Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Eco Homes on TV

straw bale building

Tommy Walsh Builds An Eco house. What a great idea for a TV program I thought, as I saw the cable channel Real Time were showing this. I watched in eager anticipation, as I'm a big fan of Eco houses, and have worked on a few myself. It was shown over a month and took about 5 hours on realtime TV. Unfortunately it was basically a conventional house, with an improved insulation, solar electric panels slate tile roof and rainwater collection and storage. After all those hours of watching him build a concrete footing, and concrete block walls; I was wondering when he would discuss how it was an Eco house. Right at the end, he said it wasn't really an Eco house, but an Eco friendly house. What a disappointment.

Then I saw an earthship Eco house featured on the discovery science channel, a program called Eco-tech, building green. It was a short segment, but well done. There was an interview with Michael Reynolds and tour of a few houses. It also featured a house producing hydrogen from solar panels for a house and a car, lots of solar panels, a green roof, a system to reflect light onto a park in Manhattan.

I've worked on some real Eco houses, earthships and straw bale buildings. The difference between the greenwash and the real deal is the embodied energy required to produce the materials on conventional buildings is huge. Timber, straw bales and mud have a very low energy cost. Earthships are made from tyres so are a waste product, so cost zero energy. Straw Bales are similarly an agricultural by product.

I've visited the BedZed house near Croydon London,
and Sue Roafs Eco house in Oxford
The Brighton Earthship is at, USA one is
Oxford Straw Bale House,

Ive written about Green Building and another earthship in Spain at

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