Kevin McCloud re­veals his top 10 green he­roes

Kevin McCloud tells Is­abelle Fraser about his ‘green he­roes’, the prod­ucts that blend style with sus­tain­abil­ity

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

Kevin McCloud has been in­stru­men­tal in en­cour­ag­ing Bri­tons to get on and build their dream home. With a fo­cus on the en­vi­ron­ment, he’s also con­trib­uted to the pub­lic’s grow­ing con­scious­ness about be­com­ing more eco friendly.

McCloud’s top tip is that you don’t need to add hi-tech giz­mos to your house – or build it out of hay – to go green. “Start with the sim­ple things like turn­ing the ther­mo­stat down to 18 or 19 de­grees (66F) rather than 21 (69F),” he says. “We could all prob­a­bly in­su­late our at­tics more, draught-proof our win­dows and doors and fit dou­ble glaz­ing.” It doesn’t sound very Grand Designs, that’s for sure.

“In­su­la­tion may not seem sexy but it’s much cheaper and de­liv­ers quicker cash and en­ergy sav­ings than so­lar pan­els or a heat-ex­chang­ing ther­mo­dy­namic hy­brid heat pump with go­faster stripes,” he says.

For those who do want to in­vest in new ideas to help save the planet, he’s come up with a list of his “green he­roes”, the prod­ucts that rep­re­sent the best de­sign and con­struc­tion ideas to help those who want their homes to be more eco-friendly.


Based in Brighton, this firm uses sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als to cre­ate in­ter­est­ing and in­no­va­tive in­te­rior designs.

At last year’s Clerken­well De­sign Week, Claire Pot­ter made a Ghost Gear Chan­de­lier from re­cov­ered fish­ing nets while work­ing with the World Ce­tacean Al­liance. The com­pany has now turned to bot­tles, ma­nip­u­lat­ing them into unique and sculp­tural light fix­tures that catch and re­flect the light to cre­ate an eerie, trans­par­ent jel­ly­fish ef­fect. In the UK we use 38.5mil­lion of th­ese sin­gle use bot­tles ev­ery day, of which 16mil­lion are put into land­fill sites. We should not just re­cy­cle them but rein­vent them, says McCloud, “and up­cy­cle them into beau­ti­ful and use­ful ob­jects.” claire­pot­ter­de­


Eco-friendly builders can use th­ese bricks to build homes. They are made from waste by-prod­ucts, straw, earth and chalk, and are cre­ated us­ing the ex­cess heat from brick­works. hg­


Started as foam to re­place prod­ucts such as Sty­ro­foam, the peo­ple be­hind Mush­room Pack­ag­ing have started ex­per­i­ment­ing with us­ing it as in­su­la­tion as well.

Not only is MycoFoam com­postable, un­like some of its ri­vals, but it is also fire-re­sis­tant and to­tally nat­u­ral: GIY stands for grow-it-your­self.

The sub­stance is cre­ated by tak­ing agri­cul­tural waste which is then ground down, sorted and cleaned, be­fore adding mycelium, the veg­e­ta­tive root struc­ture of a mush­room. This acts as a glue, bind­ing it to­gether.

MycoFoam needs to grow for a few days be­fore it is ready to be used. eco­v­a­


Made from re­cy­cled cof­fee grounds, th­ese eco-friendly bri­quettes are a handy fuel source. Each log is made in the UK out of the grounds that come from 25 cups of cof­fee, and burns hot­ter and longer than wood. They can be used in solid fuel stoves, chimineas and open fires, and are com­pletely car­bon-neu­tral.


Af­ter heat­ing your wa­ter us­ing fuel made from cof­fee grounds, why not drink from a cup made from cof­fee husk? Th­ese el­e­gant, ce­ramic cups keep your drink hot­ter for longer while stay­ing cool to the touch, and are reusable, dish­washer-friendly and durable – they don’t chip or crack.

