Project to create house entirely out of waste

28 November 2012

Posted by Michelle Devonshire

The future of green construction in the UK could be influenced by a new project that will see a house built almost entirely out of waste.

It will be built on the campus of the University of Brighton, with materials ranging from thrown-away bricks and wood to old video tapes, jeans and toothbrushes being tested for their suitability for construction by the scheme, which follows on from TV presenter Kevin McCloud's House that Kevin Built.

The designer and television star built a home in six days in 2008 using found materials alongside Duncan Baker-Brown, a University of Brighton Researcher and Lecturer in Architecture, who is leading the latest project.

Brighton and Hove City Council is supporting the initiative, along with the Mears Group, Mr McCloud and reuse group Freegle in order to demonstrate ways in which low-carbon properties could be built swiftly and for a low cost.

It follows figures indicating that around 20 per cent of construction industry materials are discarded, while solar panels and new high-performance windows and doors will be added to the structure to improve its overall energy efficiency.

"The Waste House is a unique project which provides a once in a life time opportunity for our apprentices to be at the forefront of sustainable development and will create a legacy for future generations," declared Gary Lester of Mears.

As the UK increasingly faces tension between the need for sustainability when it comes to the building industry and high levels of demand for new homes, such schemes could help to address the problem.

In a recent interview with BBC's Newsnight, Nick Boles, the nation's Planning Minister, explained that around two or three per cent more land in England may need to be developed in order to meet housing shortages.

He pointed out that this would increase the current level of built-on space by one-third, but any proposals to solve the UK's housing crisis would come with pledges to safeguard greenbelt land.

According to Mr Boles, bringing the level of developed land in England up to 12 per cent could provide a solution to the demand for residential property, but he insisted that new homes should be "beautiful" and appropriate for the local area to encourage local communities to support building projects.

"We're going to protect the greenbelt but if people want to have housing for their kids they have to accept we need to build more on some open land," the minister explained.

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