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Cowshed converted into eco-home

4 May 2011 No Comment

An 80-year-old cowshed has been converted into an eco home of the future, reports ecogateway.org.

The North Downs cowshed, built some time in the 1930s was constructed from rendered single skin brickwork walls over a steel frame, housed under a corrugated roof. Billed as “uninspiring”, the conversion has left the cowshed unrecognisable.

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Environmentally friendly route

The decision to convert the single-storey cowshed was prompted by the owner’s wife’s chronic knee condition, which made it painful for her to climb stairs. They decided that an environmentally friendly route was the way forward and, together with experts from Cowan Architects, put the wheels in motion.

The development took three years in total, with planning permission eating up the majority of that time.

Now a light and spacious home, the conversion’s energy-conscious features include an under floor heating system and high performance double glazing, to prevent heat from escaping.

Rainwater harvesting systems have been installed to reduce mains water use and eco light tubes have been used in the bathroom to make use of natural light, thus cutting the gas and electricity requirement by half.

Due to a planning requirement, the original steel frame and masonry remain, though are hidden by sustainable exterior cladding made from locally sourced sweet chestnut timber. An aluminium frame reinforces the old steel framework.

The owners are thrilled with the result, with chief architect for the build, Tom Longley, telling Green Building Press that despite the challenge involved in incorporating the steel frame, “with the will and right approach, it was possible to make the unthinkable, thinkable.”

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