Research Blog

Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – April Week 1

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Brussels to make public transport free on high air pollution days "Brussels has moved to make the city’s public transport and bike share system free ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – March Week 4

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. British billionaire to tackle Tesla for title of world's biggest battery "In November last year, Tesla completed construction of the world's biggest battery in South Australia. But now, just ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – March Week 3

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Five key sustainability trends for 2018 "The global buzz around sustainability has grown rapidly over the last few years, and research shows it is only ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – March Week 1

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. World's first plastic-free aisle opens in Netherlands supermarket "Shoppers in the Netherlands will get the chance to visit Europe’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle on Wednesday ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – February Week 4

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Dutch plan to build giant offshore solar power farm "An offshore seaweed farm in the North Sea will be turned into a large solar power ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – February Week 3

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water - like Cape Town "Cape Town is in the unenviable situation of being the ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – February Week 2

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Organic food and drink sales rise to record levels in the UK "Sales of organic food and drink in the UK rose by 6% last ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – February Week 1

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Qantas uses mustard seeds in first ever biofuel flight between Australia and US "A Qantas plane powered partly by mustard seeds has become the world’s ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – January Week 4

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Line streets with trees to prevent serious asthma attacks, say scientists "Asthma hospital admissions could be cut dramatically by lining streets with trees, the largest ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – January Week 3

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. China to plant forest the size of Ireland in bid to become world leader in conservation China has announced plans to plant new forests in ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – January Week 2

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. 10 ways to bring biophilic design into your home in 2018 "We spend 90% of our time inside buildings and much of that is in ...
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Meet the Team: Mark Pellant

What is your position at Koru? Managing Director. What do you like about working at Koru? We work in a creative environment that promotes thoughtful design and a respect for the environment that drives our passion for sustainable and healthy design solutions. What are you working on at the moment? ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – January Week 1

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Zaha Hadid Architects' Bee’ah Headquarters tops out in UAE "The Zaha Hadid Architects-designed Bee’ah Headquarters has topped out in Sharjah, UAE, as its structural steelwork ...
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Meet the Team: Oscar Berkhout

What is your position at Koru? Marketing and Communications Officer. What do you like about working at Koru? We're a small team, we work in a creative space, everyone is very friendly - it's just a great environment to work altogether. What are you working on at the moment? Our ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – December Week 3

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. PassivPod won at CorporateLiveWire's Technology Awards We are extremely pleased to announce that our project, PassivPod has won the award for Best Innovation in Sustainable ...
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Meet the Team: Aylin Metin

What is your position at Koru? Architectural Assistant and I am working towards becoming a fully qualified Architect. What do you like about working at Koru? What I particularly like about Koru is the aim to design life enhancing, genuinely sustainable architecture - I am truly inspired by this approach ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – December Week 2

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Sadiq Khan's plan for an affordable housing boom now rests with developers "The London plan, the latest draft of which was published at the end ...
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How to Have a Greener Christmas

It's the beginning of December and Christmas is just around the corner - a time of family, celebration but most worryingly, waste. The Christmas period is a frenzy of purchases, whether that be food, drinks, presents, wrapping paper, christmas trees... altogether, lots of waste is involved. There are many simple, ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – December Week 1

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Rampion wind turbines begin to spin "Rampion offshore windfarm saw the first of its 116 turbines put online last night (Sunday, November 26). One by one ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – November Week 5

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Costa Rica just ran 300 days on 100 percent renewable energy "Costa Rica has aggressively pursued the development of cleaner forms of power over the ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – November Week 4

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Is mass timber really sustainable? "We like to blame a lot of things for climate change—namely coal and cow farts—but if we were to search ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – November Week 3

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Syria signs Paris Agreement - leaving US only country in the world to refuse climate change deal "Syria has become a signatory of the Paris ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – November Week 2

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Cross-laminated-timber housing in east London offers "the future of low carbon construction" "Work has been completed on a 10-storey carbon-neutral apartment complex in London's Dalston, which architecture ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – November Week 1

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. London's £10 T-charge comes into effect in fight against toxic car fumes "Drivers of the most polluting vehicles must from now on pay a daily ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – October Week 4

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Eight designs that aim to alleviate the ongoing refugee crisis "The refugee crisis is one of five topics we will explore as part of Good Design for a ...
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Benefits of Building with Earth, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 9)

