The Environment and our Local Communities
In the UK over the last twenty years we have all become much more aware of how the way we live impacts on the environment and in different ways we are adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle. There is now recycling on a community wide scale - not just through council refuse collection services but with recycling bins provided in shopping centres and towns to enable people to recycle their cans, bottles and food packaging responsibly.
Schools are teaching our children about sustainability and environmental awareness through schemes such as Eco-Schools in which classes follow a seven step programme of reducing waste, saving water and addressing environmental issues in their centre of learning. These programmes also teach our children the importance of protecting our natural resources and instill in them the need for conservation.
Television and the media are constantly reminding us of the need to conserve our resources and live in an eco-friendly manner. The financial benefits of renewable energies and zero carbon footprint housing is always at the fore and therefore it is no surprise that the demand for eco-friendly housing is high and new build environmentally sound housing is very popular. There are even estate agents in the UK that specialise in marketing eco-friendly homes and finding properties with environmentally friendly features for tenants and purchasers. Because the supply of eco-friendly housing is still fairly limited, prices for these properties is usually high and increasing demand is only pushing prices up higher. Some of these homes are relatively cheap to make meaning that profits can be high for developers. There are now estates of housing specially designed in eco-friendly communities as well as one off homes that have been designed by individuals and then resold on the market, sometimes at very high prices.
A brand new, modular eco-home can now be purchased for between £90,000 and £210,000 and constructed on your own land or you can choose a newly built home on one of many estates across the country that are suitable for family living and have a low carbon footprint for somewhere in the region of £300,000 to £400,000. There are also striking examples of bespoke properties with a whole host of eco-friendly features from wind turbines to underfloor heating, ground heat pumps, triple glazed windows and rainwater collection tanks that are on the market for over £1 million. Of course, it's always possible to build your own eco-home from natural materials for as little as £4,000 - as long as you're prepared to put in the work. There are now plenty of courses available that can teach you the best ways to build a low cost environmentally friendly house out of sustainable resources.
It is clear that the world is changing and reducing our carbon footprint as a nation is vital. If we are to meet the government's future targets, we must all begin to take responsibility and aim to reduce our energy and resource consumption in a variety of ways. If we begin with the small steps of recycling and conserving, soon it will become normal practice to live sustainably and an eco-friendly home will no longer be something unusual, it will simply be the place where we live.