Accessible Granny Flats and Eco-Friendly too

Accessible Granny Flats – and Eco-Friendly, at That.

When it comes to caring for sick or disabled elderly parents, people in countries like Spain and Portugal are more likely to take their parents into their own homes, rather than use any residential services that are available in their individual countries.  In England, residential care is higher on the agenda, as caring for a parent could mean giving up one’s job or travelling great distances, whilst trying to maintain an equal level of care for one’s spouse and children.  If only the distance wasn’t so great, or if only you could reduce your hours, to take on that extra responsibility, the problem could be solved more easily.

Maybe the distance is the most difficult factor as, if your mother or father lived closer, each member of the family could take some of the responsibility on board. However, there could be the issue of space, as not everyone can boast a room that is doing nothing.  A good option could be to make use of a recycled shipping container that can be made into a granny flat in quite a record time, as companies like My Space Pod can fit out these containers with all the mod-cons and address any special access needs at the same time, to make a perfect modular building for any single person that should have need to use it.

Planning for that Eco-Friendly Delivery.

Of course, it’s not just a case of having the fitted granny flat dropped into your back garden as, with all new constructions, planning permission needs to be sought. We all cringe at officialdom but My Space Pod’s site does an excellent job of delivering planning guidelines in a user-friendly format (http://www.myspacepod.co.uk/planning-guidelines.pdf ).  At a glance, you can see what’s acceptable and what isn’t, so you can quickly decide if the shipping container home is a viable option. And while you’re busy getting on with life and the extra responsibility that the distance illness or disability has brought about, the experts on the My Space Pod team can address the paperwork and, once permission has been granted, the fitting and delivery of that granny flat can be done in as little as twenty six weeks.  Once in place, your life will become much more organised, as you will no longer be using your time to travel great distances or indeed filling your petrol tank more often, to dash from one responsibility to another.  This could be a win-win situation for everyone: the ailing or disabled individual gets closer attention and the younger family members can give instant support, without wondering how they are going to fit it in to their already busy day.  Such closeness will also have a positive psychological effect on all concerned, as reciprocal care really means a lot to all involved.

Eco-Friendly Changes through the Years

‘Eco-friendly home’ is a term that has been around for years and how people have interpreted that term has changed over time. Over the years, we have heard of solar power, double-glazing for added insulation and even recycling water but today, we talk about carbon footprints, zero emissions, photovoltaic systems and many other strange descriptions, words that have come with advanced knowledge.

Houses have been made out of tyres, bales of straw, bottles and even caves have been adapted to create a greener home.

•    With tyres, I really did believe that these would be all lined up and an undulating wall would be the result but it seems that the same tyres can be compressed and tied into smaller and more compact shapes, to resemble building blocks.  That gives me a much better understanding of how tyres can insulate a house.  In fact, I can even feel the warmth in my mind.

•    Bales of straw can also make fine walls.  Again, I couldn’t get my head round this until I was told that once they are packed into place on concrete foundations, they will be strengthened with cement, to make whole walls which won’t be eaten away by mice and other rodents.  Again, I can see how such a wall can provide excellent insulation though, at this moment, the tyres definitely have my vote.

•    A wall made from bottles seems a strange idea and, although some walls are made with bottles lying flat, it seems that bottles standing like bottles can make quite a sturdy wall.  These are held in place with cement and again, you have good insulation, as the empty bottles act like that well-known vacuum flask, keeping what is inside warm as a result of the empty space that exists between the inner and outer walls.  This isn’t my cup of tea but I can almost understand the mathematics.

•    The cave idea seems sensible, when you understand that heat is held within the soil as little as ten feet below the surface and the interior walls of the cave back on to that same soil and don’t have to fight off heavy winds or vicious winters.  Such a home won’t have a roof open to the elements so, with only the front of your house exposed, your cave home is being hugged by the land, a very warm place indeed.  Caves have acted as shelter over the centuries and, in Galera in the Andalusian province of southern Spain, caves still used today hold a constant temperature of between 16 and 18 degrees C, even when the winters bring minus15 degrees centigrade and the summers boast 40 degrees and more.  I can feel that comfortable temperature and appreciate the savings on the heating bill.

