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Sustainability Explained – The Self-Build Series

Find out more about the passive house standard of building.

Having spent 14 years running Back To Earth, an eco building company, Chris Brookman knows a thing or two about sustainable building. In addition he has first hand experience of what it’s like to be a self-builder, having recently constructed his own certified Passivhaus family home. 

Having reflected on this experience and spent some time searching the web, Chris realised there is very little information available to help self-builders clearly understand sustainability and what it means for their eco build project. On further inspection it was discovered there was even less information available about sustainable materials and what impact they can have on a eco build project. Chris had an idea…

Why not create a resource that provided answers to all of the key questions posed during a sustainable, self-build project?

As a result, Chris put together the following four stage ‘Self-Build Series’ to help first time self-builders navigate through the enormous amount of information available and help them achieve their goals for sustainable construction.

These guides are for anyone, new to construction, embarking on a sustainable building project. The following four topic areas will be covered:

  1. Should I build a sustainable home?
  2. The 8 questions you should ask your architect before building your sustainable home. 
  3. How do I manage my project effectively? 
  4. What will it be like living in my sustainable home? 

Below you’ll find the first guide in the series, ‘Should I build a sustainable home?’.

The guide provides concise, clear responses to the following key questions:

  1. What is a sustainable home? 
  2. What are the benefits of building a sustainable home?
  3. How much money will I save on running costs? 
  4. Should I build a Passivhaus?

This first guide is the perfect starting point for anyone in the early stages of deciding whether to build a sustainable home. We hope you find the guide useful. If you’d like to be kept informed about the publication of the other guides in the series, please feel free to sign-up to our newsletter below. If you’d like to speak to Chris, please call on 01392 861763.

CPD Training

We offer CPD training for architects practices across Devon and Cornwall.

Software Modelling

We offer dynamic heat and moisture modelling as well as condensation risk analyses.

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If you have some plans and would like our opinion on which materials would be the best for you, contact us.


Back to Earth is a natural building material supplier. We're not your typical builders'​ merchant though and instead work closely with our clients during the planning, designing and building phases of projects.

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