment - unless, it sometimes seems, those houses are made from unconventional materials. "The first thing to point out about non-traditional forms of [...]

Building Redevelopments

By |2021-05-24T08:22:46+00:00April 6, 2012|VIDEOS|

Building redevelopments are hugely important to maintaining the history and natural equilibrium of a community. The Old Post Office building in Leeds offers one prime and luxurious example. Built in 1896 by Sir Henry Tanner, the building has recently been redeveloped into a series of luxury-serviced apartments known as Residence [...]

Wall Art: Innovative and Eco-friendly Wall Covering

By |2021-05-24T08:22:45+00:00February 21, 2012|Sustainable Design|

If you are planning to decorate, chances are you worry about the trees which have been sacrificed to provide your wallpaper? Of course painting is always an option (VOC-free naturally) but a painted wall can lack the impact of wallpaper if you want to create a statement wall. Latest Wall [...]

Energy and Water Saving in Bathroom Renovations

By |2021-05-24T08:22:42+00:00January 25, 2012|Energy Sources|

Many ‘green’ rules that apply to new build bathrooms don’t yet cover renovations, but you should still make sure that any bathroom make-over is a planet friendly one. If you are planning a major renovation – including replacement of the bathroom suite – then you need to look for low-water [...]

Green Energy in Nayland: Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:34+00:00January 4, 2012|Energy Case Studies|

We often say that the local school plays a crucial role in the community, but when one of the parents doing the school-run is a qualified engineer, who by his own admission is “passionate about the environment” and a self-confessed serious fan of renewable energy, that can take on a [...]

Our Zero Carbon Home in the Shetlands: Case Study

By |2021-05-24T08:22:42+00:00December 8, 2011|Case Studies|

Building a carbon neutral home is a pretty big challenge in itself, but when your chosen site is on Britain’s northernmost island, it becomes a massive undertaking. But in 2002, having owned a plot of land on Unst in the Shetlands since the 1980s, Michael Rea and his wife Dorothy [...]

Changes to Feed-in-Tariffs: What this Means for your Sustainable Build

By |2021-05-24T08:22:36+00:00November 16, 2011|Green Buildings|

After much speculation, the UK Government has announced plans to cut the Feed-in-Tariffs (FiTs) by 50% for new solar installations, as part of their review consultation into the sustainability of the incentive scheme. The cut will see the current feed in tariff of 43.3p/kWh being reduced to 21p/kWh for solar [...]

Build Your Own Earthship: the Ultimate Sustainable Home!

By |2021-05-24T08:22:20+00:00October 3, 2011|Carbon Neutral Homes|

Earthships are growing in popularity around the world and are said to be the ultimate in sustainability – but be warned, they don’t often look like your idea of a typical home! Chances are, if you asked 10 friends to describe an Earthship, they couldn’t – because the concept is [...]

Biofuels: Will They Mean Carbon Neutral Air Travel?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:35+00:00March 28, 2011|Carbon Count - Travelling|

Aiming to live a carbon neutral lifestyle is more important than ever before. Growing awareness of the impact of burning fossil fuels has convinced most people that their activities are directly responsible for the global climate changes that are becoming apparent. Living in a way that reduces your carbon footprint [...]

The Carbon Footprint of the ICT Industry

By |2021-05-25T20:49:35+00:00March 28, 2011|Carbon Count - The Workplace|

Information and communication technology (ICT) is something that we rely on very heavily. Telecommunications, internet, broadband, mobile phones, social networking, computing, teleworking and teleconferencing all rely on the ICT industry. This sector has come in for criticism in the past because of the high turnover rate of equipment, and the [...]

Washing Your Carbon Footprint Away?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:35+00:00March 27, 2011|Carbon Count - Travelling|

Reducing your carbon footprint can involve using less water, which contains not carbon at all. The reality is that heating water does use up carbon, quite a lot of it in the form of fossil fuels. Cutting back on your usage of hot and heated water could reduce your carbon [...]

Reusing Carpet for a Home Office Extension: Case Studies

By |2021-05-25T13:26:03+00:00March 26, 2011|Case Studies|

Reusing carpet or other floor coverings is one of the most sustainable ways of approaching the flooring problem. By using flooring material that some one else has discarded you are not only saving that from going into a landfill site, but also preventing the use of energy and materials that [...]

Construction Waste and Landfill

By |2021-05-25T20:49:35+00:00March 24, 2011|Carbon Count - The Big Picture|

The construction industry, which is responsible for building new homes, offices, roads and infrastructure in the UK, is a major source of waste that ends up in landfill sites. It produces something in the order of 100 million tons of construction waste annually, some from the demolition of old buildings [...]

Are Barbecues Bad for the Environment?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:35+00:00March 23, 2011|Carbon Count - Home|

The British summer can be highly variable but we all look forward to at least some hot and sunny weekends to relax outdoors, whether in the garden, the beach or at a local beauty spot. Fifty years ago, barbeques were unheard of but this method of Australian outdoor socialising has [...]

What’s the Impact of a Volcano on the Atmosphere?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:35+00:00March 23, 2011|Carbon Count - The Big Picture|

People and governments in many countries of the world are increasingly concerned about global warming and climate change. Human activity has released a lot of carbon dioxide and other pollutants that act as greenhouse gases during the last 250 years, since the Industrial Revolution. While we are trying now to [...]

Can ‘Living Walls’ Help Buildings Become Carbon Neutral?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:35+00:00March 21, 2011|Carbon Count - The Workplace|

The walls of many buildings and garden perimeters have life on them but this is not generally planned. There are also limits to the type of plant or living organism that can be grown – climbing plants such as ivy and Virginia creeper use walls for support, but their stems [...]

