A low impact woodland home

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Denise Michela Sofia
EMEA Upstream Sustainability Services

My favorite property in the world is a beautiful, sustainable house, which happens to be in Wales.  Built by Simon Dale, his father-in law, and some good friends, its most sophisticated plan was a hand-drawn sketch on a crumpled piece of paper. It took 4 months to build, and cost the grand total of £3000!

Its walls, floor and roof are insulated with hay bales, its framework made from spare wood found in the woodland, and the roof is covered with mud and turf, great for growing your own fruit and veg. The “parquet” (flooring) in this house was made from reclaimed wood, creating unique patterns, and most of the windows, plumbing, wiring, were recycled from rubbish dumps.

The house was not only cheap to make, but to live in as well. Little energy and water is consumed as a result of the following:

– The fridge is cooled by air coming in from the underground foundations
– An oval, pantheon-like skylight provides natural lighting
– Water is brought in by gravity from the nearby spring
– There is no need to flush as the toilet is a compost toilet
– The water for the garden pond is provided by rainwater collected on the roof
– Solar panels have also been installed to cover the rest of the energy requirements

Now, I know to a city-dweller, this description may sound horrific, but if you take into consideration all of the pollutant and toxic chemicals that go into a ‘normal’ house (not to mention the costs) this wouldn’t sound so appealing either. Not only is this house good for the environment, you, and for your bank account, it is also aesthetically pleasing to the eye. I will leave you to make your own mind up, as to whether this house isn’t enchanting (Pics Attached)

Simon has been invited all over the world to build houses like this one. I asked him myself while I was living in the Caribbean, whether he would be willing to come over to help me build my own sustainable house. After initially accepting the invitation, he changed his mind, because of the carbon footprint of his flight. Hence my dream for a sustainable, beautiful, and cheap house has been put on hold, especially since moving to London.

However, I heard Simon moved out of this house, as he is now working on a new home in the Lammas Project eco-village. I can’t help but wonder what the commute into London would be like from Wales?

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