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Sheila Daly, University of Portsmouth
Event Report: Summer Networking Drinks at Koru Architects
On Thursday 27 July, members of the Sustainable Business Network made their way to Koru Architects’ award-winning Zero-Carbon Home, in Hove, to celebrate summer in style! The event was organised by the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC and hosted by Koru Architects, with delegates working in a range of sectors, including architecture, environmental and business consultancy, and charities.
The SBP’s Shelaine Siepel started the evening off with a short introduction welcoming everyone to the event. Shelaine took this opportunity to mention our exciting up-coming project, Utilise Plus. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), UTILISE Plus will offer grants to small and medium sized enterprises in the Coast-to-Capital Local Enterprise Partnership area to help them implement ‘best practice’ energy efficiency measures. This project will save these businesses precious time and money, as well as reduce their impact on the environment.
Mark Pellant, Director of Koru Architects, reiterated the value of sustainability touched upon by Shelaine. It had been a dream of Mark’s for a long time to build his own house, inspired in part by his travels across the world which have shown him first-hand the consequences of global warming. His philosophy when building the house, therefore, was to ensure it was “low in energy, very sustainable and very healthy”. The result is a home which uses 50% less energy than the national average and emits a staggering 93% less carbon.
With the introductions done and the drinks poured, delegates were treated to a guided tour of the three-bedroom house, which also acts as a studio and living space for the architects. Led by Mark (with help from his son, Alexander!), we had the chance to see how he has created a home in which style and sustainability go hand-in-hand. By combining an array of sustainability features with his visionary design, this stunning house not only exceeds expectations of comfort and elegance but even produces an annual income of £2,500 from renewable heat and electricity measures too.
These measures include roof-integrated solar PV panels producing electricity, a wood pellet biomass boiler for underfloor heating and hot water, as well as harvested rainwater for WC flushing and garden use. Mark didn’t do anything by halves: the rooms have all been arranged to catch natural light, the kitchen work-tops are made from recycled glass and seashells leftover from restaurants, while a Sedum roof helps to filter pollutants in the air as well as adding a layer of insulation.
With so much thought put into the house’s design, delegates were keen to find out if there was anything Mark wishes he had done differently. Built 7 years ago in 2010, Mark still struggles to think of anything he would change, other than swapping the double-glazed windows for triple-glazed ones.
Once the tours were over, delegates networked with each other over drinks and canapés in the garden, making the most of the pleasant weather. All of the beer was kindly provided by Hepworth & Co Brewers, based in West Sussex…and it went down a treat!
Delegates responded positively to the event; Judith Heron, of Urban Edge Environmental Consulting, commented on her experience of moving to a small, environmental consultancy from a more corporate background, noting that “it was good to come to the event and meet like-minded organisations; it felt like being part of a community.” Issi Rousseva, an Architect at Koru, agreed, saying that “it was great to meet interesting people all having a positive impact on the environment in very different ways.”