So, here's a breakdown of the question.
Situation: In the next month or two I will be moving house to a new-build detached house in the UK, which is on an estate of around 100 similar such properties.
Problem: I know I don't have to lecture this forum, but for the sake of making the question as clear-cut as possible; The construction of large housing estates on green-belt land has profound effects on your local and regional environment.
- Decreased drainage (of precipitation), due to an increase of impermeable surfaces (roads, roofs, pathways, etc)
- Change in land usage and soil composition and structure (unsettled soil, imported turf)
- Increased atmospheric pollutant from resident's vehicles, boilers, etc.
Mission: To reduce, offset, or eliminate the impacts of new-build housing on the local environment in the most cost-effective and conventional ways possible.
- Answers should involve ways in which ordinary people can get involved in living a more sustainable lifestyle.
- This particular set of properties are already rather energy efficient. Supplied appliances are rated A, insulation is well-packed, and heat-loss values are low.
- To simply say "don't live in new-builds on greenbelt", while it is certainly a way to live more sustainably, doesn't help people who are in this situation.
- Most new-build homes in the UK are all-electric (with the exception of gas boilers).
- Provide a large area of permeable, well-maintained, and high-nutrient value soil. That is to say, less paving, more turf and bare earth, in the garden areas. Try to keep the soil in good-health by providing it with decaying leaves, and our own supply of compost.
- The usage of a Smart Electricity Meter can be useful (where your provider supplies them). You can measure your current energy usage and its cost. This would allow you to formulate the peak/trough of energy usage, and if your lowest-level can be reduced any further (devices on standby, unnecessary powered electronics overnight, etc)
- Ensure that when the central heating is on, that all windows and doors are secured, in order to get the greatest heat gain from the slightest fuel burn.
- Consider using renewable (full or part) energy suppliers. Suppliers vary from region to region. For anyone living in the UK, OVO Energy is a good bet. Although you'll find its more expensive for larger households.