Selfsufficienish homes not Wilcon

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Andy Hamilton
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Selfsufficienish homes not Wilcon

Post: # 26976Post Andy Hamilton »

Imagine a world with selfsufficientish homes instead of the ugly, tiny shoe box homes that you see whenever you are on the outskirts of every UK town and city. (my aplogies if you happen to live in one)

What shape would sustainable housing take? What would you need to set up a real housing scheme and with all the talent on here could we actually set up a self build project? - how much real cash do you need and how much money can you get from the government.

I have spent some time day dreaming about my dream home. It would be made from a combination of used car tyres, straw bale and wood. Self build in a brown field site in Bristol - or at least the south west. I would like to build it at the same time as a group of other people are building theirs so that we help each other and form a sense of community.

There would be a central growing area and also room on the roof for growing crops. Rain water would be harvested, a few turbines would power the houses - although each would be fitted with various energy saving bits and bobs (here is where my knowledge lacks) so that the needs would be far lower than of a regular home.

The toilets would run off into a reed bed. There would be a selection of vechicles all powered from hydrogen fuel cells charged up by a turbine for use for everyone in the project. Obviously cycling would be encouraged as a means of transportation whenever possible, but as not everyone wants to get around like this then an alternative would have to be there.

Now if I can just get my hands on a few million we can get started :lol:
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Post: # 26986Post Martin »

been thinking along similar lines! Thanks to old "two shags" Prescott, we're being lumbered with 5,000 extra "homes" in our area - this will undoubtedly mean more farmland disappearing under dreadful characterless "estates" :pale:
There is a lot of farmland that's doing bog all, so it would appear logical for several large farms to be split into sensible sized self-sufficient "plots" - 5, 10, 20 acres - just run an access into it, and allow only eco builds - no mains electricity or drainage (sort your own reed beds)..............all that's lacking is the political will! :roll:
My partner in crime in Solarwind knows some of the local councillors, and has got one interested in a "pilot project" - he's asked them for use of a few acres of council-owned land to act as a demonstration site, where eco builds could be tried out! :wink:
http://solarwind.org.uk - a small company in Sussex sourcing, supplying, and fitting alternative energy products.
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Post: # 26988Post Andy Hamilton »

sounds very promising then, you will have to keep us informed with any progress. What was actually said to the councillor? Can you offer some real advice for any of us to do the same?

There is already a small eco-homes estate in Bristol - http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/west/ser ... omes.shtml

and it seems to be working pretty well, rife with rumours that some developers got in and built homes as an investement - but as far as I know totally unfounded.

The estate that they were built on used to be rough part of Bristol, one of the no go zones at night. This has totally changed and the area is becoming a sort after place to live. - There is an ethical supermarket there, a city farm and a huge alltoment site. - I think that muddy has been working either there or nearby (the estate that is).
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Post: # 26991Post Martin »

it was apparently a chance remark! - Reg said to the councillor that they were getting it all wrong, and should make some council land available for such a scheme - he apparently thought it an excellent idea, so we're waiting to hear of future developments. What we had in mind was something more of a "demo" of what could be done, rather than inviting big commercial concerns in! The way I look at it, councils won't pass developments that they're "frightened of" - if there were a site where there was a strawbale house, totally powered by renewables, there'd be somewhere for the local politicians and public to come and see the things in action! 8)
I'm going to see one of the bigwigs on a local city council next week - had a long chat with him the other day - surprisingly, he was remarkably open and receptive to such ideas - I've got to try and "green" some tower blocks for them - should be fun! - along the way, I'll be dropping my suggestions for this type of thing! :wink:
http://solarwind.org.uk - a small company in Sussex sourcing, supplying, and fitting alternative energy products.
Amateurs encouraged - very keen prices and friendly helpful service!

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Post: # 26996Post Chickpea »

I'd like to see building developments that put people first, not cars. One thing I used to hate about our T***o (when I used to shop at T***o) was the car park that had no designated spaces for pedestrians at all. So to get your shopping back to your car you had to dodge all the traffic, which could be hair-raising with 3 small kids in tow. And it occurred to me how common it is that people have to give way to cars. I teach my kids always to think about the traffic, to look out and take care and be aware of the vehicles around them. But what would it be like if the people had priority and cars had to give way to them? If it was drivers who had to take care and look out and be conscious of the pedestrians around them?

Like when drivers get stuck behind a cyclist they often seem to think "Oh how infuriating. I have to drive slow for a while until I can get past" and they beep their horns and squeeze past far too close as if it's the most dreadful imposition to force them to slow down. But pedestrians don't usually think "Oh how annoying, I have to stand still and wait for the little green man" every time traffic forces them to change their pace. They just accept that that's what happens when you're walking somewhere. I think it should be the other way around.

