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Living sustainably, building sustainably

What makes modern eco-homes so interesting

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Colourful, clumsily cobbled-together wood cabins, caravan communes in the back-to-nature style, alternative materials that cost too much and ultimately don’t really fulfil their purpose: The list of prejudices against eco-houses isn’t just long; it’s also out of date. Eco-homes are becoming increasingly popular – and not for no reason. In no small part due to the neo-ecology megatrend , we know that growing numbers of people aspire to a way of life that is resource-efficient, environmentally responsible and as carbon-neutral as possible. The way in which we build our homes and live in them plays a crucial part in this – and anyone who wants to do their bit for environmental and climate protection by building their own home has a broad choice of design possibilities that are fit for the future with prefabricated eco-homes.

Exterior view of an eco-house

The more sustainably we want to live, the more sustainably we’ll need to build, too. Eco-homes are just the thing for this. (Photo: Trim Robberstad, Unsplash)

Eco-houses: just a trend or a meaningful development?

What are prefabricated eco-houses exactly? The first thing we should point out is that there isn’t a universal definition of an eco-home. This means that whether or not a house is an eco-dwelling depends on how you interpret “eco”.

But anyone who wants to build an environmentally friendly home will quickly come across manufacturers of prefabricated eco-houses made from wood and other sustainable, regrowing raw materials. These companies have specialised in construction that is as eco-friendly and as efficient as possible. And they are giving the staid image of prefabricated housing a sustainable rebrand. This starts with the facade materials and continues with the windows, doors and insulation, all the way through to the interior decor, such as the wall colours – and let’s not forget electricity generation and heating. Conserving resources during the construction process is not the only consideration: Using natural materials for insulation ensures that an eco-house remains energy-efficient and sustainable in the long run.

 Exterior view of an eco-house

The advantages and disadvantages of eco-houses

The advantages:

Sustainable materials are a prerequisite for eco-houses. It’s no wonder, then, that many eco-homes are designed as timber houses – and that comes with many benefits. Wood is not just a regrowing raw material ; it also has many characteristics that come in useful in homebuilding. For example, wood has low thermal conductivity and hence ensures a good U-value – that is, a good rating for heat loss. In addition, it not only emits less CO2 during the production process than other materials, but also binds carbon until it is used as a construction material. What’s more, timber houses are especially attractive for allergy sufferers because wood doesn’t release allergy-triggering substances, as conventional brick houses can do.

Energy efficiency
With modern constructions and natural insulation, it’s easy to meet the Efficiency House standards set by the KfW bank for energy efficiency. This means that prefabricated eco-houses are generally eligible for grants from the German development bank. The amount of funding homebuilders can claim varies depending on the eco-house. Added to which, there are low heating costs and, potentially, an autarkic power supply, both of which can reduce the costs of running an eco-home in the long run.

Modern design
Growing numbers of architects are devoting themselves to designing eco-homes. It often makes little difference whether the building is custom-designed or prefabricated. Even in the latter case, it is rarely a loveless, off-the-peg construction. Instead, the design can often be customised to suit personal preferences. Sustainable living without sacrificing style: This is what modern (prefabricated) eco-homes promise.

The disadvantages:

An eco-house is usually more expensive than a conventional home of a similar size. On one hand, this is due to the materials selected. In some cases, they are locally produced at a high cost compared to conventional artificial materials. On the other hand, many different experts are needed to construct an eco-dwelling to ensure an end result that meets all the expectations.

Personal responsibility
Even the most efficient prefabricated eco-home becomes less efficient if biomaterials aren’t used for the interior construction.

The future is eco

Eco-houses no longer correspond by any means to the prejudices sometimes attached to them. Modern, architect-designed houses are taking the place of hippy timber cabins. If we want to lead environmentally friendly and sustainable lives in the future, there is simply no way around eco-homes.

After all, the only way to be more environmentally sustainable than a prefabricated eco-house is usually a complete renovation .

Something else there’s no way around: the next edition of imm cologne – register now to secure your trade fair stand !