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04/08/2008

Sustainable, ecological or energy efficient homes: What are they all about?

We are currently going through a period of change in many levels. There is a change in the world climate with intense phenomena which were not expected to happen so soon. Our homes are wasting so much energy that they make the problem worse. At the same time there is a change in the world economy increasing the cost of buying and maintaining a property. Sustainable homes may benefit home owners as well as the environment.

In order to understand better what we mean with the term ‘sustainable' we will refer to the  Code for Sustainable Homes as defined in Wikipedia. The Code was officially launched on December 13, 2006, and was introduced as a voluntary standard in England in 2007. The Code complements the system of Energy Performance Certificate for new homes introduced in April 2008 under the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

The code works by awarding new homes a star rating from 1 to 6, based on their performance against 9 sustainability criteria which are combined to assess the overall environmental impact. One star is entry level above building regulations, and six stars are the highest, reflecting exemplary developments in terms of sustainability.

The sustainability criteria by which new homes are measured are:

  • Energy and CO2 Emissions - Operational Energy and resulting emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere
  • Water - The consumption of potable water from the public supply systems or other ground water resources
  • Materials - The environmental impact of construction materials for key construction elements
  • Surface Water Run-off - The change in surface water run-off patterns as a result of the development
  • Waste - Waste generated as a result of the construction process and facilities encouraging recycling of domestic waste in the home
  • Pollution - Pollution resulting from the operation of the dwelling
  • Health and Well-Being - The effects that the dwelling's design and indoor environment has on its occupants
  • Management - Steps that have been taken to allow good management of the environmental impacts of the construction and operation of the home
  • Ecology - The impact of the dwelling on the local ecosystem, bio-diversity and land use

So the above sound great about the environment but what about the benefit of the home owner or residents? Research has shown that 75% of the temperature of a property is lost through its walls and roof. This means that maintaining the temperature we want costs us a lot of money either by using heating mechanisms or air conditioning. Especially in countries like Greece where heating oil is used widely for most properties, which at the moment has reached an all time high price due to the oil crisis. At the same time, any artificial type of temperature maintenance has an impact on our human organism. Extensive usage of air conditioning tends to dry off the air or recycle some types of germs. Heating can increase humidity and create breathing problems to an extent.

Having a sustainable home or bio climatic or energy efficient home makes a difference. For example, a study is conducted before constructing the property so that the insulation of the house is done with specialized material; according to the micro climate of the area the house is going to be located. It may cost a little bit more to buy a sustainable home but over time the energy savings will repay the owner. Some analysts have defined this time frame to 10 years. At the end of the day this type of property is better for the world that we will leave to our children, while at the same time it benefits all of us as home owners in terms of savings and quality of life. 

Andreas Batakis has lived in Greece, Ireland and Cyprus, acquiring a Business Administration Degree in Greece, an International Marketing Diploma and a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management in Ireland. He is also a member of the UK based Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Andreas has extensive experience in helping people from all over the world to locate a home in Crete and is a founding member of the independent consultancy Talos Properties.

Talos properties was created in order to guide and protect all of you who wish to acquire a property in Crete via offering you a wide range of choices as well as professional advice in property related matters. For more information please access the Talos Properties website at: http://www.talosproperties.com

tel: 0030 6977815496

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