Research and education
Conceived by Baker-Brown as a prototype and long-term living experiment, when fully completed The Waste House will be one of the first A* energy-efficient rated sustainable buildings in the UK. Showcasing new technologies, it will become an exhibition and workshop space for students and community groups, and the University of Brighton's headquarters for sustainable design.
Baker-Brown’s research aims included the following: (1) to seek to prove that fluffy, crumbly and organic low carbon materials can compete effectively with their more established high-energy, high-carbon counterparts; (2) to test innovative green prefabrication techniques as agents of wastage reduction; (3) to use high-tech construction methods to reduce time on site, material waste and accuracy on site; and (4) to prove that a comprehensive understanding of lightweight insulations and heavyweight energy storage materials will result in a reduction of expensive high-tech equipment to create a low carbon house.
The Waste House evolved from the application of sustainability research for Baker-Brown’s first prototype, ‘The House that Kevin Built’ (2008), an innovative project to design and construct live on television a highly sustainable domestic property using a combination of ‘offsite’ innovative building systems. Carried out in collaboration with ‘Grand Designs’ presenter Kevin McCloud, it was shown live over six days on Channel 4.
The Waste House has the support of Brighton’s Green MP, Caroline Lucas, and is closely linked with the City Council, alongside construction and cultural organisations. Its university location is fitting since Brighton was ranked fifth out of 143 higher education institutions in the 2013 People & Planet’s Green League Table and seen ‘to be among the pioneers leading the HE sector's transition to a low-carbon future.’ The Waste House featured widely in the media, including BBC TV and The Guardian (3.10.2012) and has the support of re-use community Freegle.
Students at the University of Brighton College of Arts and Humanities are benefitting from a suite of educational and research projects that surround the building of Duncan Baker-Brown's innovative house.
As well as being responsible for the recording and documenting of the project from the conditions of the initial site to the completion and use of the building, students from the departments of Architecture and Interior Architecture and Urban Studies are at work on a number of projects that take their inspiration from the the development.