This article follows previous ones on factors of the reason to build, where to build, what type of house to build and what social factors to put in mind before getting down to building your own house.
The environment is one of the most universal sources of concern the world over. Environmental impact assessment is one of the statutory requirements of any form of development envisaged today. It should therefore be borne in mind that even before you go for the professional advice, there are basics as far as this subject is concerned. These are mandatory requirements that are not easy to go around and which are your moral obligation as a developer.
The first has to do with where you intend to construct your house. Where is the land situated in relation to a river for example? How many trees will you cut down in order to create space for the said construction? What species of trees and other vegetation are you going to cut down? Do they exist elsewhere? Is any of these endangered or protected? How many animals or birds will you displace? How stable is the ground as pertains to landslides or soil erosion? All these questions are worth of your answers.
The other issue to consider is what comes out of your new house and goes to the environment. The most obvious here is waste management and disposal. The said waste goes beyond the usual sewage and kitchen waste. These will need to be safely disposed off so that it does not in any way contaminate your environment. There are many options here. A conservancy, for example, will work very well in secluded and vegetated areas where space is readily available. This will even form and maintain a new ecosystem! This is however not possible in other areas, where a septic tank will work better. But does a sewer system pass nearby? There is however some other forms of contamination or pollution that are not perceived as detrimental to the environment while they surely are. A good example is noise from your generator and smoke from your chimney. Did you know that shinny roofing sheets are a source of pollution, especially when they reflect sunlight? Very bright lights at night in an otherwise dark surrounding could also be regarded as pollution as they hamper the normal environmental patterns. Tarmac roads in vegetated areas have been known to stop the normal animal movement, especially in forest ecosystems.
Sourcing water is also another environmental issue that one needs to think about before they build. Fetching a lot of water from a neighbourhood stream, for example, may impede the normal flow or even drain it completely. Sinking a borehole may lower the water table, rendering an area even drier! Green building is a concept in construction that seeks to answer to the environmental woes brought about by construction. It involves things like tapping into solar and wind power as energy sources, rainwater harvesting and incorporating green spaces in the design. These and similar concepts ensure that we take a step towards conserving our precious environment.