The UK Leads the Way With Low Carbon Vehicles

By |2021-05-25T20:49:35+00:00March 20, 2011|Carbon Count - Travelling|

The UK is moving carefully to maintain its position and reputation as a global leader in the field of ecofriendly vehicles and transport innovation. In March 2011, one of the largest scientific funding bodies in the UK, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) announced that it had set [...]

A Simple Guide to Energy and Thermodynamics

By |2021-05-25T19:25:44+00:00March 14, 2011|What is energy|

These days everyone seems to be talking about energy, whether it’s the rising cost of electricity, gas and petrol, carbon costs and offsets, alternatives to our traditional sources or what happens when the oil finally runs out. Going a little bit deeper, however, and trying to get to grips with [...]

Ocean Current Energy

By |2021-05-25T19:25:44+00:00March 14, 2011|Renewable Energy|

Once something of a minority interest, wind power has rapidly become a firmly established part of the mainstream alternative energy strategy in Britain and across the globe over the last decade. By contrast, the huge potential resource represented by ocean currents remains largely overlooked and under developed, with no commercial [...]

Spaceship Earth: Getting Energy from Algae

By |2021-05-25T19:25:44+00:00March 14, 2011|Case Studies|

There’s nothing new about the idea of getting energy from algae. It has been known for years that some kinds of these simple plants can yield over 1,500 gallons of oil per acre – that’s more than three times the amount that can be produced by palms and a staggering [...]

Coppiced Wood as an Energy Source

By |2021-05-25T19:25:44+00:00March 14, 2011|Renewable Energy|

There’s nothing new about burning wood for energy – nor about coppicing trees to produce it, for that matter – but over the last 50 years or so, ‘short rotation coppicing’ (SRC) has gone from a largely unknown rural activity, to forming an important part of the overall energy debate. [...]

Iceland’s Growing Data Centre Industry: Fuelled by Geothermal Energy.

By |2021-05-25T19:25:44+00:00March 14, 2011|Case Studies|

While the machines may not actually have taken over in the nightmarish way that the visions of the future portrayed in the Terminator or Matrix films would suggest, there is no escaping the fact that computers do run the world. With everybody from the NHS to your next door neighbour [...]

The Bright New Future of Hydrogen Planes

By |2021-05-25T19:25:44+00:00March 14, 2011|Case Studies|

Hydrogen has long been hailed as the future of air travel, but with aircraft manufacturers having largely put most of their plans to develop hydrogen burning ‘cryoplanes’ on hold, at least for the moment, that had seemed rather less certain of late. Now, however, all this may be about to [...]

The Case for Underfloor Heating: Case Studies

By |2021-05-25T13:26:03+00:00March 10, 2011|Case Studies|

The push toward underfloor heating continues with designers and ecologist alike singing it's praises. It's expensive to install unless it's part of a new build or complete re-fit though, so will lower utility charges eventually claw back the installation cost? Checking out the Report A report from the Underfloor Heating [...]

Carpet Vs Solid Flooring: The Ecological Arguments

By |2021-05-25T13:26:03+00:00March 9, 2011|Sustainable Floors|

When debating whether to choose solid flooring instead of traditional carpet, you need to look at the life cycle of the two options to establish the impact each has on the environment. Sustainable Flooring Production Although some sustainable soft flooring options exist, including rugs made from recycled products, traditional carpets [...]

Quiz: Are You an Electricity Expert?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:36+00:00December 2, 2010|Energy Quizzes|

We’ve all done it; you walk into a dark room knowing full well you’re in the middle of a power cut – and you flicked the light-switch all the same! It’s automatic; electricity is just there. We’re all so used to having it around, that just like water, we don’t [...]

How Hydro Electric Power Works

By |2021-05-25T20:49:36+00:00December 2, 2010|Energy Facts Trivia|

One thing we’re seldom short of in Britain is rain, and as a result, viewed from the air, much of our country is a wonderful glinting tracery of silvery rivers and lakes. It’s small wonder that the UK has been harnessing water power for hundreds of years – from driving [...]

Five Steps to a Low Energy Christmas

By |2021-05-25T20:49:35+00:00December 2, 2010|Saving Energy|

If you’re a keen energy saver, you’re hardly likely to want to throw principle and all that hard work out of the window at Christmas, but it can sometimes feel like you’re trying to swim against an irresistible tide. It is possible to have a low energy Christmas, but it [...]

A Community Fuelled by Wastewater Gas: Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:35+00:00December 2, 2010|Energy Case Studies|

Recycling waste took on a very new meaning for 200 households in one Oxfordshire town recently, when they became the first in the UK to receive a supply of renewable gas for cooking and heating made from their own sewage. If all goes according to plan, this £2.5 million project [...]

Turning Homes Into Mini Power Stations: Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:35+00:00December 2, 2010|Energy Case Studies|

Although everyone understands the enormous potential benefits of generating electricity from sunlight, no matter how big a fan you might be, there’s one very obvious drawback – the cost. Even though the price of photovoltaic (PV) cells has fallen dramatically over recent years, it remains a relatively expensive option when [...]

Britain’s First Biofuel Buses: Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:35+00:00December 2, 2010|Energy Case Studies|

“I’m sure the idea of cheaper travel in exchange for the used contents of your chip pan will capture people’s imagination.” So said Brian Souter, co-founder and CEO of Stagecoach Group, at the launch of Britain’s first ever bus service to be powered by 100 per cent biofuel – and [...]

