Sustainable seaside living (Part 1)

Whether you are a seasoned environmental champion or relative newbie to living lightly, one needn’t look far to realise the devastating effects of climate change and pollution on our oceans. According to the WWF, sea levels that are expected to rise by up to 69 cm in the next 100 years due to global warming, and increasing carbon dioxide levels acidifying our seas are among the many serious threats facing our marine ecosystems.

While this may sound incredibly daunting, we can all do our little bit to help ensure a sustainable environment for future generations, and especially when it comes to the design of your coastal home. Here’s a few simple tips:

1. Work with your environment. Take your location and its natural aesthetics into account when planning your house orientation. Retain local flora as far as possible. Position openings like doors and windows in relation to the sun and wind to make the most of natural lighting and ventilation.

2. Go green for energy.

Solar panels and wind energy is the way to go, especially with these natural resources found in abundance along our coastline. Talk to your builder about energy-efficient lighting fixtures, as well as heating and cooling systems that reduce energy consumption.

3. Do more with less.

Minimalism is a major design trend for 2016 and it ties in perfectly with an environmentally-conscious approach. Opt for a compact construction plan with free-flowing spaces that makes the most of your sea-facing aspect.

4. Reuse and recycle

Living by the coast inevitably means that you need building materials that can handle the harshest of elements. Yet, with a bit of inventive planning, these construction parts can be both eco-friendly and durable. Think slate, metal and composite or recycled tiles for roofing, wood and glass for doors and windows and bamboo and natural fibres for interiors.

In Part 2 we look at eco-savvy lifestyle options for seaside dwellers.