The DIY Eco-Home
By Katie Anderson on June 29, 2011
After more than a decade of planning, a father and daughter are finally building a new eco-friendly home – the exterior of which should take only three days to complete.
Tucker and Kirstie Finlayson conceived the idea to build the three bedroom environmentally friendly home in West Hampstead some 12 years ago, but numerous problems and obstacles have stood in their way.
This week, however, the dream to build the split-level property is set to be realised after Mr Finlayson contracted German firm MH to construct the home in segments at the firm’s factory in Hamlin, Germany. Assuming all goes to plan, the home will be made watertight and secure within three days, with plumbing, electrics and interior fixtures likely to be finished inside three months.
Lesley Gross, of MH, said: “Off-site construction – we prefer not to call it prefab – is becoming more and more popular. Sometimes clients simply want a house built quickly, but we want them to come to us because they want an eco-home. We believe in it and it works, delivering energy cost savings to clients”.
Explaining the decision to erect the ‘DIY’ eco-home on the tiny plot of land, Mr Finlayson said: “One night I got drunk with a mate of mine who’s an architect and he suggested I build a house at the end of the garden. It’s amazing what one drunken night can lead to”.
Discussing his protracted battle to secure planning permission, Mr Finlayson added: “It became a little game with the council. It was fun. I had to eliminate everything they objected to, one by one, until there was nothing left for them to object to”.
The first MH home to be erected in the UK is occupied by Brigid Sundaram, who said: “MH said we could build a 180 square metre, four to five bedroom home in two days, which was true and now we have all the eco technology you could wish for. I wanted to prove to my teenage children that you can have all the mod-cons and still be eco-friendly”.
Ms Sundaram’s home uses solar panels to generate around 65 per cent of its hot water supply. MH homes also use recycled Fermacell insulation.