This is the ninth post in our Super Natural Materials series - you can view the whole series here. From rammed earth, to clay, to cob and mud-brick, the earth beneath our feet holds versatile properties and great potential within construction. It's a natural resource that we have in abundance and can ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – October Week 3

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Tributes paid to architect behind Brighton’s tallest tourist attraction "The architect behind Brighton’s British Airways i360 tourist attraction has died at the age of 64. David ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – October Week 2

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Material strategies for sustainable construction: celebrate materials and methods that do more with less "Though sustainability rating programs such as the U.S. Green Building Council ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – October Week 1

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Coca-Cola increased its production of plastic bottles by a billion last year, says Greenpeace "Coca-Cola increased its production of throwaway plastic bottles last year by ...
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Super Smart Materials: The Benefits of Bioplastics

Oil and gas originate from biological organisms, but plastics derived from natural gases or oil aren't bioplastics. That's the confusion, so what are bioplastics? One of the first synthetic plastics was made from cellulose, a substance made by plants and trees - nowadays, this plastic is said to be a ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – September Week 4

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Garbage from Irma will fuel Florida’s power grid "When it comes to garbage, geography is destiny. Look at Texas and Florida, recovering from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Homeowners and ...
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Natural Insulation: The Benefits of Sheep’s Wool

Insulation is one of the best ways to increase energy efficiency within a space; it will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. There are no tricks as to what is in sheep's wool, there's nothing else added to it at all it's plain and simple ...
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Koru Report: Built to Learn

We explore how to build, to learn. There are many different variables that affect one's ability to learn, so we break down how to increase cognition through design. Everyone in the education sector has similar core goals: to help students broaden their minds, develop important life skills, achieve their potential, ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – September Week 3

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Can working in a green building make you more productive? "Researchers have discovered that air quality and ventilation in office buildings have major impacts on ...
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Benefits of Building With Cob, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 8)

This is the seventh post in our Super Natural Materials series - you can view the whole series here. Cob is a mixture of sandy-sub soil, clay and straw. It's mixed by crushing the particles together by either dancing on it or using the head of a digger. The sandy-sub ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – September Week 2

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. China is building 285 eco-cities and here's why "Two hundred and eighty-five. That’s the number of new purpose-built eco-cities that China claims to be developing ...
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Benefits of Building With Straw, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 7)

This is the seventh post in our Super Natural Materials series - you can view the whole series here. Straw-bale construction is a building method that uses bales of straw as structural elements, building insulation or even both - it's a sustainable method for building, from the standpoint of materials ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – September Week 1

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. PUP Architects disguised a tiny house on a London rooftop as a warehouse air duct "London’s first Antepavillion officially opened to the public last weekend, ...
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Renewable Energy: A Comprehensive Guide to Biomass

This is the second post in our new Renewable Energy series, where we will give the ins and outs of renewable energy that is able to be used throughout residential and commercial spaces. What is it? Biomass is simply, fuel that is developed from organic materials - a renewable, sustainable ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – August Week 4

We've come to the end of the first month of our weekly news round-ups. Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Stefano Boeri proposes trees instead of barriers to protect against terror ...
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Renewable Energy: A Comprehensive Guide to Wind Power

This is the third post in our new Renewable Energy series, where we will give the ins and outs of renewable energy that is able to be used throughout residential and commercial spaces. What is it? Wind is a form of solar energy. Winds are caused by the uneven heating ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – August Week 3

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. The future of housing: seven big ideas.  "Why we need new homes... Britain’s housing crisis is causing misery and fear for millions of families. Here’s ...
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Renewable Energy: A Comprehensive Guide to Solar (Part 3)

This is the third part to the first post in our new Renewable Energy series, where we will give the ins and outs of renewable energy that is able to be used throughout residential and commercial spaces. What is it? There are three types of solar: PV, Thermal and Hybrid ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – August Week 2

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. The Netherlands held a competition to design new refugee housing and these are the winners. "In January 2016, the Netherlands launched a design competition called ...
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Renewable Energy: A Comprehensive Guide to Solar (Part 2)

This is the second part to the first post in our new Renewable Energy series, where we will give the ins and outs of renewable energy that is able to be used throughout residential and commercial spaces. What is it? There are three types of solar: PV, Thermal and Hybrid ...
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Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – August Week 1

Missed the news last week? Not to worry - here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days. Brighton's Palace Pier was named as Britain's most visited tourist attraction outside of London. "An estimated 4,650,000 people went to the pier last year, according ...
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Benefits of Building With Bamboo, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 6)

