Know How to Choose the Perfect Sustainable Garden Shed

Last modified: January 23, 2024

Know How to Choose the Perfect Sustainable Garden Shed

Know How to Choose the Perfect Sustainable Garden Shed


Know How to Choose the Perfect Sustainable Garden Shed

Wooden shelter shed in a growing garden

Image by J Brew via flickr

Sustainable garden sheds incorporate energy-efficient materials and building techniques while relying on renewable energy sources. In the long run, sustainable garden sheds have a minimal impact on the environment and on your wallet as well. 

Adopting sustainable building practises is more vital to the health of our world than ever before. Choosing a sustainable garden shed is just one way that you can do your part. This article will introduce you to the basics of sustainable garden sheds and answer some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic along the way. 

Three ascendig piles of coins with plant shoots seemingly growing out the top of them

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay 

Benefits of Sustainable Garden Sheds

Before you commit to a sustainable garden shed, it helps to understand some of the benefits of doing so. Amazingly, sustainable garden sheds often prove to be beneficial not only to the environment but also to your budget. The next few sections will explain those benefits to you in greater detail. 

What is the Environmental Impact of a Traditional Garden Shed?

The total impact of a traditional garden shed depends on several factors, including the size of the shed, the materials of the shed, and the manner in which you supply power to the shed. In most cases, traditional garden sheds do not use energy-efficient materials or renewable sources of energy. 

Since a standard shed relies on non-renewable sources of energy and its materials do not allow it to use that energy efficiently, it is safe to say that the shed will have a harmful long-term impact on the environment regardless of its size. By contrast, a well-designed and built sustainable garden shed eliminates that impact almost entirely.

How Can a Sustainable Garden Shed Save Me Money?

Although many who build sustainable garden sheds are mainly concerned with the environment, they will also benefit financially as well. Thanks to their reliance on renewable energy sources and their incredibly energy-efficient materials, sustainable sheds will cost you much less money to keep in operation.

A wooden shed hut with pent roof

Image by Jeremy Levine via flickr

What Are the Benefits of Choosing a Sustainable Garden Shed over a Traditional One?

We’ve already noted a few of the most important benefits of building a sustainable shed compared to a traditional one, but we haven’t necessarily covered them all. Below is a quick list of the top benefits that sustainable garden sheds can afford you:

Energy-Efficient Materials

The fact that sustainable garden sheds include energy-efficient materials is one of the primary reasons why these sheds are so advantageous to those who are concerned about the environment and saving money. 

Energy-efficient materials allow your shed to use significantly less energy than a traditional one would. This reduces your energy use and thus lowers the amount you’ll need to spend on utilities each month to keep your shed running. 

It’s important to remember that the more components of your shed that are made of energy-efficient materials, the better. Consider what materials you’ll use for roofing, siding, windows, doors, insulation, and any other component of your shed. 

How Much Can I Expect to Save on My Energy Bills by Using Energy-Efficient Materials in My Garden Shed?

It’s difficult to predict a precise number for how much you’ll save on energy bills by using energy-efficient materials. However, the savings are likely to be significant over the long term. For instance, some studies show that sustainable buildings, in general, cut down on energy consumption by anywhere from 25% to 50%. 

Can I Use Recycled Materials for My Shed to Make it More Sustainable?

Using recycled materials when building your shed is an excellent way to make it more sustainable. Recycled materials do not require any energy to manufacture or ship to your home. Additionally, relying on recycled materials will also reduce the upfront costs of building your sustainable garden shed. 

What Are Some Examples of Energy-Efficient Insulation Materials for Garden Sheds?

Insulation plays a key role in how well your shed can regulate its temperature and overall energy use. As you might guess, some insulation materials are more efficient at performing their job than others. When sustainability is your main goal, you’ll want to choose the most energy-efficient insulation materials you can find. The options in the list below are some of the best you can select:

A close up of a solar panel with the sun shining down on it

Image by Tom from Pixabay 

Renewable Energy Sources

Along with energy-efficient materials, renewable energy is one of the two most important elements of a sustainable garden shed. Renewable energy sources help to offset how much you use traditional sources of energy to power your shed. They also have an incredible environmental benefit since they do not produce greenhouse gases the way fossil fuels do. 

