9 October 2015

Eco Open Houses weekends

Eco Open Houses to showcase latest energy saving innovations in Brighton & Hove

Sustainable, energy efficient homes remain the future of housing: that’s the message from this year’s Eco Open Houses in Brighton & Hove and surrounding areas, which will take place on 17-18 and and 24-25 October.

The annual event, which sees owners of some of the greenest buildings in Sussex opening their doors to the public for free, showcases the most innovative green technologies and materials currently available.

Twelve buildings will open their doors to the public, including:

● Five retrofitted and four newbuilt homes. All four new build homes and one of the newly built community buildings are zero-carbon.

● A zero-carbon house on Grantham Road, featuring an air source heat pump, solar photovoltaics, rainwater harvesting and underfloor heating newly built to the exacting Code for Sustainable Homes level 5 standard.

● The office that used to be a toilet block; featuring ground floor insulation, food growing, rainwater collection and recycled furniture.

● The award winning Earthship Brighton community centre made out of old car tyres rammed with earth. It generates its own solar energy for heat and power, and treats sewage on site.

● The internationally renowned and award winning Waste House at the University of Brighton, made almost entirely out of waste, including old denim and thousands of toothbrushes, will be open to the public throughout the event.

● Brighton Permaculture Trust’s Fruit Factory, a straw-bale retrofit of a tractor shed set to revolutionise scrumping of local fruit.

The public are also invited to a talk on low-energy Passivhaus construction, featuring a Passivhaus refurbishment in Totnes. Passivhaus is an internationally recognised standard for comfortable low energy buildings.

Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “The Eco Open Houses weekends are always very popular. Visiting the properties, and talking to the owners taking part, is a great way to get ideas and inspiration for making your home more environmentally-friendly, and cut energy bills at the same time.”

Homes that take part in Eco Open Houses achieve an average reduction in energy use of 69 per cent, so energy bills are considerably diminished. Also, they typically have lower water bills and smaller carbon footprints than the average UK home. They are generally warmer and more comfortable to live in, and are better adapted to changing weather patterns too.

Coinciding with the start of the ‘heating season’ the event will provide advice on how to keep homes warm this winter, and will also continue to inspire the public, giving practical guidance for those who would like to see how design can improve their carbon footprint.

Mischa Hewitt, Director of the Low Carbon Trust, said: "Eco Open Houses 2015 demonstrates that building sustainably is easily achievable, and all of the houses in Brighton & Hove show householders, communities and businesses how it can be done. "

Full details of Brighton & Hove Eco Open Houses, including how to book tours of the eco homes, open house visiting times and the seminar programme, can be found in the 2015 brochure, which can be downloaded from www.ecoopenhouses.org

ENDS

Editors’ notes

● Eco Open Houses is an annual collaborative project run by Low Carbon Trust, Brighton Permaculture Trust and and Brighton & Hove City Council .

Low Carbon Trust is an independent, not-for-profit organisation formed in 2001 to set up, manage and promote environmental projects; Brighton PermacultureTrust promotes greener lifestyles and sustainable development through design.

For more information contact: Rebecca Freeman at the Low Carbon Trust  rebecca.freeman@lowcarbon.co.uk