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Green designs

Options for living sustainably

Energy efficiency

Our buildings use a huge amount of energy. Most energy in our homes is used by gas heating equipment. Nearly a quarter of the electricity used in the UK is used by household appliances and lighting. Many people have appliances such as washing machines and TVs, and new services such as digital TV and broadband increase our use of energy. How can we save energy in our homes?

Source: Defra

What a waste!

Think about the house you live in and the ways in which you use energy at home.

In pairs, think of ten questions that you can ask others to find out how much energy is wasted. You can ask questions about:

  • what electrical equipment is used at home

  • the number and type of light bulbs in the house

  • how often the heating is on

  • whether the house is insulated

Electrical equipment left on standby or phone chargers left plugged in use up around £650 million worth of electricity – that's around £25 per household.

So switch it off! Other energy saving tips include only boiling enough water in the kettle as needed, and using energy saving light bulbs which can last up to 12 times longer than ordinary ones and use a quarter of the electricity. Turning our thermostats down by 1°C could save every household £40 per year!

Find out more:

Green solutions

Instead of depending on our energy coming from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gas, some households are now looking at using renewable energy such as solar and wind energy. The UK is the windiest country in Europe and even on a cloudy day, enough sunlight gets through to provide some solar power.

Most buildings in the UK are cooled in summer by opening windows. But as our summers get warmer we may be simply letting more warm air in. The buildings that are at highest risk are those that lack shading from direct sunlight and have poor ventilation. So will our houses become similar to those in the Mediterranean where shutters are used to provide shade but windows can also be opened to provide ventilation during the day?

Design a house

Your task is to design a house built for the changing climate of hotter summers and wetter winters in the UK. Think about:

  • the most efficient use of energy

  • sustainable building materials

  • energy sources for the building

Download information about important design features.

Sell it!

You are going to persuade a building developer to build your house design for the changing climate in the UK. Design a one page leaflet to promote your design. 

  • What features are you going to highlight?

  • Use short sentences

  • Include a plan of your design

  • Try it out on the rest of the class

Find out more about new housing developments and new office buildings.

  • Download adaptations to architecture

  • Download the CIS Tower