Mark Edwards lived in a draughty Georgian house in the village of Shrawley in Worcestershire. He and his wife felt that they were fuel poor and were constantly frustrated with the soaring cost of fuel bills for their home. Their son joined an eco-action committee at school and through this initiative he urged his parents into thinking green. As a result they decided to build an eco house in the garden of their home which would incorporate all of the latest green technology available.
The project did not go smoothly and there were huge delays because they lost their builder and therefore Mark had to become project manager, it took four years to actually finish the project. During this time his wife Lucy wanted the existing house to be as eco friendly as possible and so Mark put the other house, known as Valley Views, on the market for £550,000. Mark at this time was exhausted through his efforts on V`lley Views and cash-poor. However due to his enthusiasm he is now an advisor on the Grand Designs road shows tour.
Mark was inspired by the Guerkin building in London when he designed his home and wanted the house to reflect it but he had to think about what the planners would actually accept. So the house has an unusual curved wall in reference to the Guerkin with magnificent rural views and state of the art energy saving capacity. The four bedroom house costs just £3 a day heat and installed in the rooms are skirting board radiators, sheep's wool insulation and a warm and cold air filtering system. There is no need for a kettle in the house because a hot water tap produces water which is at boiling point; kettles are often referred to as using short sharp amounts of electricity so this device certainly helps the electricity bills.
Mark had to travel to Germany to meet with someone who knew all about the latest German technologies and how he could adapt them to the British climate and houses. British weather is a lot damper than Germany so the technologies had to adapt to this. As a result some of these ideas were then incorporated into the family's old house which has now reduced its carbon footprint by an amazing 47%. Many other people around the country are doing just the same in their homes and are urging British builders and architects to do the same.
At present when people are buying a house it is not their green credentials which sell it to them but mostly its price, position and appearance unfortunately. Andrew Yates of Eco Arc Architects has been building groundbreaking carbon neutral houses in Findhorn in Scotland since 1986 and has noticed that green building is becoming a lot more main stream. His clients now include the National Trust and the Royal Horticultural Society as well as doctor's surgeries and individual homes. Individual homes that he has worked on range from £180,000 up to £1.4million, so all kinds of homeowners are deciding that they best way to go is green.