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.
Duncan Baker-Brown designed and managed the production of a high efficiency eco building in 2008. It was erected in London's Docklands live on Thames TV in six days in 2008 for Channel 4's Grand Designs Live and was heralded as the UK's first low-energy prefabricated house made from eco-friendly materials.
Dismantled following the television programme, the house was rebuilt at a location in the South West before being given permission for a permanent version on the campus of the University of Brighton. Kevin McCloud, the British designer who presented the TV programme, backed the rebuild along with Brighton & Hove City Council and the Building Research Establishment (BRE), the construction industry's research and consultancy organization.
The house and the construction process are part of the research project; testing, evaluating and refining cutting-edge and sustainable new materials and construction methods. Working with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) our researchers at the university will undertake a long-term evaluation of the house. The resulting longitudinal study and subsequent experiments will contribute to the knowledge of the entire construction industry.
Intellectually the project extends our research in this critical area of activity and complements a large EU support project Innovation For Renewal (IFORE) co-ordinated by Professor Mike McEvoy, desmonstrating the real world value and impact of our research.
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.
Visit the Brighton Waste House website for more information.