There are buildings that are at the forefront of eco-living; some truly innovative places to live; homes which redefine what it means to be green. These are the leaders that show us what is possible and will draw the rest along behind them. Here are four examples from the UK alone.
The One Brighton project claims to be the most sustainable residential building the UK. Although not strictly a house, rather a residential building, it has allowed its residents to cut their emissions by a staggering 95% and needs no further excuse to be put in this article. This block, containing 172 apartments, has a number of mini-allotments on the roof, no parking spaces except for a couple of disabled bays and all of the building’s heating and hot water is derived from an on-site biomass burner. This apartment block is staggering evidence that the biggest buildings don’t always have to be the biggest polluters.
3 Acorns Eco-house, London
3 Acorns was not only London’s first zero-carbon home, but is now carbon positive! The brainchild of Donnachadh McCarthy, 3 Acorns, a 1840’s Victorian terrace has been fitted, for over ten years, with solar panels, solar hot water and a rainwater harvesting system that accounts for 70% of the house’s water needs. The house has been a ten year project for McCarthy who claims to have thrown out only half a wheelie bin of waste in a whole year!
The Tree House, London
Another zero-carbon house, also in London, is the Tree House. Built by taking inspiration from the 80 year old sycamore in the garden, the Tree House is a truly innovative piece of architecture and design. From the trunk-shaped, timber clad, twisting staircase, to the exposed, branch-like trusses that hold up the roof, evidence of inspiration is apparent wherever you decide to look in this property. Boasting an amazing feature of producing more energy than it actually uses, this house is only linked to the grid in order to feed energy back into the system. Ultra-low flush toilets and highly efficient water and electrical products also do their bit to help the general impact of this extraordinary property.
North Kesteven Straw Houses
As it stands, natural building uses local, renewable, low-tech materials to produce highly efficient houses. Straw bale houses are the epitome of these techniques but a set of straw bale houses in Kesteven is particularly notable, as they are council houses. The most important thing about this set of houses is that it proves that eco and natural building can be mainstream and not just exclusive to quirky and rich millionaires who build eco-houses using a bit of spare cash, as common perception can sometimes have it.
Greg O’Hara is a professional blogger and freelance writer based in Leeds. He is here writing for Budget Windows, providers of quotes for PVCU conservatories in the UK.