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Building eco-houses is easy

01 December 2010

Kevin McCloudKevin McCloud

One of Britain’s most well-known advocates of sustainable building design visited the University this week to deliver a public lecture on sustainable architecture.

Best known for fronting Channel 4’s Grand Designs programme; designer, presenter and author Kevin McCloud addressed the capacity audience at the Glamorgan Building in a lively and intimate lecture.

Hosted by the Cardiff School of City & Regional Planning’s Innovation & Engagement Unit, the lecture entitled ‘Building eco-houses is easy’ tackled the issue of context, in terms of building proper places for people to live in that are distinctive and authentic.

Kevin McCloud said: "The most important piece of architecture any of us ever experience is the home we live in. Eco-building is no longer the domain of the knit-your-own-sandals brigade. Legislation and the Rio and Kyoto protocols require us to consider the environmental impact of everything we do, and clearly our homes are big producers of pollution both in their construction and day-to-day running."

Jane Davidson AM with Kevin McCloudJane Davidson AM with Kevin McCloud

Wales’ Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, Jane Davidson, AM opened the proceedings with a presentation on the Welsh Assembly Government’s approach, and commitment, to sustainable development in the built environment.

She said: "The sustainability agenda is gaining momentum here in Wales and the 55% improvement in carbon emissions for new housing I announced in July is a first step on the road to zero carbon.

"However, the sort of changes zero carbon demands of industry and consumer are not to be underestimated. Consumer acceptance will be crucial if these houses are to deliver the necessary emission reductions and if their performance is to be valued.

"These are exciting times. Whilst there are concerns, particularly in the light of the economic situation, there is an appetite for change. The task is to harness that appetite to move to a new long-term approach that embeds sustainability and looks across the whole life of buildings."

Kevin McCloud

McCloud has written and presented every series of the popular Channel 4 series Grand Designs, which follows people embarking on unusual architectural house-building projects. He has a family background in engineering, a Cambridge degree in the history of art and architecture and experience as a theatre designer.

Due to a high level of demand for the tickets, a live screening of the lecture was shown next-door in the University’s Glamorgan Building Council Chamber. The lecture was also made available via a webcast on the University’s website. Approximately 120 people viewed the live webcast and an edited video of the lecture is available to view at

Please visit the School’s events page for information on forthcoming lectures in the Innovation & Engagement Series.

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