With worries about climate change on the rise, eco-friendly homes are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. The demand for environmentally sound housing is leading constructors to source innovative alternatives to traditional building materials, including straw and even grass!
Eco building consultants ‘Home grown Home’ have designed and built a cabin using bales of straw. Located in East Yorkshire, the Straw Bale cabin has been constructed using 96 full and 46 half bales of wheat straw sourced from local farms. The bales themselves bear the weight of the roof, removing the need for a timber frame. Aside from straw, other renewable materials used include sheep’s’ wool as wall insulation and paints and oils made from plant extracts. A range of recycled materials have also been put to good use including an old barn door for beams in the lounge, reclaimed railway sleepers and even pipes from the old milking parlor.
Cliveden Village in Taplow, Buckinghamshire is a development of properties built on a prestigious National Trust estate. All 134 houses and apartments have been designed to protect the environment and maintain high ecological standards. All properties have been built from rated materials such as FSC sourced timber and recycled materials from the original brown field site. Inside the homes, the use of PVC has been voided by choosing low volatile organic chemical fittings and finishes. Other eco-friendly features include solar hot water and mechanical heat recovery systems, as well as energy efficient lighting and insulation. Water use across the estate is reduced through the use of rainwater collection and low volume fittings on taps and toilets.
Dunescape is a three floor eco-property in Camber Sands, Rye. Built in 007, the environmentally-conscious house is let to visitors as a contemporary holiday home. A grass roof soaks up rainwater and solar power provides hot water in the summer. Geothermal heat from the ground insulates the house in the winter months, ensuring guests keep warm after bracing walks on the nearby beach. Finishing touches in the property include tables made from reclaimed timber, phosphate-free natural washing up liquid, vegan toiletries and organic cotton towels.
BedZED is a carbon neutral community in Sutton, South London. Completed in 2002, the housing development comprises a total of 99 homes each specifically designed to support a sustainable lifestyle. An innovative joint venture between the Peabody Trust and environmental charity arranging, the project has won a raft of awards for its cutting edge design and impressive environmental performance. Recent figures show that BedZED residents use an average of 81% less energy on heating and 8% less water than the local average.
Ecostessey Park is a development of 22 town houses on the banks of the river Tud in Norwich. Each property is built to a demanding ecological specification and is zero carbon rated. A number of environmentally-friendly features are included as standard in each home, such as photovoltaic solar panels which allow residents to sell energy back to the National Grid. Other energy efficient features include low energy lighting and a thermostatic bath to control water temperatures.