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Building or transforming your own home is many people's dream and is the subject of many television property programmes. If you are building your own home then there is alot to consider and many ways to reduce or minimise your impact on the environment from initial design, carefully choosing the construction material and the construction methods and constuction waste, to the appliances you will be using. Hertfordshire’s Building Futures provides a useful information to help guide you through the stages to help you construction to be as sustainable as possible.

If you are thinking renovation you have the option to choose the greener route and the Building Futures Retrofit Guide is a good place to start.

Reclaimed Material

There is something to be said about reclaimed, pre-used and previously loved material. It has character, certain roughness and looks somewhat rustic. Whether it is bricks, timber, roof tiles or old sinks and baths, you can find a supplier of reclaimed material nearby. Or why not visit a salvage yard in Hertfordshire or London. Some of the biggest salvage yards in London include the Architectural Reclaim and Salvage Centre and Stoneage Salvage and Reclamation. Alternatively, browse Wastebook for possible suppliers of various reclaimed material.


Biomimicry is a new way of thinking about design. The evolution process has enabled nature to adapt to the changing environment - a new concept for us, centuries old for mother nature. Can we somehow use nature’s knowhow to our advantage? Some believe we can and they have gone as far as to start a biomimicry institute. One of the founding members (Jenine Benyus) produced a short film which will give you a taste of what biomimicry is all about. It is well worth watching as it has some excellent, if at times a bit unbelievable, takes on 21st century solutions. To get you started, take a look at the 15 coolest cases of biomimicry. A different take, yet equally interesting, is the engineering connections programme that is not always based in nature but uses lessons learnt from all walks of life.

How green is your home? Explore our interactive house for money saving tips and suggestions.