The most common form of reusable energy for a sustainable garden shed is solar. Adding solar panels to your shed is relatively straightforward and is quite effective, assuming your location receives plenty of sunlight. 

If you prefer to use a renewable energy source other than solar, you may want to consider installing a mini wind turbine. This is an especially beneficial option if your shed location is significantly windier than when it is sunny. In either case, the best way to incorporate renewable energy fixtures into your shed is to attach them to the roof, where they can receive sunlight and or the airflow from wind currents. 

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need to Power My Garden Shed?

Solar is one of the best renewable energy sources for your sustainable garden shed, but determining how many panels your shed will need is easier said than done. While some sheds may require only one panel, others will need multiple panels. 

The number of panels you need depends on the size of your shed, the availability of sunlight in your area, the size of your panels, and more. However, if you want a general idea of how many you’ll need, there is a formula you can use. 

Multiply your shed’s hourly energy use by the number of peak sunlight hours in your area. Then, divide that number by your solar panel’s wattage. This calculation will give you a general idea of how many panels your shed needs. 

What Happens if I Produce More Energy than I Need with My Renewable Energy Source?

At times, your renewable energy systems will produce more energy than you use. In those cases, you’ll likely have two viable ways to deal with that energy excess. The first way to manage excess energy is to simply store it in a battery for later use. Alternatively, your local government may provide you with a credit if you are willing to send the energy you don’t need to the grid. 

Are Wind Turbines Noisy or Dangerous for Wildlife?

Typically, large-scale wind turbines, while effective for energy production, can be loud and somewhat dangerous to wildlife, especially birds and bats. However, any wind turbines that you use for your shed will be much smaller. 

A mini wind turbine suitable for residential use is often small enough to cause little to no noticeable noise. These turbines are also far less likely to harm wildlife in your area due to their small size. 

A hut in misty countryside with a barrel positioned to catch water dripping from guttering

Skrissh2013, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Water Conservation

Water conservation is a vital aspect of sustainability, in general, which means it is also important to consider when building a sustainable garden shed. There are a few ways to incorporate water conservation into your shed, including designing a rainwater collection system and installing low-flow faucets. 

Rainwater collection gives you a readily available supply of water that you can give to your plants without the need to turn on the water spigot attached to your home. Adding low-flow faucets ensures that your shed itself won’t use more water than necessary. 

Combining both those tactics with xeriscaping, a landscape design style that minimises the need for irrigation ensures that your shed and garden will conserve as much water as possible. 

How Can I Design My Garden Shed to Collect Rainwater?

Designing your shed to collect rainwater is not only a beneficial and environmentally friendly choice, but it is also relatively easy to do. All you’ll need is a gutter system and a large container, such as a barrel, to hold the rainwater you collect. 

If you design your system correctly, your rainwater barrel will fill with water over time. Once you have collected enough water, you can begin using that water for the plants in your garden. Using rainwater rather than a traditional water source is just another way that sustainable shed building can save you money over time. 

What is Xeriscaping and How Can I Incorporate it into My Garden Shed’s Design?

Xeriscaping is a special form of landscape design that requires very little irrigation. This approach to landscaping is quite environmentally sensitive, especially if you live in a hot region that often experiences water shortages. 

Xeriscaping will not influence your sustainable garden shed itself, but it is a practise that you can use to design the areas around your shed. Combining a sustainable garden shed with a xeriscape garden is an effective way to support the environment in multiple ways simultaneously. 

Are There Any Downsides to Using a Low-Flow Faucet in My Garden Shed?

Adding a low-flow faucet to your garden shed is another legitimate way to conserve water. However, there may be some mild downsides to choosing a low-flow faucet over a standard faucet. 

Mainly, some people report that low-flow faucets do not provide enough water pressure. Additionally, depending on the complexity of your low-flow faucet, it may cost more to have one installed. Still, these mild downsides are not enough to eliminate low-flow faucets as a viable component of your sustainable garden shed. 

