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Jane and Andy

Architectural journalist and senior curator at the V&A, Kieran Long, and architect Piers Taylor are following self-builders as they take on the biggest gamble of their lives. Yet all of them have less than £100k to spend, little or no experience and have their life savings on the line - it will not be easy.

After living their whole lives in conventional houses with every modern convenience, Jane and Andy have bought a plot on an eco-community in West Wales where they can build their own home and live a self-sufficient lifestyle. As passionate environmentalists, they intend to build the house with locally sourced materials and to demonstrate that it is possible to build an environmentally friendly and comfortable house.

However the plot comes with some big restrictions, with strict quotas that include producing 75% of everything they consume, from food to electricity. It is the life they have always dreamt of but juggling the responsibilities of self-sufficiency and the build soon finds the couple at odds with their lifestyle.

Andy, a former chemical engineer, has all the practical skills but currently the plans for their home are only in his head. Piers quickly identifies this as a major problem and looks for solutions that could help - even suggesting using entire parts of a 747 jet - while Kieran investigates the positives and pitfalls of sustainable building by visiting award winning eco-conscious homes.

At first, Jane and Andy make good progress - but when Kieran visits the build 8 months in, there are big issues. The weather has effectively stopped work on site, the frame is still half built and the vegetable patch is empty. With winter approaching, the couple are subsisting in the caravan and face tough decisions that could compromise their eco-friendly beliefs.

Release date:

1 hour

Last on

Mon 16 Dec 2013 09:05


Role Contributor
PresenterKieran Long
PresenterPiers Taylor
Executive ProducerAnnette Clarke
Series EditorJoff Wilson

The challenge of the new

The challenge of the new

"Diverging from what you know and think you already like can be pretty scary”