23rd September Journal Column

Web-LogoBy Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

Next week, 26 September – 2 October, is World Green Building Week (WGBW), a week dedicated to raising awareness of green buildings, showing how they are the most effective means of achieving environmental, social and economic goals- from addressing climate change to creating sustainable homes, businesses and communities.

WGBW brings together Green Building Councils from around the world to create a public conversation about the role buildings play in our sustainable future. With dozens of countries, 75 Green Building Councils and their 27,000 member companies taking part, it’s the biggest and best opportunity each year for us to shine the spotlight on our global movement.

By working together at the same time all over the world, the message is louder and emphasises our collective mission to create sustainable built environments- it shows the industry is dedicated to making a change.

The theme for WGBW this year is; Change Your Perspective, which couldn’t come at a better time. There are so many facts and figures that are more than capable of changing how people think about green buildings. What we’ve been wanting for so long is to get people thinking about the benefits that green buildings bring to global emissions, energies and the economy, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Saving the planet is something we’re all keen to do, everybody wants to be seen as ‘green’, anything from recycling to keeping emissions down by washing at low temperatures will make a difference. But one of the biggest differences that can be made lies within our industry, in house-building.

Companies are always thinking of new innovative ways of being efficient, from soap bubble building to offsite construction and now a French architecture firm, Multipod Studio, have unveiled a prototype for the PopUp House, a customisable home made from stackable blocks. Each house is made from stacked recyclable wooden panels and insulation blocks, all held together with wood screws – think LEGO, but less plastic and colourful.

The house can be designed, ordered, and built in about a month. It can be ordered online with costs varying depending on the quality of the materials and amenities. The house can be whatever you wish, whether it’s a small and cosy home or a spacious open office. Once ordered, the firm sends along building instructions and a construction team, and voila!

A construction team can build it in four days using only an electric screwdriver and it can be disassembled just as quickly. PopUp House is part of a growing sustainable architecture movement called passive construction – homes that are well-designed, low-cost, and energy-efficient. The PopUp House is airtight and watertight, which means it keeps its heat locked in.

Currently, PopUp House is only available in France, but the company plans to expand to the UK and I cannot wait to see this for myself. Think of all those years you spent building LEGO houses, and now you could actually live in one for real!