:: Specific Design Brief

CAT 6: Ecological Housing


A few committed designers and builders are gradually extending knowledge and practice in energy efficient, ecological methods of construction. Design and make a model of an energy efficient, pre-fabricated house or alternative building, or a component for such a building. It should use ecological materials and renewable energy systems, and should be affordable and appropriate for use in the UK.

SPECIFIC DESIGN BRIEF A: Product Design: Sunlight maximising
A significant percentage of energy used in buildings is that used to light the spaces. Energy efficient design tries to minimise this by incorporating high levels of daylighting, with specific design to focus the daylight where it is most needed, i.e. desk areas, cooking surfaces, reading, workshops. Design and make a piece of equipment or a system that will bring and distribute sunlight to an inaccessible part of a building of your choice, e.g. into a basement, or part of a building where no windows are possible.

SPECIFIC DESIGN BRIEF B: Product Design: Waste minimisation
Current amounts of waste in the UK, both domestic and industrial, are unsustainable. Identify an industrial, agricultural or domestic waste stream in the UK and design and make a construction method or product for use in an energy efficient house.

SPECIFIC DESIGN BRIEF C: Product Design: Timber frame technology
Building materials made of plants and natural fibres can be produced sustainably more easily than materials made from finite material resources. Design a pre-fabricated timber framed, energy-efficient house for the UK market and climate, based on the use of components and products that are made of plant and natural fibres. Either model the whole house, using scaled-down models of the actual materials, or make up a section of the house on a larger scale.

You have two possible first points of contact with experts in the field of sustainable buildings. One is Ann MacGarry at the Centre for Alternative Technology. Contact by email, [email protected]
, or by phone, 01654 705963.
The other is Simmonds Mills, sustainable architects, who can be contacted at [email protected] or telephone 01952-433252.

Sustainable building design covers most areas of environmental sustainability energy, use of renewable materials etc.
Economic issues include the preservation of traditional skills and jobs.
Social issues would include health, preservation of local character, encouragement of wildlife.


If you decide to work on this design brief, don't forget to consider the issues of sustainability in the different phases of your designing and making.
Click here to access Sustain-a-balls