House has zero-carbon aim
From the outside it will look like any other normal family home.But once built the state-of-the-art three-bedroom property is likely to be the first occupied and constructed zero-carbon house in the country.
From the outside it will look like any other normal family home.
But once built the state-of-the-art three-bedroom property is likely to be the first occupied and constructed zero-carbon house in the country.
The South Norfolk Eco House project is the idea of Paul Bourgeois and his wife Janet who plan to inhabit the “living laboratory” with their two young children if their proposals are given the seal of approval.
Eco-expert Mr Bourgeois, 33, hopes the scheme will provide a pioneering example of sustainable living and pave the way forward for people to learn about adopting a low carbon lifestyle.
He is proposing to build the home, which will be open to visitors 25 days a year and will include a community and training space, on a plot of land leased by the Diocese of Norwich at Little Melton.
The house will be built mainly by hand to minimise the impact on the environment. A timber frame will form the basic structure with locally sourced materials including hemp and straw bales forming the external walls.
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Solar panels in the roof will provide electricity and hot water, with additional energy being generated by a small scale wind turbine.
Rain water will be harvested and recycling techniques used before the water is treated in a dry reed bed.
Mr Bourgeois has welcomed several project partners on board.
Garden Organic, formally the Henry Doubleday Research Association, has said it would like to create a national organic garden demonstration and Easton College and Little Melton Primary School have expressed a desire for students to be involved in eco-education projects.
Mr Bourgeois used to work for Renewables East and has just completed a post graduate research project at the UEA looking at the carbon and energy savings associated with loft and cavity wall insulation.
Speaking about the project, he said: “First and foremost this is going to be a family home, but with the added extra of being monitored during occupation to check how much energy is used and generated on site.
“The eco-house project will show people who are interested in finding out more about sustainable living how they might go about making changes in their own homes, or if they are looking to build a new home.
“It will look like a normal modern house and will prove that you don't have to build an earth house or something avant garde to create a sustainable home. People will be able to walk in and see the widescreen television and the dishwasher and realise that you don't have to wear open-toed sandals and sit by a log fire to do this. These are the myths that we want to try and dispel.
“The government strategy is to get all new homes to be zero carbon by 2016 and by having this project up and running we want to give individuals and businesses the opportunity to see how it can be done.”
For a home to have zero carbon status, Mr Bourgeois said that all the energy it uses has to be produced on site.
He hopes to begin building the house in the summer and to have the project complete and up and running next spring. He also said that he may consider approaching a television production company to raise awareness of the project if the proposals are given the green light by South Norfolk Council. The whole project is likely to cost in the region £250,000.