What You Might Not Know About Energy and Poo!

By |2021-05-25T20:49:35+00:00December 2, 2010|Energy Facts Trivia|

As a new scheme opens to supply 200 Oxfordshire households with gas made from what they recently flushed from their own toilets, a number of water and gas companies around the UK are now beginning to look at sewage in a completely different light. The idea isn’t particularly new, of [...]

The Trouble With Carbon Offsets

By |2021-05-25T20:49:36+00:00September 27, 2010|Carbon Count - The Big Picture|

Carbon offsetting has really taken off in the last decade as a way for companies in industrialised countries to become carbon neutral, even though they are producing plenty of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The principle of carbon offsets is that a company calculates its level of carbon emissions, [...]

Why Get a Car With a Low Carbon Footprint?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:36+00:00September 24, 2010|Carbon Count - Travelling|

If you are thinking of buying a new car, rather than a second hand one, there are many factors that will contribute to your decision. You may want the car just for image, mainly for practicality, the cheapest you can get, or the most efficient to run and the most [...]

International Carbon Emissions: Some Facts and Figures

By |2021-05-25T20:49:36+00:00September 24, 2010|Carbon Count - The Big Picture|

When you think about carbon emissions it is possible to think very small in terms of what every individual contributes on each day. At the other end of the spectrum figures are available to show the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced globally each year by different countries and [...]

What is the Carbon Reduction Commitment?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:36+00:00September 24, 2010|Carbon Count - The Big Picture|

Carbon offsetting has really taken off in the last decade as a way for companies in industrialised countries to become carbon neutral, even though they are producing plenty of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The principle of carbon offsets is that a company calculates its level of carbon emissions, [...]

Large UK Companies Don’t Know Their Carbon Footprint

By |2021-05-25T20:49:36+00:00September 24, 2010|Carbon Count - The Workplace|

With pressure building to become a low carbon economy, UK businesses are facing a bleak future if they do not take steps to reduce their carbon footprint. It is therefore surprising that many of the largest companies and businesses in the UK don’t yet have any clear idea of what [...]

Shopping Online to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

By |2021-05-25T20:49:36+00:00September 24, 2010|Carbon Count - Shopping|

Shopping is an activity that we either love or hate but few people can get away without doing on a regular basis. As well as thinking about the cost of shopping, and the time and effort it takes, more people are now thinking about the environmental impact of their shopping [...]

Global Warming: Myth or Reality?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:36+00:00September 24, 2010|Carbon Count - The Big Picture|

Although governments around the world have signed up to international treaties to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced to prevent an escalation in global warming, there are people, some of them scientists, who dismiss this environmental threat as pure myth. There are several lines of evidence that are [...]

Could Hollywood Be More Ecofriendly?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:36+00:00September 24, 2010|Carbon Count - Entertainment|

The film making and entertainment industry comes very close behind oil refineries as the business sector responsible for the highest carbon dioxide emissions. The cost of filming, special effects, lighting, staging spectacular concerts, carrying celebrities all over the world by plane and a myriad of other activities use vast amounts [...]

The Real Cost of Food

By |2021-05-25T20:49:36+00:00August 17, 2010|Energy Facts Trivia|

We all know how much food costs. There’s that unavoidable moment at the supermarket checkout, as item after item travels along the rubberised route from trolley to scanner, beeping its cheery way onto the final tally, out of our bank accounts and into our environmentally-friendly, endlessly reusable bags. The price [...]

Understanding Embedded Energy

By |2021-05-25T20:49:36+00:00August 17, 2010|Energy Facts Trivia|

Talk of embedded – or embodied – energy is something that anyone trying to do their bit to improve both environment and personal economics comes across sooner or later and it’s an interesting concept. The basic idea is a simple one – it’s a measure of the total energy required [...]

Questionnaire: Identify the Scope for Community Energy Projects

By |2021-05-25T20:49:37+00:00August 16, 2010|Energy Quizzes|

Once your community has decided that it wants to start some kind of group energy saving initiative for itself, the next big question is deciding where the scope lies to do it. What sort of projects should you think about running – and where? Should you concentrate on individual households, [...]

Keeping a Community Energy Diary

By |2021-05-25T20:49:37+00:00August 9, 2010|Energy Community Projects|

When it comes to any kind of community-based project, keeping track of what’s going on can very quickly become virtually impossible – unless you write things down. Good record keeping plays a big part in making sure everything runs smoothly, and it’s almost guaranteed to be a requirement for any [...]

Saving Energy in the Garden

By |2021-05-25T20:49:37+00:00August 9, 2010|Saving Energy|

Most of the talk about energy saving seems to centre on distinctly “indoor” things, such as light-bulbs, insulation and efficient appliances, but there’s also scope to do your bit outdoors too. Although there’s obviously nowhere near the scope to cut energy usage in the garden as there is in the [...]

Five ‘Must-Have’ Devices Guaranteed to Help Save Energy

By |2021-05-25T20:49:37+00:00August 9, 2010|Saving Energy|

Once you’ve done all the things you should do – like changing your light bulbs, turning down your thermostat and adding loft insulation – and the budget won’t quite stretch to adding photovoltaic panels or a wind turbine to your roof, what can you do next? The good news is [...]

What Sort of an Energy Community Are You?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:37+00:00April 23, 2010|Energy Quizzes|

Have you ever wondered why your community is trying to save energy? We’re all agreed that it makes sense and it’s a good thing to be doing – but do you ever stop to ponder what’s really motivating you all? Is it concern for the planet, the desire to safeguard [...]