The cups are made from a by-prod­uct of pro­cess­ing cof­fee that can­not be dis­posed of sus­tain­ably. The av­er­age cof­fee drinker is re­spon­si­ble for al­most 7lb of this husk waste a year. The team be­hind Huskee are re­cy­cling

hun­dreds of tons of waste from cof­fee plan­ta­tions in Yun­nan, south­ern China, by pro­duc­ing th­ese cups. McCloud de­scribed the prod­uct as “bet­ter func­tion­ing than many cheap ce­ram­ics, and very beau­ti­ful”.


This 3D-printed dome can heat a 215 sq ft room in five min­utes with just four tea can­dles.

How? It has a two-layer de­sign: a smaller, in­ner dome heats up quickly and ra­di­ates heat to the outer dome, which then pushes air out into the room.

It is safe to touch, and it is made of ter­ra­cotta, which al­lows it to store and re­lease heat slowly.


ItI looks just like leather, butb this ma­te­rial is made from pineap­ple leaves, a b by-prod­uct of the har­vest. Fi­bres are ex­tracted from the leaves us­ing a process called decor­ti­ca­tion, which also cre­ates a biomass that can be used as or­ganic fer­tiliser or bio-gas. The fi­bres are then shipped to a fac­tory in Spain where they are turned into a tex­tile.

Ananas Anam, the de­vel­oper, works with farm­ers in the Philip­pines to pro­vide them with an ad­di­tional source of in­come while cre­at­ing a ma­te­rial that needs no ex­tra land, wa­ter, fer­tiliser or pes­ti­cide to pro­duce.

So far, the com­pany has cre­ated bags, shoes and clothes, but soon there will be fur­ni­ture.


You re­cy­cle your waste, so why not your kitchen? Not only does it help the en­vi­ron­ment to re­use fur­ni­ture, it makes fi­nan­cial sense, too: this com­pany of­fers ex-show­room and sec­ond­hand kitchens with as much as 70 per cent off the re­tail price. You can sell your old kitchen through it, too. theused­kitchen­com­


This first ap­peared on Kick­starter, the crowd­fund­ing web­site, in 2012 and was hugely pop­u­lar.

Stripped to the bare min­i­mum parts, the speaker looks sleek, cre­ates a rich, bal­anced sound and can be con­nected to Wi-Fi to stream mu­sic from por­ta­ble de­vices through it.

It’s also eco­log­i­cally minded: nearly ev­ery part of the speaker can be re­placed and the old parts are re­cy­clable. eu.trans­par­ents­


This new source of wood ve­neer and floor­ing is a vi­able al­ter­na­tive to cut­ting down old-growth trees that are hard to re­place and pre­cious to lo­cal ecosys­tems.

Smith & Fong, the de­vel­op­ment com­pany, uses palm tim­ber from across Cen­tral Amer­ica, Africa, the Pa­cific Is­lands and south-east Asia, pro­vid­ing jobs in a sus­tain­able in­dus­try and stop­ping harm­ful de­for­esta­tion.

Palm trees be­come less com­mer­cially use­ful af­ter about 60 years as the pro­duc­tion of fruit or nuts di­min­ishes. Th­ese trees are cut down and turned into a wood-like ma­te­rial, which can be used for prod­ucts from floor­ing to fur­ni­ture. Grand Designs Live is at the Birm­ing­ham NEC from Oc­to­ber 11 to 15. Tele­graph read­ers can buy two tick­ets for the price of one – £17 for a week­day, £20 at the week­end – us­ing the code TEL241 (0844 854 1348; grand­de­

GRAND DE­SIGNS Kevin McCloud, main, in­cludes the Egloo, left, a 3Dprinted heater, among his top 10 ‘green he­roes’

GROW-ITYOURSELF My­coFoam, be­low, which is made from agri­cul­tural waste binded with a mush­room-based glue, can be used as in­su­la­tion

SUS­TAIN­ABLE CHIC Du­ra­palm’s floor­ing, left; Claire Pot­ter’s lights made from plas­tic bot­tles, mid­dle; the Trans­par­ent Speaker, top

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