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(U.K) ‘Natural House’ Building Progress Checked on by Prince Charles

Prince Charles paid a visit to the BRE Innovation Park in Watford today to check the progress of the Natural House, an alternative approach to sustainable home building which is being constructed by educational charity the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment.

The Natural House joins the latest phase of development of the Park which features a range of world-leading sustainable homes and buildings that demonstrate diverse and innovative approaches to low impact design and construction.

Constructed from a range of natural materials which have a low embodied energy and good thermal properties,  

the Natural House aims to demonstrate significant energy savings right from manufacture to daily use, to offer good indoor air quality, to be simple and quick to construct and to appeal to the increasingly eco-aware homebuyer.

Dr Peter Bonfield, Chief Executive of BRE comments: The aim of the Innovation Park is to show, test and trial a range of different design, construction, and technology options for sustainable homes and buildings. We are excited about the new body of evidence based knowledge that the Natural House will generate with its own unique approach to homebuilding for a low impact built environment.

Aiming to reach Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, the house features a range of materials that are either grown or taken from the ground to create a comfortable, liveable environment within the house. Walls are formed from a single skin of aerated clay Ziegel blocks, with external lime and hemp render and internal woodfibre board to provide high levels of insulation with minimal heat transfer. Roof tiles are clay and all timber for floors and windows is made from ethically and locally sourced FSC certified timber.

Hank Dittmar, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Foundation explains “Climate change is forcing us to radically re-think our built environment. It is vital that we find a simple, high volume, low carbon approach to house building, creating a new eco-vernacular that people will love and enjoy for hundreds, not tens of years. We tend to assume that that low carbon must mean high-tech, but that’s not the only option. We must deliver low carbon in a way that is appealing to home buyers, and we must also address issues of indoor air quality, the use of natural materials and the creation of adaptable, flexible buildings.”

Visitors to BRE’s INSITE09 event 1-4 June will be able to see the shell of the Natural House under construction as well as demonstrations of the Zeigel block wall system which will take place each day of the event. The house will be completed in the Autumn 2009.