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28 October 2014
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   Inside Out - West: Monday 7th October, 2002


Self build house development

Building your own home could be a dream come true. Inside Out looks at self build schemes and the growth of eco friendly houses.

Inside Out has been following the story of one of the West's most unusual housing developments.

Two dozen eco-friendly homes are being built by a group of green idealists in Bristol.

We take a look at eco-houses and check out what the home of the future could look like.

An Englishman's home

Look at a typical English housing estate and you'll notice that all the homes look the same.

Building an eco-house
Building the eco-house of the future

The idea of the house has become so standardised that we hardly ever question how uniform our homes are.

Yet there are great opportunities to create the house of the future, and to reinvent the home.

'Eco-houses' are energy and resource efficient, and they boast inventive designs.

Environmental sustainablilty is very much the buzzword.

Eco-neighbourhoods are designed to be high quality, visually attractive environments incorporating advanced sustainable architecture and technology.

Building your own eco-home

So where do you start if you want to get involved in building your own eco-home?

Tessa Dunlop on self build scheme
Tessa Dunlop gets eco-friendly

First, you could join a group of fellow eco-builders.

You'll need to find a plot of land and ensure that you're not going to upset the local planning authority or your new neighbours.

There's a wealth of advice for first-time self-builders on the internet.

Do your research and learn from other people's experiences.

Think about the design of your new home, and build in sustainable and energy efficient features.

Self build scheme in Bristol
Self build in Bristol

Make sure that the design fits in with its surroundings.

Estimate your costs in full including building materials and labour.

Think about money. Prepare to negotiate loans, insurance cover and mortgages.

Work out how you intend to manage the self-build scheme. You could go for 'safety in numbers' by joining a group scheme.

Future homes

So what will the home of the future look like? Will it be more or less eco-friendly?

The 'smart' home will be fitted with dozens of labour saving gadgets.

The Biosphere in Arizona takes the future home to new heights

We'll be able answer the door, run a bath, draw the curtains and switch on the oven without leaving the sofa - with the help of a specially designed computer pad.

Whatever our homes look like in the year 2050, the chances are that we'll be more aware of eco-issues.

Change is already on the horizon.

In the United States, Arizona's Biosphere and Arcosanti are two experimental communities of the future.

They both promote sustainable lifestyles.

Who knows, perhaps all of us will soon be exchanging our dull, uniform homes in the West Country to live in the eco-communities of the future.

See also ...

On the rest of the web
Eco houses
Eco Arc

Eco solutions
Centre for Alternative Technology
Green House
Organic homes
Ashley vale eco-homes in Bristol
Self build housing
Self build trust
The Housing Project ebuild
Arcosanti alternative community

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