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  • Gina Everett

Kevin McCloud's Green Heroes at Grand Designs Live

So last week Gina spent the week at Grand Designs Live meeting homeowners and discussing their interior design dilemmas. I popped along for a day to have a look at the show and see what’s new in the world of home design and building.

Grand Designs Live is a spin off from the popular TV show where architectural expert Kevin McCloud follows the journeys of people building their dream home. Like the tv programme the show focuses on building homes and has less focus on interiors than say the Ideal Home Show. However it is great place to discover innovative new ideas in homebuilding and design.

This year there was a definite focus on all things sustainable, green and healthy living. One of the areas that highlights this at the show is Kevin’s Green Heroes. From small scale start-ups to big businesses, Green Heroes are inspired by Kevin’s own passion for innovative, eco-friendly and green building products.

The stand displays the products of six businesses with additional live demonstrations giving visitors to the chance to see the visitors the chance to see the very best eco-innovations come to life as they watch the craftsmanship that goes into creating the products, along with the chance to meet the people behind the brands.

Coffee logs by Bio-Bean

Coffee logs are a sustainable eco-friendly fuel source made from used coffee grounds. Each of these premium eco-briquettes are made up from the used grounds of 25 cups of coffee.

Sustainable eco fuels at Grand Designs Live

This innovative fuel source offers a sustainable alternative to conventional solid fuels and imported woody biomass. They have a hotter, longer burn than wood. They can be used in solid fuel stoves, chimeneas and open fires, providing affordable warmth which saves the panel, one cup of coffee at a time.

Bamboo Bicycle Club

The Bamboo Bicycle Club helps passionate cyclists to build and ride their own self build bicycles.

Bamboo bicycle club

Founders James and Ian are two bike riding engineers who, following their own enthusiastic experiments in building Bamboo bikes, decided to create a bicycling community with others building their own beautiful, robust and environmentally friendlier bamboo bicycle frames. To prove that anyone can build their own cycles the club teaches amateur bike builders to build beautiful bamboo bikes from home grown materials at their workshop in East London over two or three day courses.

Lucentia Design

Lucent Design develop unique techniques to process and recycle plastics. Lucentia source plastics at the end of their usable lives and recycle them into fresh new sheet material.

Artworks from recycled plastics

Lucent Designs work with acrylics, polycarbonates and vinyls to beautiful panels with different finishes.

Made from a variety of recycled items like CDs, car headlights and vinyl flooring the finished designs create playful and colourful artworks and everyday products such as these bespoke home accessories.

Goldfinch Furniture

A new Green Hero for 2018 Goldfinch furniture create ethical furniture of outstanding quality and provenance. Sourcing high quality english timber, they have great relationships with local foresters and tree surgeons who enable them to mill fallen and coppiced trees from sustainable sources into boards that are then dried in kilns.

Goldfinch is one of the enterprises run by London Reclaimed, a Southwark based charity which helps 16-25 year olds into employment. Founded in 2011 their mission has been to pass on furniture making skills and knowledge to young people in their local area creating beautiful pieces of furniture in the process.

Claire Potter

Claire Potter’s artistic lights are made from recycled plastic bottles. The issue of how to tackle single use plastic has been brought to the fore lately so it is great to see such an innovative use of this waste material.

The smack recycled light installation

This installation is part of a sculptural light is created from 365 plastic sports drink bottles recovered from a beach clean in Brighton. Undergoing 7 different separation and reprocessing steps to make the materials pure, the bottles were then transformed into a set of 30 LED lit jellyfish lights called ‘The Smack” - the collective term for jellyfish. With 16 million single use plastic bottles landfilled or incinerated everyday its great to see them reinvented and upcycled into beautiful objects .

GIY Mycofoam

A Grow-It-Yourself foam, GIY Mycofoam is now proven to replace plastic foams like Styrofoam with an Earth friendly alternative for packaging. Coming next is a solution for insulation and acoustic tiles.

Today’s most common insulation materials have some serious negative environmental consequences. Mycofoam is developing as a natural mushroom insulation. Healthy, easy to install and fire resistant insulation. As well as a material for acoustic lining and aquatic assistance products (such as hand paddles for surfers) among a multitude of other uses, provide boundless possibilities for viable eco-friendly alternatives to existing products.

HG Matthews

Combining two waste resources from their farm and brickworks; straw and clay rich earth, H.G. Matthews produce a range of products including structural blocks, insulating blocks, mortars and plasters. At the heart of these products is the strock; a structural block of straw and earth. Strocks are not fired like traditional bricks and blocks but dried in biomass driers powered by locally sourced timber making them truly renewable. Combined with its sibling products such as clay mortar, clay plasters and insulating straw blocks they create beautifully natural homes that are healthy for the environment and healthy for the inhabitants.

Is this the ultimate survival machine?

Finally at the show I discovered The Cockroach. Described as the ultimate survival machine, The Cockroach is a solar powered, pedal powered vehicle capable of transporting two people over large distances in comfort over large distances.

Grand Designs Live the cockroach survival machine

Made from waste collected across London including old bikes, for sale signs, mobility scooter batteries, plumbing pipes and left overs from last year’s Grands Designs Live. Would you believe Kevin McCloud arrived in The Cockroach on the opening morning of this year’s event!



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