The announcement back in 2006 that all new homes in the UK will be zero cabon by 2016 caused a wave of optimism in green circles. It has also no doubt spurred architects and developers to start exploring what such houses may look like — the Lighthouse being one of the striking early examples, but it was a one-off. Now delegates at the EcoBuild exhibition have had a chance to see what is being billed as "the UK's first commercially viable, affordable and ready to purchase zero-carbon home." The house is the creation of Bill Dunster's ZEDfactory — the architectural team behind the pioneering BedZED development. The reaction to the new home was, by all accounts, pretty enthusiastic — with delegates lining up for half-an-hour to get a glimpse inside the show home. The Guardian brings us some of the details:
"Built with energy-saving fabric and renewable energy systems, manufacturers say the "RuralZED" house can go for a whole year without drawing on National Grid power. It is capable of coping with almost any weather without needing more energy than it generates by itself. It uses environmentally sound materials, gains heat from renewable sources, and offers green solutions for water use and waste generation.
The house uses a flat-pack timber-frame kit based on the concept of the timber-framed houses that were built in Britain about 1,000 years ago. The timber frame is then laminated and built in a box shape formed by posts and beams on a low-carbon concrete foundation. Heavyweight eco concrete panels manufactured using a high level of recycled aggregate content rest on the solid timber beams. These are an energy-efficient alternative to domestic plasterboard and give the house its "thermal mass" that absorbs and releases heat slowly."