Charity & Social Enterprise showcase energy saving innovations in Brighton and Hove

October sees the return of the popular Eco Open Houses event, an annual collaborative project run by​ ​Low Carbon Trust​,​ Brighton Permaculture Trust​ and​ Brighton & Hove City Council​.

Sustainable, energy efficient homes remain the future of housing: that’s the message from this year’s Eco Open Houses in Brighton and Hove and surrounding areas, which will take place on 17/­18 and 24­/25 of this month.

The annual event, which sees owners of some of the greenest buildings in Sussex opening their doors to the public for free, showcases the most innovative green technologies and materials currently available.

Councillor Gill Mitchell, chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability  Committee, said: “​The Eco Open Houses weekends are always very popular. Visiting the properties, and talking to the owners taking part, is a great way to get ideas and inspiration for making your home more environmentally ­friendly, and cut energy bills at the same time .”

Eco Open Houses 2015 Brochure
Eco Open Houses 2015 Brochure

Homes that take part in Eco Open Houses achieve an average reduction in energy use of 69 per cent, so energy bills are considerably diminished. Also, they typically have lower water bills and smaller carbon  footprints​​ than the average UK home. They are generally warmer and more comfortable to live in, and are better adapted to changing weather patterns too.  

This year sees two new houses opening for the first time including a property on Grantham road built to the exacting Level 5 Code for Sustainable Homes.

Coinciding with the start of the ‘heating season’ the event will provide advice on how to keep homes warm this  winter, and will also continue to inspire the public, giving practical guidance for those who would like to see how design can improve their carbon footprint. 

​Mischa Hewitt, Director of the Low Carbon Trust, said: “​Eco Open Houses 2015 demonstrates that building sustainably is easily achievable in all of the houses in  Brighton & Hove show householders, communities and businesses how it can be done.”

Twelve buildings will open their doors to the public, including: 

  • Five retrofitted and four new­built homes. All four new build homes and one of the newly built  community buildings are zero carbon.  
  • A zero­carbon house on Grantham Road, featuring an air source heat pump, solar photovoltaics,  rainwater harvesting and underfloor heating newly built ​to the exacting Code for Sustainable Homes  level 5 standard. 
  • The office that used to be a toilet block; featuring ground floor insulation, food growing, rainwater  collection and recycled furniture.  
  • The award winning Earthship Brighton community centre made out of old car tyres rammed with earth.  It generates its own solar energy for heat and power, and treats sewage on site. 
  • The internationally renowned and award winning Waste House at the University of Brighton, made  almost entirely out of waste, including old denim and thousands of toothbrushes, will be open to the  public throughout the event. 
  • Brighton Permaculture Trust’s Fruit Factory, a strawbale retrofit of a tractor shed set to revolutionise  scrumping of local fruit.

The public are also invited to a talk on low­energy Passivhaus construction, featuring a Passivhaus refurbishment in Totnes. Passivhaus is an internationally recognized standard for comfortable low energy buildings.  

Full details of Brighton & Hove Eco Open Houses, including how to book tours of the eco homes, open house  visiting times and the seminar programme, can be found in the 2015 brochure, which can be downloaded from www.ecoopenhouses.org​