Tuesday, January 05, 2010

RuralZED zero carbon homes

I have mentioned zero carbon homes a couple of times on this blog.

The first one I mentioned way back in July 06 was the Earthips made from recycled materials. See article. The problem with Earthships is that they are lot of work to build.

This problem is solved by the land arks and garden arks that I wrote about in in July 09. See article. The arks are ready made and can simply be placed anywhere. The problem is that are very small and will never be a realistic replacement for the average family home.

Luckily ZEDFactory, the company behind the land ark has a solution, the RuralZED. An upgradable 3 bedroom house that is a pleasant realistic family home. It ranges from from level 3 to level 6 on the code for sustainable homes. Level 6 is the maximum level and is assigned to true zero carbon homes. The RuralZED can even surpass level 6 becoming carbon negative by using a vertical axis wind turbine to produce an excess of electricity that can be sold back to the grid.

The name RuralZed comes from rural in reference to the fact that 70% of UK homes are in rural low density setting of less than 50 houses per hectare and ZED (Zero Energy Demand).

The feature and technologies in the full level 6 house are very impressive: -

  • Southern side of the roof covered with 21 180 Watt PV panels
  • 2 Water heating solar thermal panels
  • Vertical axis wind turbine
  • Northern side of the roof is green using sedum
  • Northern side of the roof used for rain water harvesting for non potable water
  • Wind catchers to continually supply fresh air in all rooms
  • Air sent to rooms warmed by heat exchangers that reclaim heat from outbound air.
  • Internal materials include stone and high density wood for thermal mass
  • All light fittings use LED's
  • All taps use aerating low flow fittings
  • Entire house uses 300mm of rockwool insulation
  • AAA high efficiency appliances such as an induction hob
  • Entire southern house is a pleasant glazed sun space allowing solar heat capture
  • Passive heating of space and water can be augmented by wood pellet burner
  • The house is REALLY nice

  • The company site is here

    Here are some pics: -

    Thursday, July 23, 2009

    Ecotricity vs EDF

    EDF are running a 'green britain' campaign at the moment to support a national renewables awareness day. Leaving aside the debate as to whether their mix of coal and nuclear can be considered green, what's really cheeky is that they nicked Ecotricity's logo for it:



    Npower and british gas are having a dig as well, claiming they are green every day of the year. Let the greenwashing begin !

    Sunday, July 19, 2009

    LandArks zero carbon off grid homes

    Off grid zero carbon homes are about the most environmentally sound lifestyle choice you can make. Producing their own electricity and collecting and filtering their own water they have virtually no impact environment whatsoever.

    The last time I wrote about zero carbon homes that could be completely detached from the grid (water, electricity, drains) it was Earthships. These homes are made of recycled materials (tyres, aluminium cans, etc) and adobe. They user solar energy (photo-voltaic and thermal), thermal mass and reed bed water filtration. and are very cool.

    However Earthships are a quite large investment in time and effort to build. If you are looking for a simpler zero carbon off grid home solution then LandArks or GardenArks could be the perfect choice. These homes are easy to construct kits that can be built by the buyer or the company and have the following design features: -
    • They are made of wood sourced from FSC managed forests with cavity insulation made from sheep's wool.
    • They have a curved living green roof that has a greater surface area than the land taken up by the Ark itself and can be planted with species that match the local grasses, heathers, etc. This roof makes the Ark far more pleasant to look at allowing it to blend in with the landscape, produces oxygen, insulates the Ark and acts as a rainwater collection and filtration system.
    • Power is generated by a rotatable solar array and a wind turbine.
    • The Ark can be connected to the grid to allow it to use grid electricity when it is not producing enough and to sell electricity back when it is producing too much.
    • The Ark is raised off of the ground which provides thermal insulation and also minimises the damage done to the land when the ark is built or removed.
    • The Ark contains a log burner for heating and cooking.
    • People wanting a larger home could have multiple arks joined together.
    The Ark comes in two sizes, The GardenArk is perfect for a place in a large garden, a home office, spare bedroom, etc. Here are some pics including two I took at the Hampton Court flower show.

    The LandArk is a larger building that can be used as a holiday home or primary home. Ideal for a group of friend wanting to buy some land and creating a small eco community. Here are some pics.

    The Company site can be found here, good information can be found here and here is a page from the Grand Designs show website.

    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Tesla Model S

    At last an electric car that would not look out of place in any motor show rather than looking like a plastic roller skate. The Tesla model S: -

    225 miles/charge
    0-60 mph in under 6 seconds

    Here is the pic

    Read about it on The Register

    or Road & Track

    Monday, January 12, 2009


    An expedition is being mounted this year to drive from London to Tombouctou. The big difference is the expedition will use a Biofuel powered flying car. The car is a 2 seater buggy with a huge fan on the back that can fly by deploying a large paragliding wing. They are also hoping to make a production model by 2010. This will offer the performance of a sports car and a light aircraft and I WANT ONE.


    Thursday, October 23, 2008

    Algae, Man's New Best Friend

    Algae Soaking up CO2 and acting as a source of hydrogen, biofuels and cash: -


    Very interesting

    Friday, May 09, 2008


    A green index has been prepared by national geograpic that details countries' attitudes towards green issues. Not surprisingly, the USA came last, and India and Brazil came first.

    You can also calculate your own index here:


    Mine was 65 - I'm sure that's beatable as we have a car and a disabled child who needs ferrying to various groups ! Stick a comment on with your score !