This is the sixth post in our Super Natural Materials series - you can view the whole series here. Bamboo is a type of grass, with a hard, hollow stem. It is a perennial evergreen: it grows every year and stays green year around. There are hundreds of kinds that ...
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Renewable Energy: A Comprehensive Guide to Solar (Part 1)

This is the first post in our new Renewable Energy series, where we will give the ins and outs of renewable energy that is able to be used throughout residential and commercial spaces. What is it? There are three types of solar: PV, Thermal and Hybrid. The PV stands for ...
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Benefits of Building With Hemp, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 5)

This is the fifth post in our Super Natural Materials series - you can view the whole series here. Hemp is a plant that holds extraordinary history, from its use as paper, to Hemp Plastic, to its versatile uses within construction… the use of the material within building is becoming ...
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clay plasters

Breath Easy & Discover the Rich Natural Beauty of Clay Plasters

This is a guest post by Clare Whitney, Clayworks  The humble clay plaster has evolved into a thing of beauty Clay is one of the world’s most ancient building materials – and one of the most naturally abundant. It is a natural mineral, deriving predominantly from Feldspar, one of the most ...
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building with stone super natural materials

Benefits of Building With Stone, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 4)

This is the fourth post in our Super Natural Materials series – you can view the whole series here. From smart townhouses to grand mansions to medieval castles to cosy worker cottages to ancient temples, building with stone stretches back to prehistoric times. It’s one of three oldest building materials ...
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investing in sustainable design

3 Ways Investing In Sustainable Design Pays Off

Embarking on a custom-build project where you commission an architect to design your new home is a life changing decision. It’s also likely to be one of the biggest investments you will make and you need to be sure it’s a sound financial investment. Sometimes concerns about keeping costs down ...
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building with clay

The Benefits of Building With Clay, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 3)

This is the third post in our Super Natural Materials series – you can view the whole series here. The use of clay dates back to the earliest human civilisation and clay bricks have been a popular building material since the Babylonian civilisation in 3000BC. The naturally malleable fine-grained earthy material ...
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Contextual design

Get Planning Permission For Your Dream Home With Contextual Design

So many people have a vision of their dream home and have the financial capacity to make it real, only they’re held back by the fear that planners will refuse their bold plan, the neighbours will hate it and they’ll have their dream squashed before they even get started. Can ...
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Super Natural Materials zinc

The Benefits of Building With Zinc, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 2)

This is the second post in our Super Natural Materials series - you can view the whole series here. Zinc is an abundant, lightweight and shiny metal which has long been used in construction for roofs and vertical cladding. It is perhaps most extensively used in Paris, where the majority of ...
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design improves your quality of life

How Good Design Improves Your Quality of Life

Does design improve your quality of life? You may think this an obvious question. Many people take it for granted that a beautiful comfortable home that suits their lifestyle and personal style will obviously make them and their family happier. But what if you’re not 100% convinced? Are you considering a ...
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natural materials timber

The Benefits of Building With Timber, Plus Examples (Super Natural Materials 1)

This post is the first in our Super Natural Materials series. Timber is one of the most popular building materials and has been used for building since ancient times. It’s great versatility means it’s used in all areas of construction, architecture and design - from structural frames to finishes to ...
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super natural materials

#SuperNaturalMaterials Series: The Power of Natural Materials

Natural materials have superior sustainability and health benefits over artificial materials, and in many cases they're also cost competitive. As architects specialising in sustainable contemporary design, we specify natural materials such as timber, zinc, copper, wool insulation and plant-based paints in our projects as standard practice. With this new blog ...
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road ahead for green building trends

11 High-Impact Green Building Trends To Watch In 2017

It’s that time of year when we all take stock and look towards the year ahead, making predictions and educated guesses about how the next 12 months will play out. So we got our heads together in the Koru Architects office and discussed the key trends we see for sustainable ...
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How To Choose Your Renewable Energy Sources

You know you want your new dream home to include some green energy generation, so you can be more independent, save money in the long term, and do your bit for the planet. But how do you know what’s right for you? There’s so many factors at work in choosing ...
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How The Housing Crisis Threatens Human Rights

Everyone needs a home to call their own. That’s a common need that people of all backgrounds share. A decent home is certainly something that every one of us wants and needs, but is it something we have a right to? In the context of the UK’s housing crisis, and ...
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Make Your Home Uniquely Sustainable with Upcycling: 5 Examples

