‘What was an ecohouse is now just a really well-designed house’



Around a third of the UK’s carbon emissions come directly from household energy use – but by 2016, all new homes in the UK are due to be zero-carbon.

Interest in the ecobuild market is therefore at an all-time high – typified by the encouraging turnout at this year’s Ecobuild event – a sustainable homes exhibition that finishes today at the ExCel in London.

Blue & Green Tomorrow caught up with Luke Tozer of Pitman Tozer Architects about what the future has in store for ecohomes.

How would you define a sustainable home?

A well-built, well-designed house that efficiently and beautifully meets the need of modern life today but allows for future adaptation.

What are the simplest ways for individuals to ‘green’ their homes?

Insulate the roof and floors, fit draught excluders and a new high-efficiency condensing boiler. Then insulate the walls and double glaze the windows. That’s most of the battle won. Not sexy, but true.

What are the biggest trends you’ve noticed in the ecobuild sector over the last 12 months or so?

No longer do people think that a low-energy home necessarily has to wear its innards on the outside or look different.  What was an ecohouse is now just a really well-designed house.

In general, do you think the terms ‘sustainable’ and ‘eco’ attract or put off homeowners from buying properties?

I think the terms are positive and attract interest with the expectation that running costs will be low.

What are the main advantages of making your home sustainable?

Running costs will be low. Once you’ve done so, the benefits just keep on coming. Every energy price rise is accompanied with a little schadenfreude.

What are the consequences of an unsustainable housing stock?

An impending national energy gap.

You wrote a piece for B&GT two years ago about your own ecohome. How is it today?

Still a delight each day – warm, lively (thanks to my wife and two young sons) and now the large white walls finally have some artwork on them.

What are your predictions for the future of ecobuild?

It will become more and more mainstream and embedded into the construction industry and the way things are done until eventually the term ‘eco’ is dropped.  Mind you there are still a few years to get there, though.

Further reading:

Green homes: will patience pay?

Ecology updates housing scheme to offer mortgage discounts to sustainable homes

The benefits of self-build to the UK energy landscape

Government launches long-awaited green deal scheme

Study paints UK as a leader in green building


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