Is Your Community Travel Energy Aware?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:37+00:00April 21, 2010|Energy Quizzes|

Being aware of the real environmental and economic cost of travel is a potentially important way to save energy . That doesn’t, of course, mean that you shouldn’t ever go anywhere or do anything, but it does mean that with a little bit of thought, changing our transport habits can [...]

Understanding Fuel Cells

By |2021-05-25T20:49:37+00:00April 21, 2010|Energy Facts Trivia|

Say the words “fuel cell” to most people and they’ll probably instantly conjure up an image of a modern and revolutionary high-tech device that holds the promise of exactly the sort of clean energy we so desperately need. While their potential for virtually emission-less power is undoubtedly true, surprisingly the [...]

Cutting Bills With an Energy Audit: Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:37+00:00April 21, 2010|Energy Case Studies|

“I’ve done quite well out of not selling my house,” laughs Lynne Morrison. “To tell the truth, I was well annoyed when all this Energy Certificate stuff came in. I had to get one when I put my place on the market and I thought it was just another way [...]

Choosing ‘Green’ Kitchen Worktops

By |2021-05-24T08:22:27+00:00April 6, 2010|Sustainable Design|

If you’re planning to update your tired kitchen by installing new worktops, you can choose from a range of ‘greener’ options. Sadly, no worktop is truly environmentally-friendly but some worktops – such as wood, glass and recycled ceramic - are more eco-friendly than others. Why Choose a ‘Green’ Worktop? Many [...]

A Stunning Eco Lodge in Spain: A Case Study

By |2021-05-24T08:22:39+00:00April 6, 2010|Case Studies|

A small family of eco-lodges in Spain could well be one of the most attractive sustainable developments you’ll ever come across. The Tarifa eco-lodges were designed and built by specialist sustainable building company Blue Forest, based in Tunbridge Wells, Sussex and are breathtaking in their beauty. You can just imagine [...]

Researchers Worked Out Our Carbon Footprint: A Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:38+00:00March 22, 2010|Carbon Count - Case Studies|

Speaking from her home in Heslington in York, Isobel can’t keep the pride out of her voice as she talks about a recent research project that identified her community as having the lowest carbon footprint in York. “Being part of the research was a really interesting experience and I was [...]

Building Zero Carbon Schools Across the UK

By |2021-05-24T08:22:44+00:00March 22, 2010|Green Buildings|

Dozens of new zero carbon schools look likely to be built in the UK as part of a government drive to cut energy use in the education sector. Ministers say they want to move ahead with recommendations from the Zero Carbon Task Force to open 36 pilot schools across England. [...]

My Dad Wanted a Low Carbon Burial: A Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:38+00:00March 21, 2010|Carbon Count - Case Studies|

Although it is obvious that she has been crying, Sarah speaks calmly about her father's death. “Today is the first year anniversary, so it all feels a bit raw again. Looking back, I do feel more positive about the time that he died rather than negative,” she says. Sarah's father [...]

Why Does Meat Have a High Carbon Footprint?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:38+00:00March 19, 2010|Carbon Count - Shopping|

Many people cite the need to have a good, balanced diet as they tuck into meat-based meals three times each day but are we looking at ‘balance’ with rose colour glasses? Many fast food choices incorporate meat, but they are also high on fat and sugar and low on fresh [...]

How Do Extended Fuel Cells Work in Hybrid Cars?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:38+00:00March 18, 2010|Carbon Count - Travelling|

Hybrid cars and electric vehicles are being developed for the mass car market worldwide in an effort to end our reliance on diesel and petrol powered cars. There are many advantages to doing this; it would reduce pressure on oil supplies and make more use of renewable and sustainable energy [...]

Award Winning Sustainable Children’s Centre: A Case Study

By |2021-05-24T08:22:39+00:00March 17, 2010|Case Studies|

An award winning children’s centre in a picturesque area of Wales is helping to keep the Rhondda Valley “green.” The valley, known across the globe from the classic film How Green Was My Valley, is home to the Rhydyfelin Children’s Centre which incorporates a range of environmental and energy saving [...]

What is the Carbon Disclosure Project?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:38+00:00March 17, 2010|Carbon Count - The Big Picture|

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is a UK-based initiative that is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. It was launched at 10 Downing Street back in 2000 with the intention of compiling, recording and making use of information on climate change. It is obvious that climate change is not something [...]

Do Timber Framed Houses Reduce Carbon Emissions?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:38+00:00March 16, 2010|Carbon Count - Home|

Most people in the UK live in brick built or stone built houses. Even the modern houses built on a budget that have breeze block walls have an external facing of brick. Concrete and steel are common components. This may make for very sturdy buildings but do we really need [...]

Generating Your Own Power: Government Schemes

By |2021-05-24T08:22:45+00:00March 9, 2010|Energy Sources|

Generating your own power has never made quite so much sense thanks to new government incentives. And if you’re planning a new build or renovation, then incorporating power generation into your design now makes sound financial – as well as environmental – sense. Under recently introduced schemes, people generating their [...]

The Inspiring Genesis Centre in Somerset: A Case Study

By |2021-05-24T08:22:39+00:00February 25, 2010|Case Studies|

A Construction Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE) at a UK college is an education in itself. The Genesis Centre at Somerset College in Taunton is a £2.5 million educational resource funded by the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) and the Learning and Skills Council. With education at the heart [...]