Why should wine bottles be thrown in landfill, or even collected for recycling, when they could be made into a chandelier? Why throw out old car tyres when they could enjoy a new life as garden planters? Why let the council collect your used tin cans when your kids can ...
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7 Ways Eco Workplace Design Will Boost Your Profits

The myth that eco-design is “only” about protecting our planet for future generations is beginning to break down. More and more people are pointing to the mountains of evidence that it also benefits business right here and now. While our work is motivated by passion for sustainability, this post is ...
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5 Evidence-Backed Examples of Biophilic Design for Schools

The physical campus has a big impact on the learning outcomes and general wellbeing of students. As concern for climate change and energy costs pushes schools and other education institutions to engage with sustainability, new research is showing the amazing benefits of biophilic design for schools and education. Biophilic (“love of life”) ...
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How Can Design Make Ecotourism Even Better?

Taking holidays is an important part of modern life. Who hasn’t got through a difficult Tuesday afternoon at work by daydreaming about their next getaway? And while the typical package deal of sun, sand and EasyJet is still undoubtably popular, a growing number of holidaymakers are now opting for ecotourism ...
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How to Boost Office Productivity with Biophilic Design

Ensuring your employees are happily working away as they’re supposed to is clearly one of your top priorities. Yet everyone takes time off for illness or personal reasons at some point, and the culture of ‘presenteeism’ means even when people show up for work they may be unproductive due to ...
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rebuild or renovation

Renovate or Rebuild? Creating Your Dream Home

It’s a classic dilemma. You’ve purchased a scrappy run-down property in a fantastic location, with the plan to knock it down and build your dream home, but now you’re wondering if actually a major renovation will do the job. Or, perhaps you’re thinking of your current home, which is in ...
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For a Healthy Home, Choose Natural Paints

Maybe you’ve been inspired by a home makeover TV show. Maybe you haven’t painted for decades and your walls are faded and peeling. Maybe you’re decorating a room for a new arrival to the family. Maybe you’re a DIY enthusiast and regularly repaint your home to keep things fresh. Whatever ...
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Common Causes of Indoor Air Pollution & How to Fight It

We’re all aware of the dangers of air pollution - tending to think of it as a symptom of industrial traffic-clogged cities. Images of hazy urban smog and billowing plumes from factories spring to mind. But in some cases, your house could actually have worse quality air than out on ...
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energy efficiency

Refurbishing for Energy Efficiency? Do These 5 Things First

You know your home’s energy efficiency is not up to scratch and the idea that you’re constantly throwing money down the sink (or more likely out the window) is frustrating to say the least. And who doesn’t like a solution that saves you money while helping the planet? You have ...
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sustainable timber and forestry

13 Ways Sustainable Timber Is The Best Construction Material

Timber has been a popular building material since time immemorial, but with recent shock and concern over global deforestation - 13 million hectares lost per year! - many people are questioning whether they should be using it. The quick answer is yes - as long as it’s from a sustainable ...
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zero carbon homes

Features And Benefits of Zero Carbon Homes

If you’ve heard the term ‘zero carbon homes’ before but you’re unsure what exactly it means, or even what’s so good about them, then this article is for you. Why We Want Zero Carbon Homes There are many reasons why zero carbon homes are an important goal for housing and ...
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Passive Solar: The Low-Tech Way to Heat Your Home

Whether you’re giving your house a new lease of life with a refurb or planning your brand new dream home, getting the most bang for your buck will be a priority. Good design can save you money on your bills, create a healthier indoor environment and also reduce your carbon footprint. This ...
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natural insulation sheep wool

Think Natural Insulation Is More Expensive? Think again!

If you're interested in using natural insulation but you're worried about the cost, this article is for you. Like most people, we've become very familiar with the "ethical premium": if you want the healthier, greener option - you usually have to shell out more. So we were happily surprised when we found out ...
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Why Putting Plants in Classrooms is a Fantastic Idea

We all agree plants are nice to have in the garden and even in the house, but what about plants in classrooms at school? Or at university? Underpinning intuition with a slew of scientific research, the fledgling field of biophilic design is challenging people to reconsider the humble houseplant and ...
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housing bill, council flats

The Housing Bill: More Political Than Practical

In 2016, affordable housing is clearly a national priority. But will the Housing Bill help? According to Shelter, 1.8 million British families are on waiting lists to get council housing, and 41,000 families with children were homeless this Christmas, hopping between different forms of temporary accommodation. In the private rented ...
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