Thatched roofs, timber frames and building using hemp and lime – “hempcrete” to the latest technology in biomas generators, solar power, photovoltaics, hydrogen fuel-cell cars, plumbing and drainage plus reuse of building materials such as steel frames are all here at this year’s EcoBuild. It doesn’t seem that long ago that sustainability was one of those strange new things that a few zealots were shouting about; now it is a core part of the construction and development industry and companies are designing, developing and evolving new products in this large competitive industry where some of the old techniques such as timber construction are as relevant as the most modern, with good examples of the former on show through a competition for the Dan Kemp Memorial Pavilion coordinated by TRADA for students at Oxford Brookes University. Universities of course are supporting these developments in academic courses and in the development of new technologies, as at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London and Coventry University.
International representation is strong with national pavilions from across the world including Denmark, Norway, Canada, China and Scotland in the main EcoBuild exhibition and with Zero Waste Scotland in the Resource area.
Zero-energy houses and complete communities are now achievable, with the first proposal in the UK and perhaps the world at Bickleigh Down Ecovillage having just been given planning permission, and long queues of people waiting to see the zero-energy show house. The Ideal Home Exhibition which opens at Olympia on 18th March needs to take note – there is still much that needs to be done.