Self-building turns a deep shade of green at Grand Designs Live

London’s ExCeL saw the return of Grand Designs Live in May, with the show putting a strong focus on encouraging consumers and self-builders to reduce their waste on projects, and to look at innovative, eco-friendly product alternatives. On 9 May, the ‘face’ of the Grand Designs brand Kevin McCloud guided press around some of the show’s features, ranging from his Green Heroes to a pedal-powered motorhome called ‘The Cockroach’. McCloud then got down to business, chairing a panel discussion on the main stage that focused on the reuse of plastic. McCloud told the audience that it wasn’t all down to self-builders: “Consumers feel that they have to bear all the responsibility and all the weight of recycling plastics at home, but there are responsibilities right through the supply chain – from big waste companies to manufacturing plants to designers,” he commented. McCloud also talked through some of his selected Green Heroes, including a sheet material made from recycled plastics, eco-friendly coffee logs and a natural insulation made from mushrooms. “Right from the start I felt very strongly that the Green Heroes should be products, ideas and people who are under-represented in the market,” he said. “It isn’t enough for a green product simply to be low carbon, or recycled, or recyclable – it has to be all these things but moreover it has to stand its ground, compete with commercial products and succeed and win because it’s more beautiful, it’s more interesting, it has a greater value.” Harry Dwyer’s ‘The Cockroach’ was the next stop – it is constructed entirely from 100 per cent recycled materials such as

‘for sale’ signs and tanking membranes. “It was basically what we could find in skips, so it evolved as we found more things,” Dwyer explained. Solar panels on its roof power a mobility scooter battery and it includes an area fit for two people to sleep in along with a gas stove and TV powered by old laptop batteries. Summing up what such projects demonstrate, McCloud said: “What we’ve got to stop doing is thinking about the waste

stream as second best and start realising that it’s capable of generating for us very bespoke, very high tech and very high performance products. It’s all there to be extracted, squeezed out and reused.” Finally McCloud chaired the talk ‘Plastic Surgery – Reducing Plastic Pollution’, which saw comment and insight from James Shaw of James Shaw Studio, Vanessa Yuan of ecoBirdy, Adam Fairweather of Smile Plastics and Craig Bennett of Friends of the Earth. The discussion challenged consumers to be more aware of the products they buy both day to day and for their homes. Shaw, Yuan and Fairweather showed how their businesses create products from plastic waste, while Bennett and McCloud explained why they think the Government should introduce tighter legislation surrounding waste and recycling to make it easier for consumers.

German design fuses traditional and contemporary in prefab show home

German prefabricated housing designer and manufacturer Baufritz has unveiled its new show home, which is designed to demonstrate how prefabricated housing can effectively combine traditional features with contemporary living. On the ground floor of Heimat 4.0., which roughly translates as “feeling at home”, elements of traditional living are revived.

There is an open plan kitchen-dining-living space for cooking and socialising; the living and dining areas are divided by a traditional ceramic stove. There’s a secluded alcove with a sofa set into the wall and a built in library, plus a home office and guest toilet, direct access to the terrace and garden, and copious natural light. The first floor has four bedrooms including three children’s rooms, two of them with space saving split-level sleeping galleries

and a third with a cosy bed niche plus a play area. The three bedrooms share a children’s bathroom. There is a spacious master bedroom with built-in furniture, its own dressing room and ensuite bathroom. The self-contained apartment on the lower ground floor functions as a spacious workshop. In front, an integrated wood bench

references traditional farmhouses. The show house also has a barn for small animals and integrated raised growing beds, giving a hint at self-sufficiency; the annexe is equipped with a wood-burning oven to make bread and pizza. The concept also includes pellet boiler technology; as well as an integrated Stirling engine, photovoltaic system and battery to generate and store green energy. Also installed are a non-central ventilation system, AAA walls, underfloor heating and triple biological thermal insulation – all of which fulfil the criteria of a KfW 40 energy-saving house. Smart home technology offers lighting control using handheld and in-build devices, and “electro smog protection technology” gives electromagnetic protection.

may/june 2018 5

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