Sustainable Underlay for Wooden Floors

By |2021-05-25T13:26:03+00:00January 3, 2010|Wood Floors|

If you are laying wooden or laminate flooring and you've researched the sustainability of the flooring to the hilt you'll only be doing half the job if you ignore the underlay. Wooden flooring, whether it's glued or click-fit, needs to 'float' in order to let the boards expand and contract [...]

Recycling System for Safety Flooring

By |2021-05-25T13:26:03+00:00January 3, 2010|Sustainable Floors|

Recycling materials used in flooring has proved difficult in the past and relies on manufacturers taking their environmental responsibilities seriously. In some cases the environmental imperatives go against traditional economics but there is evidence that manufacturers are beginning to see that investment in green processes will bring increased sales as [...]

Sustainable Bases for Vinyl, Lino and Other Sheet Flooring

By |2021-05-25T13:26:03+00:00December 17, 2009|Sustainable Floors|

Many words have been written on this site about the sustainability of various sheet flooring materials available, comparing plastic surfaces like vinyl with more natural options like lino. But it is important to look at the flooring as a whole and that includes the supporting layer that often has to [...]

End of Life Options for Solid Flooring

By |2021-05-25T13:26:04+00:00December 10, 2009|Hard Flooring|

So what can you do with your old solid flooring once you have decided to replace it? We're talking here about sheet flooring made from lino (linoleum), vinyl and other plastics but it's important to know the material, or at least to know if it's lino or plastic based. Some [...]

Reusing Carpet at the End of Its Life

By |2021-05-25T13:26:04+00:00December 9, 2009|Sustainable Carpets|

The subject of sustainable flooring is a wide and varied one and there are a number of aspects that need to be looked at when comparing the sustainability of different products. When it comes to carpet the usual approach is to look at the sustainability of the raw materials and [...]

Red Kite House – a Sustainable Build: A Case Study

By |2021-05-24T08:22:46+00:00December 2, 2009|Case Studies|

Red Kite House in Oxfordshire is a shining example of a new build project which ticks all the boxes when it comes to environmental awareness. The building, home to a regional office of the Environment Agency, replaced eight smaller offices in different areas so it immediately had a positive impact [...]

Why You Should Use ‘Green’ Paint

By |2021-05-24T08:22:41+00:00November 17, 2009|Green Buildings|

Whether you’re planning a new build, renovation or just redecorating your home, your choice of paint is important both to your family’s health and the environment. Despite the fact that the dangers of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are now well known, most traditional paints are still very bad news. Due [...]

The UK’s First Low Carbon Town

By |2021-05-24T08:22:33+00:00November 17, 2009|Carbon Neutral Homes|

The UK’s first low carbon town in South Wales was a mammoth undertaking and involved making around 40,000 existing homes much more energy efficient. The scheme, involving private homes, was set up in the town of Aberdare in the Cynon Valley - once at the heart of iron making and [...]

Building Materials: Buy Local and Buy Natural

By |2021-05-24T08:22:29+00:00November 17, 2009|Types of Construction|

When you’re looking for building materials, buying locally instead of ordering from afar has many advantages for your local community and the environment. You will be contributing to lowering carbon emission levels and saving resources by reducing the carbon miles involved in transporting the goods and you should also save [...]

How to Have a Healthy Home

By |2021-05-24T08:22:40+00:00November 10, 2009|Carbon Neutral Homes|

According to experts, air pollution is the main cause of virtually all respiratory problems – and the pollution could be higher inside your home than outdoors. Air pollution can cause a myriad of health problems, the least serious of which include headaches, blurred vision, sore throat, dizziness and difficulty in [...]

Wood Burning and Environmental Impact: Facts

By |2021-05-25T20:49:38+00:00October 6, 2009|Energy-FAQ|

The early 21st Century has seen the sort of time-warp that Dr Who himself would be proud of, as more and more homes have gone back to burning wood – hundreds of years after it was largely abandoned, firstly in favour of coal and then subsequently, oil, gas and electricity. [...]

Top Tips for a Smaller Carbon Footprint

By |2021-05-25T20:49:38+00:00October 6, 2009|Energy Tips|

Every year, each of us in the UK is responsible for an average of around 14 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – once you’ve factored in things like flying, which don’t appear in the official government figures. We all know about trying to reduce our carbon footprint and, of course, [...]

Top Tips for Lower Impact Transport

By |2021-05-25T20:49:38+00:00October 6, 2009|Energy Tips|

Transport accounts for about a third of all the energy used in the UK and while industrial consumption has halved since 1970, according to University of Warwick figures, fuel usage on the roads has almost tripled over the same period. Something in the region of 55 million tonnes of oil [...]

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Renewable Energy?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:39+00:00October 2, 2009|Energy Quizzes|

Everyone’s talking about renewable energy and we all know that if we’re really serious about sustainable living and low carbon lifestyles, then it’s the way to go. Wind, wave, solar or biomass – whichever one you choose you’re doing your bit, right? But that’s the thing – which one do [...]

Quiz: How Much of an Energy Expert Are You?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:39+00:00October 1, 2009|Energy Quizzes|

We’re all aware that we need to be saving energy, lowering our bills and cutting our carbon footprints – after all we’re constantly being bombarded by information and adverts to remind us to do our bit. The only problem is that for many of us, with such a range of [...]

Five Ways to Save Energy in the Kitchen

By |2021-05-25T20:49:39+00:00October 1, 2009|Energy Tips|

According to some estimates, the kitchen accounts for some 20 per cent or more of the energy used in our homes – making it a great place to start cutting those bills and lessening that carbon footprint. You certainly don’t have to change all your appliances to get started and [...]

