Three amazing eco homes from around the UK
The UK is home to some fantastic achievements in the Eco and sustainable construction category. They vary from earth homes that run almost completely of the land to more modern housing offering highly energy efficient buildings that blend in with the current UK housing stock. So generate their own energy, whilst others require very little energy.
Though there are various in the UK market, climate can also be a factor in the design and build of a project. Sourcing materials and labour locally is not only morale, but it can also show investment in a sustainable local community. We are seeing more and more projects ensuring materials are sustainably sourced and also limiting the carbon footprint.
With so many to research and choose from, we have just selected 3 of our favourites. They include an eco arch in Kent, a low tech build in Orkney, Scotland and also a woodsman's cottage in
1. The Eco Arch in Kent, England
First up we have this stunning eco house designed by Architect Richard Hawke. The Eco Arch featured on Grand Designs and was commended for its riskiness in design. The end result was breath taking. Aside from the look of the build, there were some key features that made this truly incredible.
There is a 20 metre roof span built using Timbrel Vault Construction, which is an almost forgotten medieval technique. It also has an unsupported parabolic arch made up of 26000 tiny clay tiles handmade locally – mind blowing! The green roof is insulated and is covered with layers of gravel and soil to allow wild grasses and flowers to seed.
For thermal, there is a huge triple glazed windows for extra efficiency, south facing windows, which harness the energy of the sun to heat a heavy ‘eco-concrete’ floor slab The walls filled with tons of recycled Newspapers for insulation – very cost effective if you have the newspaper already stored, or can access it, maybe a local community sweep would work.
2. Camusdarach Sands House in Orkney, Scotland
The climate in Orkney is extremely stormy, so historically dwellings were partially submerged in order to gain protection from being battered. The Camusdarach Sands house was very much built with this in mind.
Its key features were kept low tech, and tried to utilise building scale and orientation. The used local labour and skills to get the project built, but when even further and sourced materials locally. They included an air source heat pump and super insulation to the walls and roof, making the U-Values 0.15 (W/m2k).
3. The Woodland House aka ‘the Woodsman’s Cottage’
Built in 2002 by Ben Law and volunteers in a 6 month period, the Woodsman’s Cottage is a fantastic example of handmade architecture. With locally sourced materials, this is a truly great achievement. Ben went on to live a fairy tale living following this success, launching a successful renewable timber framing company as well as becoming an author, a public speaker and an educator.
Renewable timer and harvested rainwater
The cottage is built from renewable timber such as Sweet chestnut, straw bales with lime and earth plasters. Rainwater is harvested via copper gutters and travels into the hot water system. There’s a solar water panel for the summer and unbelievably also includes solar voltaic display that was recycled from the original Big Brother house on channel 4!
Obviously there are loads of great projects around the country, old and new, but I these just stood out for various reasons, such as style, sustainability and just sheer guts.