:: Specific Design Brief
Ecological Housing - further
PRODUCT DESIGN UK
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 house. It should use ecological
materials and renewable energy systems, as affordable, and be appropriate
for use in the UK.
Alongside increasing concern in this country that we need to be minimising our
use and wastage of resources, and moving towards more sustainable building
generally, there is a huge demand for new housing to be built throughout the
country. The government has projected a need for 4 million new homes in the next
20 years. This is partly due to demographic fluctuations in the size of family
units. There are of course environmental arguments that we could be making
better use of existing building stock, with eco-renovation and conversion
projects. However, we will look at new build here for simplicity.
‘About half of the total national energy bill goes into servicing buildings…Of
this figure, about 60% is used by domestic buildings, or 29% of the total.’
From The Whole House Book.
ecological building market and industry in this country is currently small and
limited in its skill base. It relies on a few committed designers and builders
to experiment and increase knowledge about energy efficient, ecological methods
of construction. These businesses tend to be small, poorly financed, generally
involved in one-off designs.
sustainable construction is to become more widespread, these skills obviously
need to become more mainstream. One suggestion to promote this is that small
regional factory units could produce pre-fabricated house units. In this way,
the skilled design and construction methods would reach a wider market. There
would be more interest from developers and mass house builders, since they would
be more able to commercially afford the mass produced units. On site
construction time would be reduced, and the level of detailing required to
produce energy efficient housing would be partly carried out under factory
conditions, minimising reliance on hard-to-monitor site workmanship.
This is in line with current trends in the building industry, in the UK and
environmental costs of the transport to bring the components to site would be
offset by reducing the daily transport costs of tradespeople to site, since the
on-site construction period would be much reduced.