Now more than ever, a shift towards sustainable living is becoming more and more urgent.
At Neat Living our homes have been designed to minimize the impact on our environment and to stand the test of time.
Nine key elements to building a sustainable and future proof home.
When starting to plan your build, did you know that there are nine key elements that when combined together will make your building truly sustainable?
There is more to building an energy efficient home than adding some extra insulation, fitting some solar panels and hoping for the best, instead each Flex home starts with a high quality factory-built, fabric efficient structure.
Check out the nine elements for sustainable living.
A flush mounted and fully integrated Photovoltaic (PV) system enables you to generate electricity from your roof, whilst retaining a sleek aesthetic look. A PV system is a sustainable opportunity to become less reliant on the grid and fluctuations in grid prices working nicely with your highly thermally efficient Flex home.
In a future proof home, a Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery System (MVHR) system, monitors and maintains a flow of fresh clean air into your home, at the right level of humidity. The system filters out dust and allergens from incoming air, and removes unpleasant smells from the home. The clever part, in terms of heat recovery and reducing energy is that heat from the extracted air is transferred via a heat exchanger to preheat incoming air to help keep your home at a stable temperature.
Home Battery Storage
All of our homes have dedicated space to fit a battery storage solution now or in future – which is a great way to reduce reliance on energy from the grid especially during peak times. The battery can be charged using power from the PV roof or charging off lower tariff electricity overnight.
Triple glazed windows
Triple glazed high performance windows, doors and roof lights will give will give you excellent thermal performance, thanks to very low U-values across both window and frame. Aluminium clad windows and doors combine the environmental and aesthetic benefits of wood with the durability and low maintenance of an external aluminium skin. Windows and doors should be considered a long term investment – when the right materials are used in their construction, they can last up to 80 years.
Our homes are designed to be purely electric and therefore do not require connection to the gas grid – reducing capital costs, utility connections, maintenance charges and reduces your reliance on fossil fuels such as gas or oil. With an energy efficient Flex home, where most of the energy demand is for hot water generation, the demand for heating is reduced. Electric high retention storage heaters use off-peak energy when electricity is cheaper and release the heat the following the day which is a great way to go. Other heating solutions are available.
The new world norm of transport is increasingly electric. The exponential growth continues with people choosing to switch to electric or hybrid cars and vans with well over 200,000 on the road in the UK today. Having an electric car charger facility at home to charge a vehicle is an essential solution to future proof your life – and your visitors!
Sustainable and Natural materials
The super-insulated Advanced Timber Engineered Kit structure uses natural, non-carcinogenic and sustainable materials includes cellulose and wood fibre insulation which is robust, durable and has an excellent environmental profile. We promise to never use SIP floor and wall panels as a solution due to their embedded use of plastic within the SIP panel construction.
A building structure with a high level of airtightness reduces drafts and leaks and minimises energy loss from the building fabric. Considerable attention to airtightness takes place at design, manufacture and construction. Conversely, a building with poor air tightness credentials will be drafty and leak energy – year after year after year. Our Neat Living Flex homes are designed to achieve exceptional airtightness as standard – way in excess of current regulatory building standards
Thermal bridges are weak points in a building’s thermal envelope, that allow heat to travel between the interior and exterior of the building through conduction. Recent research has shown that thermal bridging can be responsible for up to 30% of a dwelling’s heat loss and it contributes to condensation and mould growth. Our response to thermal bridging includes the use a second outer layer of woodfibre insulation that covers the whole exterior of the building structure and this is a great way to solve thermal bridging issues.
Why don’t we use SIPs?
#1. Plastic SIPs are not sustainable
A Structural Insulated Panel System (SIP) is often cited as a sustainable or eco solution, because of its energy efficient credentials however, this is only part of the story and is worthy of closer inspection. SIPs are in fact a by-product of the oil industry and are made up of hydrocarbons to make various plastics; SIPs include polystyrene foam (EPS), extruded polystyrene foam (XPS), polyisocyanurate foam, polyurethane foam, or composite honeycomb (HSC). These hydrocarbons are locked into the wall and roof of SIP homes until they are demolished.
#2. Do you really want to live in a house constructed using plastics?
No, we didn’t think so! There is a growing global backlash towards the use of plastics. We strongly advocate that modern buildings which require a high level of airtightness, should be built using materials such as wood fibre or cellulose insulation and membranes which offer excellent breathability and environmental credentials – as these facilitate the egress of vapour and moisture from inside to outside of the building, much like a GoreTex jacket, to provide a comfortable and healthy living environment.
#3. Changing buying behaviour
Throughout the UK, as with the rest of the world, the population is rapidly becoming increasingly aware and concerned about the use of plastics, of carbon emissions and wider environmental considerations. Already many people today see electric powered vehicle is becoming the new norm because they’re efficient, clean and fun to drive. Similar attitude changes also apply to housing because the next generation of savvy buyers will actively seek out sustainable solutions and make the right choice.
#4. Stranded financial assets
Financial institutions including lenders and insurance companies are increasingly concerned about long term property valuations and the risks of so called stranded assets with poor environmental profiles. Instead, the design of our homes, using the Advanced Timber Engineered Kit System has followed a sustainable path using natural renewable materials wherever we can.