The Unconditional Blog

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Eco design and speedy construction could deliver sustainable and affordable housing

Posted on: June 7th, 2008 | Filed in Architecture & Construction

A new development outside of Milton Keynes in the UK is featured in an article in this month’s edition of Wired magazine. Oxley Woods is being built by George Wimpey UK – one of the largest UK building firms. This development of 145 eco-friendly homes has been designed around a community environment with the combined benefits of environmentally sustainable construction and affordable housing.

The houses ranging from 2 to 5 bedrooms and feature the award winning design of the UK government’s scheme to build a quality house for £60,000 ($150,000). The fundamental component of the success of the design and quality of the build lies in the fact that most of the house is constructed off-site and then constructed on site in a day and a half (excluding services and other finishing work which adds another 4 weeks).

The key to the eco design is a solar powered ventilation system which provide a healthy home through a concept called at EcoHat which is part of the roof design.

There is much that could be adopted in NZ from such a design and development, as previously posted back in January – the modular construction form of commercial construction can drive efficiency of construction and therefore drive out costs. Equally building the panels off-site makes for a faster more efficient construction as well as enabling the most environmentally considerate construction materials and insulation.

A wonderful example of this off-site “kitset” house is the German house builder Huf which was showcased on the excellent Grand Design series on the Living Channel. These striking houses are high end but as the programme profiled, everything right down to electrical, plumbing and wall coverings are part of the wall panel construction undertaken in the factory to incredible tolerances before being delivered to site.

It seems from this UK project that this government and the community’s aspiration to meet the ideals of affordable housing; eco-friendly construction as well as building communities could be met which such a blue-print development – all we need is a NZ developer to step up.

Article Discussion

  1. […] this month I wrote a post titled “Eco design and speedy construction could deliver sustainable and affordable housing” – in it I made this statement: It seems from this UK project that this government and the […]

  2. Paul says:

    We’ve been living in one of these eco houses since summer 2008, and it’s been a challenging and perhaps interesting time. Lots of great things about them, but we’ve had lots of fundamental issues, like not being able to keep rain water out!

  3. Paul

    Thanks for sharing that with us – I trust the property has some fundamental guarantees that provide for such an eventuality. It would be interesting to know if the rain water issue is a design fault of a question of construction quality / attention to detail.

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