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How does green building affect house design?

Architect Julian Owen explores how a careful approach to planning a property can result in an energy-efficient structure with a low carbon footprint, made with minimum waste
The Denby Dale Passivhaus project by Green Building Store ( was the UK’s first cavity wall constructed house to be Passivhaus certified.

Most people are familiar with the benefits of building in accordance with green design principles, particularly when it comes to reducing energy consumption. But the term is actually much broader than this and includes various aspects of construction, from using materials that are less harmful to the environment through to reducing demand on services, such as mains water and drainage.

Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to making a house greener. One is to hide environmentally-friendly elements as much as possible to preserve the illusion of traditional construction. An alternative strategy is to develop new building techniques that reflect and celebrate the ideas behind green design. Taking this approach creates contemporary and individual looking houses; in fact, it opens up a wide variety of styles.

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About Build It

The July edition of Build It magazine brings you a wealth of information to help make a success of your self build, renovation, extension or conversion project – including: • A modern eco home built for just £77,000 (page 44) • Top flooring options (page 65) • Solar PV & battery storage (page 68) • Sliding doors vs bifolds (page 73) • 10 top tips for self builders (page 101) • Design ideas for awkward plots (page 110) … and more!