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£2bn Gwynt y Mor windfarm

Category: News June 4th, 2010 by mbc

Interested to see that the sea off Wales will be home to one of the largest offshore windfarms in the world. Consisting of 160 wind turbines it should come online in 2014.
I view that with a certain amount of ambivalence, on the positive side –

  • Power from renewables has to be good.!
  • It’s a large capital project which is positive for the economy of both the UK and Wales.
  • New technology is exciting!

But there are also negatives for me –

  • Foreign companies (Dutch and German) seem to be the main players and whilst this is a private investment project it seems a shame that such an undertaking cannot be more ‘British’. (I’m sure there’ll be government financial ‘sweeteners’ in there somewhere finding their way even further offshore than the wind farm…)
  • I’m not yet convinced by the cost effectiveness of these projects. Given the massive upfront investment then ongoing sizeable maintenance costs is this form of power really cost effective when compared to alternatives? (including, heaven forbid nuclear power which we are rarely able to have a grown up debate about in this country).

One to watch with interest…

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Stoneworks

Category: Website Reviews February 22nd, 2010 by mbc

One thing I realised from my recent post on the downstairs travertine floor was that I haven’t recommended Stoneworks who are the company I bought the travertine flooring from and I’ve subsequently ordered mosiac tiles from for the splashbacks. I’ve always received great service from them and wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.

It’s also worth contacting them for any advice you may need related to tiling with natural stone wall or floor tiles.

StoneWorks Ltd
StoneWorks Ltd

In their own words: "Stoneworks supplies high quality natural stone wall and floor products at competitive prices."

Thanks StoneWorks!

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The four new English “eco-towns”

Category: News February 10th, 2010 by mbc

The building of four new towns in England (housing being one of those aspects of policy devolved to the Welsh assembly government who are probably concocting some more crazy schemes like sprinklers in residential properties instead of schemes like this) at or near Whitehill-Bordon in Hampshire, St Austell in Cornwall, Rackheath in Norfolk and North West Bicester in Oxfordshire is a strange concept when you think about it. New towns have long been the butt of much humour – you only need to think of Milton Keynes and a whole plethora of jokes follow (What is the difference between a yoghurt and Milton Keynes? Yoghurt has culture. – admittedly not very good jokes)… populate them with the concerned eco-warrior types who will be attracted to these places and add a sprinkle of politics and I think we have the recipe for a whole new range of (not very good) jokes.

Putting aside my cynicism (believe me it’s hard) these seem like worthy and worthwhile developments – so long as true eco credentials can be established and renewability and sustainability not merely paid lip service to then these new towns may well form beacons of good eco-housing practice and catalysts for change in the wider community.

I must admit my first thought was ‘glad they’re not on my doorstep’ , but then I’ve had a bloody big gas pipeline on mine since 2007 so feel that I’ve done my bit in regard to what’s on and not on my doorstep!

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Self-builders need some encouragement…

Category: News January 14th, 2010 by mbc

I occasionally ‘page’ through the ecologist website and came this article that piqued my interest:

We need a citizens’ housing revolution

Whilst a little short on content the sentiment – that the development of new housing can be partially entrusted to self-builders who should be ‘helped to create vital, sustainable communities’ – is one that I totally agree with. As ever, the public sector seem to be one of the main barriers to this (at least according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation) – the empowered enablers acting to disable the self-builder and retain control.

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Progress

Autumn 2013

Right that’s the summer over with, now I can get on with some real work without the distractions of other things (like holidays and playing with children, all that enjoyable stuff that gets in the way of progress)… With few major jobs (painting, boxing in – nasty stuff!) left inside, mainly fiddly things that need […]

I’m having a moan on twitter… https://twitter.com/barnconversion/status/368427314868396032

A lovely Flemish barn conversion

I love the interior of this conversion and the great use of horizontal slats on this conversion. I retains the essential ‘barnyness’ of the building… flemish-barn-by-arend-groenewegen-architect

Coming soon, my barn conversion guide… Interesting earthship greenhouse project on Kickstarter

I really like this Kickstarter project >> The Farm of the Future: Earthship-Inspired Greenhouse This project is “Prototyping the First 100% Off-The-Grid, Affordable, Low-Maintenance Greenhouse using Earthship Principles and Aquaponics“. If any of those words meaning anything to you you’ll be interested in the project if not, pass it by… It’s already funded so I […]

Barns

Barns Gallery on Remodelista

There is a lovely gallery of barn related inspirational photographs available on Remodelista.

Barns – the Long House

Situated on the North Norfolk coast, this is a building to admire…

Barns – the Balancing Barn

A stunning piece of architecture, although not entirely to my taste…

New fast-track planning permission for the development of barns proposed

The Daily Mail reports on a new fast-track route through planning controls for the conversion of barns…

De-assembled, re-assembled, re-cycled barns

“A bit like a private sector, modernising, repurposing St Fagan’s…”

Design

What is a shadow gap?

A shadow gap – a mysterious dark place between two plains…

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

Architecture

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

The Stirling prize 2012 winner – the Sainsbury Laboratory

The 2012 Stirling prize was won by a outsider, the Sainsbury Laboratory…

The Stirling prize 2012

I think that this years Stirling prize has some exciting projects on the shortlist…

Our engineers … our architects – Le Corbusier

The efficient, shiny world of construction in 1923…

Design in Storage

When designing a layout it’s easy to forget to plan for storage…

News

Green Deal slow beginnings?

Oh dear! The green deal hasn’t got off to a very auspicious start… As reported in the Telegraph today since it was launched nearly a year ago just 12 homes have taken advantage of the Green Deal with a few hundred more in the pipeline. 71,210 households had been assessed for Green Deal measures such […]

The property roller coaster – planning reform to be rethought

Eric Pickles vague compromise on planning reform keeps the house happy (for now).

Energy policy, smoke screens, fracking, confusion and big bucks

There seems to be only one thing that is certain in the world of energy policy and that is that costs will rise annually above and beyond anything that inflation can currently throw at us. Beyond that, smoke screens & confusion seem to reign. Take the recent news for example… It’s reported today that the […]

Flanking manoeuvres and good design…

It seems that the government are undertaking flanking manoeuvres on the green belt…

Green Deal Launch

The Green deal launched in the UK on Monday of this week. Fanfares? fireworks? a deluge of marketing? … read more …

Plaid Cymru’s Green New Deal promise

The leader of Plaid Cymru has promised a “Green New Deal” to rejuvenate the Welsh economy and help maintain Wales’ position at the forefront of Green policies.

Permitted development extension limits to be doubled

The government is due to announce a temporary increase in the maximum depth of extensions that can be built under permitted development rules.

Lloyd Khan, making shelter simple.

I wanted to share an interview with Lloyd Khan that I recently found…

Just what is ‘sustainable development’?

Sustainable development – with the term now enshrined in planning law, what does it mean?

Sir Patrick Abercrombie – “It is a matter for serious thought…”

While reading up on the response of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) I came across this quote from Sir Patrick Abercrombie…