Overlap on a hillside shed painted blue with large windows and a chair inside

Image by Dan Hughes via flickr

Upcycling and Repurposing

While the operating costs of a sustainable building are significantly lower than those of a traditional building, sustainable construction often comes with slightly higher upfront costs. However, upcycling and repurposing are the perfect ways to offset those costs. 

Upcycling and repurposing involve using items that you already own or have access to rather than paying for brand-new materials. This approach eliminates the need to manufacture and transport shed materials, both of which require time, energy, and money. Upcycled materials are essentially free to use and have little to no impact on the environment.

What Are Some Creative Ways to Upcycle Old Items for My Garden Shed?

The creativity of your upcycling depends entirely on what materials you have at hand. While there are many materials you can upcycle for use in shed construction, there are a few ideas that are a bit more common than others. 

For example, you can utilise unused old doors and windows when constructing a new shed. These features can give your shed a unique flair that a purchased door or window cannot. Likewise, it is also common to use reclaimed wood or siding when making the walls of your sustainable garden shed. 

Additionally, you should consider collecting any buckets, watering cans, barrels, or other vessels that you don’t currently use in your garden. These items can provide excellent storage space for the tools within your shed. 

How Can I Ensure that My Upcycled or Repurposed Materials Are Safe and Structurally Sound for My Garden Shed?

Before upcycling materials for your garden shed, you should evaluate their integrity first. Cheque for any signs of damage that would prevent your item from remaining structurally sound over the long run. 

After ensuring that the items themselves are in sturdy condition, you should also take care to assemble them together using reliable hardware and construction methods. When in doubt, it’s always advisable to seek the help of a professional builder. 

Will My Upcycled or Repurposed Garden Shed Be as Durable as One Made from New Materials?

Whether your upcycled materials will hold up as well as new materials comes down to their overall condition. Some materials may have significant damage that prevents them from contributing to structural stability in your shed. Others may be just as sturdy as brand-new materials. 

A hut made out of bamboo positioned on a concrete emplacement

Image by: SuSanA Secretariat via flickr

Choosing a Sustainable Garden Shed

There are plenty of factors that you should keep in mind when choosing the right garden shed for your yard. At a basic level, you should consider the size and general style of the shed you want. You should also factor in price when evaluating different manufacturers. 

Most importantly, you must ensure that the shed you settle on meets the unique needs of you and your garden. Make sure that your shed has enough space to store all of your tools and that it can fit well in your intended location. After meeting those basic functional needs, you can then consider the level of sustainability your shed will achieve. 

How Do I Know if a Garden Shed is Sustainable?

When determining if a shed is sustainable, the two most important factors to consider are the energy source and the materials used in the construction of the shed. The best sustainable garden sheds include a way to harness and use renewable energy and consist of materials that are highly energy efficient. 

Can I Customise the Design of My Sustainable Garden Shed?

Although there are some stricter guidelines regarding what allows a shed to be sustainable, that does not mean you won’t have a chance to customise the design. If you decide to build your own sustainable garden shed, there is nothing stopping you from customising it as much as you like. Alternatively, if you purchase a sustainable shed from a manufacturer, they will likely present you with some customisation options as well. 

What Should I Look for When Choosing a Supplier or Manufacturer?

There is a lot to consider when choosing a manufacturer for your sustainable garden shed. Often, the best approach is to take some time to learn about the company’s pricing, history of sustainable building, and overall reputation. Even though there are plenty of manufacturers that claim to offer sustainable products, not all are equally successful at fulfilling that promise. 


Choosing a sustainable garden shed is just one of many ways that gardeners can do their part to benefit the environment. Sustainable sheds do minimal damage to the natural world and come with the added advantage of saving you money as well. 

If you understand how you intend to use your shed and how to make it as sustainable as possible, you’re ready to add one to your yard. Whether you take a DIY approach or purchase a sustainable garden shed from a manufacturer, building one of these structures will help you get your garden work done in a completely environmentally friendly way. 



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