Sustainable and Non Slip Flooring for Concrete Based Commercial Property

By |2021-05-25T13:26:04+00:00September 23, 2009|Sustainable Floors|

Providing non-slip flooring for industrial and commercial properties is an absolute must. Apart from the reduced cost to businesses from the disruption and lost days caused by injuries from trips and falls, the blame culture that the United Kingdom appears to be inheriting from the USA means that businesses are [...]

Non Toxic and Sustainable Flooring Suitable for Children

By |2021-05-25T13:26:04+00:00September 22, 2009|Sustainable Floors|

Finding suitable eco-friendly and non-toxic flooring materials for families with children can be a taxing affair. You want to be aware of the impact on the environment of the manufacture of the flooring and at the same time, sustainable and eco-friendly flooring options are often inherently non-toxic so it sounds [...]

A University Renovation : A Case Study

By |2021-05-24T08:22:46+00:00August 20, 2009|Case Studies|

An award-winning project at the University of Surrey has led to an impressive “newish” campus without the impact of demolition and rebuild. Surrey, like many universities in Britain, had a number of buildings from the late 1960s and 1970s, which were looking dated, had major fenestration failures and were becoming [...]

Self Sufficient Housing Developments: A Case Study

By |2021-05-24T08:22:30+00:00August 15, 2009|Case Studies|

When looking for good examples of sustainable build, there can be few more fitting candidates than Nottinghamshire’s Hockerton Housing Project (HHP). Over the past few years, Hockerton - the UK’s first earth-sheltered, self sufficient ecological housing development - has helped to educate people from across the globe about “green” developments, [...]

New Build or a Renovation – Which is Greener?

By |2021-05-24T08:22:34+00:00August 13, 2009|Green Buildings|

For decades it seems the British were obsessed with new buildings and no mercy was shown to traditional – and often beautiful architecture - which stood in the way. Fortunately, many older buildings are now protected by listed building status and planners finally seem to be coming around to the [...]

Guide to Green Energy and the Rules That Apply in the UK

By |2021-05-24T08:22:43+00:00August 13, 2009|Energy Sources|

When domestic solar panels first became available in the UK, many families were keen to “green” their homes and save on electricity. Unfortunately, thousands were put off by the need to apply for planning permission from their local council before they could install the panels. Happily, this is no longer [...]

Sustainable and Economic Flooring for Free: A Case Study

By |2021-05-25T13:26:04+00:00August 6, 2009|Case Studies|

In the quest to live a sustainable life the three key words are reduce, reuse and recycle and flooring, whether it's carpet or solid flooring like wood, tiles or laminate, should be a prime candidate for reuse and recycling at least. We spoke to Jim Derry in North Yorkshire who [...]

The Retailer’s Role in Sustainable Carpet

By |2021-05-25T13:26:04+00:00August 5, 2009|Sustainable Carpets|

With the vast majority of carpet waste, whether it's new cut-offs or worn out carpet, ending up in landfill it's no surprise that in these increasingly eco-aware times the UK government is considering turning its attention to the carpet and flooring sector to improve reuse and recycling. Carpet and Landfill [...]

Eco Friendly Underlay Options

By |2021-05-25T13:26:04+00:00August 4, 2009|Sustainable Carpets|

Underlay is as important as the flooring that goes over it, providing insulation from noise and preventing heat from escaping. Modern foam backed carpets are often laid without underlay but there's nothing to stop consumers putting underlay down as well to increase the amount of insulation. Traditional Underlay Old-style underlay [...]

How Eco Friendly Are Carpet Cleaning Machines?

By |2021-05-25T13:26:04+00:00August 4, 2009|Sustainable Floors|

In our article on eco-friendly carpet cleaning we looked at the different substances that can be used to clean carpets, assessing the extent to which these substances can harm the environment. In this article we take eco-friendly cleaning a stage further, looking specifically at carpet cleaning machines to assess their [...]

What Does the Future Hold for Sustainable Flooring?

By |2021-05-25T13:26:04+00:00August 4, 2009|Sustainable Floors|

So what does the future hold for sustainable flooring? In a world where consumers are getting more and more conscious of the effect of their buying decisions, a world where climate change will affect the way we live in the UK, what trends and products will appear? Climate Change and [...]

Electric Underfloor Heating: An Alternative Choice?

By |2021-05-25T13:26:04+00:00August 4, 2009|Sustainable Floors|

Underfloor heating is slowly catching on in the UK although it is still largely reserved for prestige new build homes as it is time-consuming, and therefore expensive, to fit compared to conventional radiators. But underfloor heating does require lower temperature water than radiators and this lower energy requirement is what [...]

Heating Classrooms With “Wasted” Heat: A Case Study

By |2021-05-24T08:22:43+00:00July 23, 2009|Case Studies|

Many large organisations use CHP (combined heat and power) to produce electricity and hot water – but what about the “wasted” output of low grade heat? In the majority of cases, this excess heat is just dumped into atmosphere – when it could be serving a useful purpose. At the [...]

The Best Options for Outdoor Surfaces

By |2021-05-24T08:22:26+00:00July 6, 2009|Sustainable Design|

Just 20 years ago, most gardens in Britain had a lawn. Usually, it covered most of the garden – with a few bushes, flower beds or features such as a pergola to break the monotony of it all. But since then, more and more householders have opted to replace their [...]

