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July 2007


Green houses for the Emerald Isle
The Republic of Ireland's Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan, has announced that funding for developers to build more sustainable houses will now require builders to ensure that the units are 60% more efficient than under current building regulations... more
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Drum achieves Generation Homes status
Green Party MEP, Caroline Lucas recently joined Drum Housing Association to help celebrate completion of the first refurbished homes in the country to achieve ‘Generation Homes’ status. ‘Generation Homes’ status is a benchmark funded by the Energy Savings Trust and managed by ESD (Energy for Sustainable Development) in line with the... more
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Chartered Institute of Housing challenges government
With over a quarter of all UK CO2 emissions (27%) coming from houses, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has challenged the Government to take action to help people make changes to their homes. Following environmentalist and broadcaster Dick Strawbridge’s keynote presentation at the CIH’s Annual UK Conference and Exhibition... more
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Grow your own wallboard
Mushrooms are not a common building material, but Eben Bayer, who grew up on a mushroom farm in Vermont, and is now a young engineering graduate, thought they might be pressed into service when given the job of creating a sustainable insulation. Bayer combined his agricultural knowledge with colleague... more   back to top


'Zero Carbon' homes now being built

ECOS Homes (previously known as ' South West Ecohomes') is embarking on a pioneering project in Somerset to build some of the very first zero carbon homes in the UK, which will be exempt from stamp duty.  Using experience gained from building Great Bow Yard in Langport, ECOS Homes’ first award-winning eco-home development, the company will design and construct the homes to the Code for Sustainable Homes’ highest level, six.  Situated in the historic hamlet of Stawell, with easy access to Bridgwater and the M5, the homes will show carbon neutral living in a small community setting. 
Charles Couzens, Chief Executive of the ECOS Trust, comments:  “The eco-homes at Great Bow Yard demonstrated how low carbon properties can be built effectively, and importantly that there is consumer demand for homes of this nature.  At Stawell, we will go a step further by showing how homes can run with no net carbon emissions, and what’s more, that this can be done without government subsidies.  We will share our experiences with other house builders as we did at Great Bow Yard, so that they can see the potential and practicalities of building sustainably.”
Work has started at the site and prices are being set in line with the average for the area in.  There will be three terraced houses with three bedrooms and two detached houses with four bedrooms, all of which will achieve zero carbon status by the most energy efficient design and use of sustainable technologies.  These will include; timber frames, sedum roofing, exceptionally high levels of insulation, natural paints and plasters to give a healthy internal environment and the use of solar and biomass energy sources.  Some designs also incorporate internal sunspaces to make maximum use of the sun’s energy, and natural light has been an important feature in the architectural concept.  Space to work at home has also been a consideration when designing each property.   
Stawell is near a National Nature Reserve and site of Scientific Special Interest (SSSI) and is situated in the lea of the Polden Hills, above the Somerset Levels.  Specially landscaped gardens will encourage wildlife and give residents an area to grow their own produce, and an internal courtyard, with a shared residents’ electric pool car, will provide parking and garages.  ECOS Homes aim to complete the development by the end of 2007. 
Cozens continues:  “The homes at Stawell will support the environment and the surrounding community, whilst providing a healthy and efficient living space for residents.  ECOS Homes will be appointing a local contractor to the project shortly, and the design of the homes will blend both traditional and contemporary styles to compliment the existing location.
“We strongly believe that poor quality homes that are cheap to build, and increasingly expensive to heat, are no longer acceptable.  We will continue to demonstrate in real life terms the potential and practicalities of a new ecological approach to building sustainably and living sustainably.”

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Carbon Trust supports AECB's CarbonLite
The UK's design and construction industry needs a crash course in carbon literacy - and that's the AECB's CarbonLite Programme", according to Andy Simmonds, Executive Officer of the AECB.(Association for Environment Conscious Building). The AECB is delighted by the news that The Carbon Trust is funding the CarbonLite... more   back to top

First SmartLIFE house is occupied
A young woman and her 14 month old son have become the first residents of an innovative eco friendly housing estate in March, Cambridgeshire. The pilot project of 56 homes will monitored by BRE to see how they perform on terms of reducing carbon emissions and energy useage... more  back to top

Gadgets pushing up power consumption
Flat-screen televisions, computers and other hi-tech gadgets will use nearly half of a typical household's total electricity by 2020, an energy conservation body said in a report recently. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) said consumer electronics will overtake kitchen appliances and lighting as the biggest single drain on domestic... more
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Woodland eco centre opens
An innovative eco centre built to celebrate the local environment and heritage of one of Northamptonshire's ancient woodlands was officially opened by Forestry Commission Chairman Lord Clark recently. Top Lodge at Fineshade Woods has used local and natural materials and the latest renewable energy design, to develop 18th-century buildings into a state of the art recreation and information... more
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First 'Design for Manufacture' homes
One of the the first developments to be built as a result of the governments 'Design for Manufacture'£60,000 house competition is George Wimpey's 145-home development at Oxley Woods, Milton Keynes, designed by architects Rogers Stirk and Harbour, formerly the Richard Rogers Partnership. The new homes feature innovative designs which... more
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20 June - 8 September
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Exhibition: Designing the green homes of the future. What will the homes of the future look like? Building for the Future editor Keith Hall is among the leading environmental and building figures who have contributed their thoughts and nominated inspirational projects - from real-life homes to blue-sky thinking. There’s also a chance for visitors to have a say. Open Mon - Fri 9 - 5 pm plus certain weekends.

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7/8/9 September
Creative Outdoor Eco-Architecture Weekend - Shropshire

Exploration of simple ecological building techniques using straw bale, clay and lime render. Demonstration and hands on training event led by Amazon Nails, the UK's leading practitioners of Straw Bale construction. Opportunities for talks and discussions on design and sustainability.

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Shallow pitch roof insulation

Treatment of timber windows

What to do about ever-increasing electricity requirements?

Timber cladding

Screeding Over Underfloor Heating Pipes and Types of Insulation

Opinions on pitched roof make-up


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