The Latest Eco-Friendly Homes.

Although these building ideas are still popular today, we are now talking about modular buildings and even recycled shipping containers, the latter of which can be bought cheaply and then adapted to contain all of the elements of a green building.  The metal container itself is very durable and has proved to stand up to extreme weather conditions, so we’re not just talking about using them on private land in England but also in disaster areas and even in war zones.

For those of us who are not into DIY, or live such busy lives that picking up a screwdriver is only a dream, there are companies out there, such as My Space Pod, who adapt the shipping containers to meet the individual’s requirements.  Buying a home of this nature is much cheaper, as you can start off small then add on at a later date so, instead of paying a heavy mortgage in instalments, you can build your house in instalments, finding the finance and adding space as you need it.  That saves you paying for a huge house that you might need in the future, as you are only paying for what you need in that moment.

Once you have your eco-friendly home up and running, it’s time to address what goes on inside, because even the household products you use contribute to the whole picture of going green.  This part is a little easier though, even if it is an ongoing thing!

Why an Eco-Friendly Home is the Best Choice

It’s all right to say that you would like to live in an eco-friendly home but do you know what to look for?  If it’s the first time you have thought of such things, you should do some fact-finding, before spending your money.

An eco-friendly home is going to use systems which don’t sap the earth of its energies.  In return, adopting these new systems will save you money in the long run so, while you’re doing your bit towards saving the planet, there’s a personal gain too.

Different Ways of Getting Your Own Eco-Friendly Home.

An eco-friendly home can be achieved by adapting your own home or by building from scratch but, while the first will prove inconvenient and disruptive, the second may take as long as two years to complete. A third and very successful method is to build a new home from recycled shipping containers, which offers a cheaper home within the much shorter period of around twenty six weeks, once planning permission has been granted.

The beauty of a container-home is that it is made of corrosion-proof steel, it isn’t going to leak in and it’s invasion-proof from woodworm or vermin.  Its exterior will look how you want it to look, within the regulations set by the area in which you live.  The cladding used will enhance its appearance, so that it doesn’t show its inner core, making your new home blend into the local landscape and look as attractive as any other new-build.

What Systems Will My Eco-Friendly Home Have in Place?

Once you’ve decided on which approach you’re going to take, there are many installations that will make your home eco-friendly:-

Heating and Hot Water. Solar heating means taking energy from the sun and this will save on your electricity bill.  There is also a system of collecting subterranean heat, which involves laying plastic tubes well underground and filling them with a mixture of anti-freeze and water.  Together with a compressor, this system heats water to a welcome 50 or 60 degrees centigrade, providing heating and hot water.   This system will make a huge saving on the electricity bill.
Windows.  Double-glazing will help retain heat within your home and, if postioned correctly, will allow natural light to enter, again saving on your electricity bill.
Water.  Grey water is water that has been used but can be used again.  For example, water from your washing-machine can be recycled and used again, either for your toilet system or for watering the garden.  The eco-friendly plumbing system will stop this grey water being directed to the sewerage system, helping you dramatically save on water usage.  For those whose homes are installed with water meters, changing to this eco-friendly system will quickly pay for itself.
Insulation. Cavity-wall insulation will also keep your home warm, helping you save on electricity once again.  The company My Space Pod, who specialises in constructing eco-friendly homes from shipping containers, use aerogel, which is capable of insulating against extreme weather temperatures.

These are only a few ideas of how a home can become eco-friendly but they clearly indicate how you are helping yourself, whilst also helping the planet.  Using the recycled container method is a very good choice, since you’re starting from scratch and it’s a fast-build.  Also, if you’re a busy person, My Space Pod can do all of this for you, including the official paperwork for planning permission.  If you do go down this route, My Space Pod prepares your container-home offsite, which cuts down on the carbon footprint, as everything is done at their worksite.  Should you be ordering more than one container, these attach together and can also be stacked via the company’s structural support systems, making modular buildings fit one’s own personal plan.

Who could ask for more?