As part of my philosophy for sustainability, I include the following technical elements, wherever possible, in my services. Some of my clients have incorporated all of them into their plans, while others have included just one or two, as appropriate to their circumstances. My consultation service will assess your site and requirements and advise on the best technologies to meet your needs.
Greater self-sufficiency in energy, water and resources is a key part of a move towards a more sustainable way of living. As climate change escalates, it is essential that we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and non-renewable resources. And as these become scarcer, they will also become more expensive, so by opting for renewable alternatives we can also save money. Utilising alternative technology on a domestic scale is becoming increasingly practical and affordable. There is now much more choice within the various systems, and the costs have all become much more reasonable.
My designs for small buildings, such as changing rooms, workshops and studios, aim to incorporate natural materials such as timber and stone, recycled bricks and tiles, and second-hand items such as reclaimed doors and windows. Some can even have green roofs. My design skills ensure that the finished building is aesthetically pleasing and tailored to your location and your requirements.
This term refers to elements in the built landscape, such as retaining walls, paved surfaces, building roofs and ground stabilisation, that use plants in their construction. This not only improves their visual appearance by making them less harsh and overpowering but also allows for better ground drainage and overall functioning. Bio-engineering methods can also be used for the stabilisation of sloping ground which has been disturbed by developments.
The aim of water harvesting is to collect as much water as possible from the roofs of buildings and store it in suitable containers or tanks, generally underground, for re-use for functions such as flushing toilets, cleaning and garden watering. It is also ideal for washing clothes as the water is soft, eliminating the need for conditioners.
Waste Water Treatment
If you have a large garden and want to save water and the environment, the use of reed beds for the cleaning of your waste water is well worth considering. Reed beds are simply ponds into which liquid effluent – the solids having been removed – is channelled. It is then converted by the plants, the microbes and the chemical properties of the soil or gravel substrate into clear and clean water.
Renewable Energy Systems
There are four major ways in which energy can be obtained for free – from the sun, from wind, from water and from biomass (vegetation). The best option depends on the location and size of your property, as well as the capital outlay you wish to make and the payback period you require.
If you have a stream, why not take advantage and use it for the supply of electricity for your home or outbuildings? Water wheels were once widely used across the UK, and today streams can be harnessed as a reliable and consistent means of generating electricity using micro-hydro generators.
Solar power can offer water heating through the use of glass panels fixed to the roof of a building with a south-facing slope. Solar heating by photovoltaic cells converts the energy in light into electrical energy.
Wind has been used to generate power for centuries in this country, as can be seen by the very old windmills that are still in existence. Modern wind turbines for domestic use are very slim, not very high – around 30m – and do not cause any adverse impact on the rural landscape if sited correctly.
Wood is an ideal fuel for heating and cooking and can be used in various forms, from logs to pellets. Modern stoves make far more efficient use of timber possible, and in the case of pellets a hopper can be installed that does not need to be emptied for three days. The pellets are manufactured from waste wood products, and no chemicals are used in the process.