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Zero carbon home bid put on hold

PUBLISHED: 18:24 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:29 14 July 2010

An eco expert's hopes of building a pioneering zero carbon house will have to wait a while longer.

Paul Bourgeois was seeking to construct the family home on a plot of land leased by the Norwich diocese at Little Melton.

An eco expert's dream of building a pioneering zero carbon house will have to wait a while longer.

Paul Bourgeois was looking to construct the three-bedroom family home on a plot of land leased by the Norwich diocese at Little Melton, near Hethersett.

The was likely to be the first occupied and constructed zero carbon house in the country with a host of sustainable features, including locally-sourced hemp and straw bales forming the outside walls, solar panels on the roof to provide electricity and hot water, and wind turbine to generate additional energy.

The plan was to open it to visitors 25 days a year and have community and educational training space, so people could learn more about sustainable living from Mr Bourgeois and his wife Janet, who have two children.

But the site is in a rural location outside the village boundary and South Norfolk Council's north-west area planning committee this week refused consent because they considered the access and parking provision to be unacceptable.

However, the councillors want to see the project go-ahead in the district and approved the eco-home in principle, subject to an alternative site being found.

Mr Bourgeois said: “I am pleased that they supported the principle of the project and they there were keen to work with me in looking for a suitable site in the south Norfolk area.”

The property would look like any other normal modern home, with mod cons such as a dishwasher and widescreen TV. It would be built mainly by hand to minimise the impact on the environment, other features including a timber frame and a dry reed bed to treat rainwater after it has been harvested for recycling.

Mr Bourgeois used to work for Renewables East, and has just completed a post graduate research project at UEA looking at carbon and energy savings associated with loft and cavity wall insulation.

He told the EDP the government strategy is to get all new homes zero carbon rated by 2016, which means all the energy used is produced on site. And having the family's eco-project up and running will give individuals and businesses the opportunity to see how it can be done.

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