We all dream of having our own little palace. So rather than find one, we’ve decided to build our own. We also don’t want to leave any kind of significant footprint on the environment and are trying to put it together in the most carbon-neutral way possible.

The materials we’ll use are where we thought would be the best place to start; from the floors to the roof, we are making every effort to reduce our impact on the planet. So here’s what we found were some of the best materials to make use of when you’re building yours!

The Floors

There were several options for the floors in our new home, some of which were quite surprising ones. For the wet rooms (such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms) we came across recycled glass tiles. They won’t stain, they’ll stave off mould and mildew and they will reflect light (as opposed to absorbing it) which will make the rooms brighter and keep them warmer for longer.

For elsewhere in the house, we quite liked the look and feel of solid bamboo flooring. There are dozens of colours and styles – much like standard wood flooring options. Coming from a grass-like, natural vegetation, it reaches maturity in only 10-15% of the time it takes for trees to do so, making it far more sustainable. It also helps that it’s very light and easy to install.

The Windows

The main way in which windows are rendered eco-friendly is in how they retain heat. All new windows tend to be well equipped to hold in as much warmth as possible, being either double or triple-glazed.

The gaps between each pane of glass are filled with either krypton or argon gases, which are both very effective at thermo-conduction (holding and storing heat).

The Water Supply

The average home uses 80-100 gallons (360-450 litres) of water per day. Not only does it take a large amount of energy to process, provide and dispense this amount of water, it also means that far more of it often becomes unusable.

Instead, we came across several systems which harvest and store rainwater. This water can be used for flushing toilets, washing dishes and laundry and watering the garden. The water is stored in large capacity drums with self-cleaning filters so that you won’t have to do it yourself.

Some systems we found can capture 90-95% of incoming rainwater, storing it in tanks from anywhere between 1,500-7,500 litres.

The Roof

For us, this is one of the integral parts of the home in making it eco-friendlier. It’s where the water, heat and light can enter the home and where it can be best utilised.

As far as roof building materials are concerned, there is luckily a lot of variety. Depending on what you have gone for elsewhere in the house (and how concerned you are with aesthetics), you might want to match everything up.

If your walls are made of wood, a complimentary material for roofing is wood shingles. However, metal roof panels are very durable, long-lasting and can be made from recycled materials. A perfect option for protecting your eco-cottage!