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Post: # 26999Post Andy Hamilton »

Chickpea wrote:Like when drivers get stuck behind a cyclist they often seem to think "Oh how infuriating. I have to drive slow for a while until I can get past" and they beep their horns and squeeze past far too close as if it's the most dreadful imposition to force them to slow down. But pedestrians don't usually think "Oh how annoying, I have to stand still and wait for the little green man" every time traffic forces them to change their pace. They just accept that that's what happens when you're walking somewhere. I think it should be the other way around.
Good point. I cycled back from Bath to Bristol yesterday. There is a cycle path all the way but I thought for a change I would go the 'top route' which is along a busy road up and down some hills with some breathtaking scenary. I kept getting hooted at by the drivers, I was cycling sensibly and over to the side of the road. I get this a lot especially outside Bath. I hate the fact that many drivers will think that you are not allowed on a busy road if you have a bike. I turn and look at all the drivers who honk there horn at me and they never look at me in the eye.
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Post: # 27199Post Wombat »

I hope you were wearing your helmet, mate :wink:

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Post: # 27208Post ina »

Andy Hamilton wrote:I turn and look at all the drivers who honk there horn at me and they never look at me in the eye.
Looking isn't enough - give them that sign with your hand that says it all... :mrgreen: (Yes, I have done that!!! Disgraceful, middle aged woman should know better. :shock: )

And Chickpea, not only do you not know where to go as a pedestrian on T***o's carpark, there are no cycle stands (or weren't last time I looked, but that's some time ago), so you end up chaining your bike to some rails somewhere or other, getting funny looks from "normal" customers. There often is no way of getting to supermarkets as a pedestrian, either. A Lidl's I used to frequent (other side of Aberdeen) can only be reached by running across a very busy dual carriageway from an area where lots of elderly people live... How much sense does that make?

On the positive side (I think there might be a development!): Went to Aldi's the other week, which is fairly new up here, and they have a wonderful bike stand (mostly used as climbing frame by kids - the majority of the customers don't seem to know what that thing is there for, anyway).
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Selfsufficienish homes not Wilcon

Post: # 30551Post kenboak »

Andy, Martin and Crew,

Some good points about selfsufficientish homes.

I suspect that most homesteads would struggle to grow sufficient food on the land available. Great things can be achieved in limited spaces, but if you examined the typical annual food requirements, say veg alone, it would be a challenge for most folks.

I have met a few people with genuine eco-homes and although I admired their lifestyles, I had always wondered how I could possibly downshift all that way.

Ben Law's Woodland Cottage is an excellent example of what can be done on a budget of less than £30,000

http://www.channel4.com/4homes/ontv/gra ... odman.html

However, he had to fight the council for 10 years to obtain the planning permission to build it, and it must be demolished when he leaves (I suspect he'll leave it to his family).

I have a friend in Hereford, who bought a couple of acres, started with a 15' caravan, then a 25' shed, then another and finally a wonderful self-build straw bale/grass roof chalet eco-bumgalow.

At each stage, the accomodation was recycled, so for example the caravan became the "guest bedroom" when he built the sheds, then, in turn, the sheds became their workshops when they moved into the bungalow.

I also know some people at Tinker's Bubble in Somerset where they live in eco-huts in their woodlands, and live off the 10 acres of land, without the use of any internal combustion engines. They do have a very nice "portable" steam engine, that runs their saw mill.

Then a few years ago, I settled down in Suburbia, and it occurred to me that rather than chasing something unobtainable in life, I would make the most of the assets that we had - ie a solid 1905 suburban home.

Some of my aspirations are on my website

http://www.powercubes.com/homepage.html

Another influence on my aspirations is "The Yellow House" - an ex council house in Oxford

http://theyellowhouse.org.uk/

It just shows how you can patch up a less than ideal property, and reduce its environmental impact considerably.

For most homes in the UK that are more than 20 years old, the best thing that can be done is to insulate them properly. This is absolutely fundamental, and if the government just realised this, and gave the incentives to do it, it would not only reduce our domestic energy costs but create a load of jobs and boost the economy. A lot of inslation products are still made in the UK.



Finally, here are a list of ten things, good and bad, that have influenced my lifestyle

1. A good education in the 1970s and 1980s
2. Being at university during the Miner's Strike and Maggie Thatcher's governmet approach to short-termism and selling off everything of true national value
3a. Reading George Orwell's "Down and Out in Paris and London"
3b. Reading George Orwell's "The Road to Wigan Pier"
4. Building an electric car in the early 1990s
5. Building a model Stirling Engine
6. Being fired from my job
7. Travelling to China and California in the same year, 2003
8. Buying my first proper house at 35
9. Learning how to become energy self-sufficient and sustainable
10. Good and lasting friends who tell you the truth



Ken

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Post: # 30580Post Shirley »

I've had the link to the yellow house in my favourites for a good long while now - some fascinating information and proof positive that we CAN make a difference when renovating a house... we can adopt some of the ideas without a full renovation too.

Whereabouts in Hereford is your friend Ken? We used to live in Herefordshire.
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