What is the Best Eco-friendly Flooring for Our Child’s Room

By |2021-05-25T15:17:12+00:00June 3, 2009|Ask Our Experts|

This is a bit of a dilemma because as far as sustainable and non-toxic flooring goes the easy choices are solid flooring materials, but they generally go against the desire for something comfortable. Solid Flooring Options Lino, for example, ticks all the boxes as a natural, safe, environmentally friendly and [...]

How Can I Extract the Heat in Flues?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:39+00:00May 19, 2009|Energy Experts|

The principle of heat recovery is very straightforward – passing hot combustion gases over a heat exchanger of some kind to extract as much heat as possible before venting them to the atmosphere. In practical terms, at its simplest, this can involve little more than routing the flue through other [...]

Using Bacteria to Produce Alternative Fuels

By |2021-05-25T20:49:39+00:00April 21, 2009|Carbon Count - The Big Picture|

Although fossil fuels have many disadvantages and are steadily running out, the power stations that they currently power do have a serious advantage over many types of alternative fuel powered systems. Fossil fuels provide consistent and reliable power. Wind power only supplies electricity when there is plenty of wind; solar [...]

Which City Will Be Fossil Fuel Free First?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:39+00:00April 20, 2009|Carbon Count - The Big Picture|

There are many projects ongoing throughout the world to reduce carbon emissions and therefore slow down global warming and climate change by switching from fossil fuels to sources of renewable energy. But perhaps one of the most ambitious is the plan by the Danish city of Frederkshavn, a port in [...]

We Reduced the Carbon Footprint of Our Wedding: A Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:39+00:00April 20, 2009|Carbon Count - Case Studies|

Alice and Nathan were planning to get married in December 2007 but the ceremony was postponed until June 2008. “We hadn’t fallen out,” laughs Alice, “we decided to wait another six months so that we could reduce the carbon footprint of our wedding day and have as close to a [...]

Our Business is Carbon Neutral: A Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:39+00:00April 19, 2009|Carbon Count - Case Studies|

James is a manager in a shop in Bristol specialising in organic beauty products that are made from natural ingredients, some sourced from exotic locations such as sustainable developments near to tropical rainforests. “We have always tried to have an ethical business and formed partnerships with people and enterprises in [...]

Track Your Carbon Footprint by Mobile Phone

By |2021-05-25T20:49:39+00:00April 19, 2009|Carbon Count - Travelling|

Many people want to reduce the environmental impact of their activities by reducing their carbon footprint. But how do we know the exact value of our carbon footprint in the first place? Online calculators can help but deciding the carbon footprint of different modes of travel is particularly tricky. To [...]

Eco Buildings: Can They Really Be Carbon Neutral?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:39+00:00April 19, 2009|Carbon Count - Home|

The very quick answer is, yes, they can and they will actually have to be. Legislation in the UK is going to make it compulsory for all new homes built from 2016 to be completely carbon neutral and the same rule will apply to all commercial buildings from 2019. There [...]

Using Wind Up Technology to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

By |2021-05-25T20:49:39+00:00April 18, 2009|Carbon Count - Entertainment|

If you want a fun way to reduce your carbon footprint by reducing your consumption of fossil fuels when using gadgets, it is now possible to buy a range of gizmos and gadgets that are powered by winding them up. All incorporate a winding handle and an effective dynamo that [...]

Composting: What You Might Not Know

By |2021-05-25T20:49:40+00:00April 10, 2009|Energy Facts Trivia|

Gardeners and horticulturalists have been encouraging waste plant material to break down to form nutrient-rich compost for centuries – and using it in pots to grow new plants, or to improve the condition of the soil. While the idea isn’t anything new, over the last couple of decades, more and [...]

I Saved Energy With Gadgets & Gizmos: A Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:39+00:00April 10, 2009|Energy Case Studies|

“It all sort of happened by accident,” laughs Madhuri Nahar. “I started out with a torch and it’s all just grown and grown from there!” On the way home from lectures one day, Madhuri called into the local convenience store to pick up a few groceries and sitting in a [...]

Whitehills Community Wind Power: A Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:40+00:00April 9, 2009|Energy Case Studies|

Take a drive along the main A98, following the coastline of the Moray Firth from Fochabers to Fraserburgh, in the rugged north east corner of Scotland, and you can’t fail to notice the clutch of wind turbines, towering above the surrounding countryside from miles away. Their hypnotically turning blades dominate [...]

What You Didn’t Know About Batteries

By |2021-05-25T20:49:40+00:00April 9, 2009|Energy Facts Trivia|

At the heart of many renewable energy systems, there lies a battery of one sort or another but when we focus on whether we’re using photovoltaic or wind power to generate our electricity, we often tend to forget this simple fact. We shouldn’t. The right battery can make the difference [...]

Going Solar on a Budget: A Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:40+00:00April 9, 2009|Energy Case Studies|

“The idea of going solar always appealed – I think it appeals to the vast majority of people. I mean you’d have to be mad not to want some free energy, now wouldn’t you? But the problem for most of us mere mortals with mortgages to meet, bills to pay [...]

Interesting Information About Biomass Fuels

By |2021-05-25T20:49:40+00:00April 9, 2009|Energy Facts Trivia|

‘Biomass’ is a word that we have all become increasingly aware of over recent years as the need to do something to break our ongoing dependence on fossil fuels has risen up the political and popular agenda – but first things first, just what is biomass? Strictly speaking, biomass is [...]

The Facts About Light Bulbs

By |2021-05-25T20:49:40+00:00April 9, 2009|Energy Facts Trivia|

With everyone advising you to replace your existing light bulbs with low energy ones – and supermarkets regularly offering to sell them to you at mega-cut prices – these unlikely household items have found themselves at the forefront of the energy-saving revolution. While we all know we should be using [...]

