The term “Eco-shed” is often employed by shed builders to define what they believe as a building that is low on environmental impact.
What are the elements you must consider when determining which one is more eco-friendly than the other?
This article is not to establish guidelines on what is considered green and what isn’t, as you’ll see, this is largely dependent on the location you live in and the proposed usage.
This article should help you identify the most important aspects to consider when designing your own layout and will help you determine if the Eco-shed you’re about to purchase is actually Green or simply a case of ‘Green-wash’.
Every shed should allow it’s users a place to rest and be comfortable, offer value and durability. Additionally, an Eco-shed should be able to reduce its impact on the environment as well as its natural resources .
The main ingredient is timber. It’s the basis of numerous sheds and which is why eco sheds are popular. Timber is , in fact, the most sustainable construction material. It grows naturally and needs only a small amount of energy to change into an usable shape (in contrast to brick, steel concrete, glass and steel).
The most important things to look for when choosing a source for timber is that it comes from sustainable managed forests, and that it is sourced locally.
Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)
The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) offers a standard for timber verification to verify that the timber did actually come from a sustainable forest and the replanting process takes place following harvesting.
Utilizing a local source of wood eliminates the need for ‘wood miles’. “Wood miles” is a term that I invented to describe the energy utilized to transport timber from the place where it was grown to the place where it will be used.
I’ve seen sheds for sale in the UK constructed from FSC timber that was cultivated by the Chinese in China!
Recycling timber is a fantastic way to go. It doesn’t require any additional forest resource, and it saves a item that could otherwise be thrown out or taken to landfill. An excellent solution can be the shed made of pallets.
Most likely best suited for garden storage sheds, these make use of recycled shipping pallets to create the structure.
Timber Durability and Preservatives
The majority of the timbers commonly used like Oak, Douglas fir and Western Red Cedar are naturally strong and do not require preservation treatment on the outside for use (note that special conditions are required when they come near the ground).
The majority of softwood timber employed in outdoor environments requires some type of preservative treatment. The variety and types of treatments is beyond the subject of this article, but they vary from mild to extremely toxic .
Windows and doors that it is a given that using wood over plastic or metal for window frames is the most appropriate choice.
But if you’re planning to heat your shed for a long period of time , it might be worthwhile to consider the insulation capabilities of the door and the seal around the perimeter to determine the ability to stop drafts.
What are you thinking of doing about the lighting of your garden? The most eco-friendly way to let light into your shed is to let sunlight in through skylights and windows. .
If you are only looking for artificial lighting to ensure you are able to easily locate items in your garden at night, you could include solar-powered lighting .
If you require lighting all day long and require electricity for heating power tools, office equipment, then connecting to the mains power supply is likely most beneficial. .
Heating, Cooling and Insulation
If you plan to heat your eco-shed, make sure it’s insulated to the highest standard you can afford to ensure that the heat generated by the eco-heating system you have carefully chosen will not immediately go away through the roof and walls. !
The most environmentally friendly insulations are believed to be sheep wool and straw bales. But sheeps wool insulation isn’t widely available, and straw bales result in a dense wall, in addition to other unique features. .
Other kinds of widely used insulation include Rockwool. A type of panel referred to by the name of SIP (Structural Insulated Panel) is commonly utilized due to their strength and low use of materials and a very low loss of heat .
Remember that insulation for the floor is required , and roof timbers must have at least an air gap of 50mm to allow for ventilation and stop condensation. .
To create a truly green shed, choose paints that contain a small amount of VOCs.
Also, make sure to reduce the use of PVC for flooring. Cork, timber boards, tiles, or bamboo flooring is sturdy and comfortable on your feet when you are sitting in your eco-shed for any period of time. .
Rainwater can be collected from the shed’s roof throughout the year and make use of it to sprinkle your garden instead of the tap water that comes from your hose. .
Final thoughts on your eco-shed
Green roofs are a good choice. Green roofs require additional membranes and a stronger roof when they are constructed. The insulation capability of a large green roof is also quite small, which means there isn’t much advantage there.
But by putting drought-resistant plants like sedum on the roof, a new habitat for butterflies, bees and pollinating insects could be constructed to fill in the space on the ground taken by the shed. .
One of the advantages of having the shed as an office is that it will eliminate the commute. The savings in fuel could allow you to invest more, which is greener. an additional benefit for the environment. .