How One Company is Remanufacturing Carpet

By |2021-05-25T13:26:04+00:00April 6, 2009|Sustainable Carpets|

We hear a lot about using sustainable principles throughout the whole life cycle of a product, the so-called 'cradle to grave' approach. Carpet is no exception to this approach, or at least the need for it. Many carpet firms are publicising their environmental credentials but one firm in particular have [...]

Impact of Legislation on Sustainable Flooring

By |2021-05-25T13:26:04+00:00April 2, 2009|Sustainable Floors|

The manufacture and disposal of carpet and other flooring materials has been affected by a number of changes in legislation in recent years, some from the United Kingdom and others from Europe. The legislation that has been bought to bear should boost interest in sustainable flooring in two ways; firstly [...]

Composting Toilet: Clean Enough for Environment Agency?

By |2021-05-24T08:22:28+00:00April 2, 2009|Ask Our Experts|

Great! You should be commended for considering installing or creating your own composting toilet. Amongst the many reasons for their benefits to the environment are that they reduce domestic water use, cut down on chemicals and pollutants going into the septic system and then eventually the ground water, and finally [...]

How We Re-Used Cork Tiles in Our Bathroom: A Case Study

By |2021-05-25T13:26:04+00:00April 1, 2009|Case Studies|

Reusing carpet, tiles and other flooring materials is a great way of keeping them out of the landfill and using people's cast-offs doesn't seem as seedy now that the whole of the United Kingdom is obsessed with saving money. Reusing Makes Sense for Tenants Where it can really pay though [...]

Re-Using Carpet Tiles in a Garden Shed: A Case Study

By |2021-05-25T13:26:05+00:00April 1, 2009|Case Studies|

The virtues of carpet tiles, from a sustainability point of view, have been examined in a number of articles on this site. Here we look at a real life example where a committed recycler used surplus carpet tiles from an office to make a garden shed and summerhouse more comfortable. [...]

We Carpeted a Staircase for £20: A Case Study

By |2021-05-25T13:26:05+00:00April 1, 2009|Case Studies|

Renewing carpet during a home renovation can be an expensive affair, not only for the householders pocket but also for the planet. But a combination of being careful with money and a sense of ecological responsibility resulted in a great solution to a problem stair carpet in one couple's home. [...]

Overall Ecological Impact of Re-Using Flooring

By |2021-05-25T13:26:05+00:00March 31, 2009|Sustainable Floors|

The three 'R's of sustainability, reduce, reuse and recycle are often mentioned on this site. The point is that although it's good to recycle waste materials rather than throw them in landfill sites, it's actually far better if we can reduce the amount we use and throwaway in the first [...]

Re-Using Old Flooring Around the Home

By |2021-05-25T13:26:05+00:00March 31, 2009|Sustainable Floors|

Many flooring materials, if they can be reclaimed, are best re-used as flooring again. This is certainly true of wooden floorboards, stone and ceramic floor tiles. Some laminate flooring is often so full of chemicals that there are no safe uses for it once it's failed as a flooring. But [...]

I Went on a Carbon Diet: Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:40+00:00March 16, 2009|Carbon Count - Case Studies|

Gracie has always loved animals and watching a documentary about the plight of polar bears in the Arctic has really made her think more about the damage that human beings are doing to the natural environment. “I had heard all the stuff about global warming and, to be honest, I [...]

The Impact of Carbon Labelling

By |2021-05-25T20:49:40+00:00March 16, 2009|Carbon Count - Shopping|

The idea behind carbon labelling is to introduce new information onto the labels of food sold in supermarkets to show how much carbon dioxide has been produced in making that food and getting it to that supermarket. The first food to have carbon emissions information on its label was Walkers [...]

Is Paper Recycling Good for the Environment?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:40+00:00March 13, 2009|Carbon Count - The Big Picture|

The issue of whether it is better to reuse paper more than once or to just incinerate waste paper has been hotly debated. One thing is very clear; in general we use far too much paper and most of it is not put to very good use. Reducing the amount [...]

I Worked Out My Carbon Footprint: A Case Study

By |2021-05-25T20:49:40+00:00March 13, 2009|Carbon Count - Case Studies|

As a freelance writer, Claire thought calculating her carbon footprint would show that she had a footprint that was well below the national average. “I don’t travel to work, I use my car very rarely for business and I have decided not to take holidays abroad now because of the [...]

The Problem Of Defining Carbon Neutral

By |2021-05-25T20:49:40+00:00March 12, 2009|Carbon Count - The Big Picture|

The concept of being carbon neutral is relatively simple. To be carbon neutral, an individual or a household or a company must not release into the environment more carbon than they lock up. At its simplest, this means not using any carbon at all. In the distant past, a farmer [...]

When Will Fossil Fuels Run Out?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:40+00:00March 12, 2009|Carbon Count - The Big Picture|

The three fossil fuels, oil, natural gas and coal, were formed millions of years ago when dead plants and animals were trapped under deposits and became buried underneath land. Compression over time fossilised the remains, creating carbon-rich fuel sources. All fossil fuels are finite - the deposits that exist cannot [...]

Is Global Warming is Mythical?

By |2021-05-25T20:49:40+00:00March 11, 2009|Carbon Count - The Big Picture|

Very many of the world’s scientists have publicly stated that they believe that the atmosphere of the Earth is undergoing a phase of warming that is directly due to human activity. Since the industrial revolution, and particularly in the last 60 years or so, humans have been using fossil fuel [...]

Go to Top