Housing Specification Blog

HS reports back from Grand Designs Live 2012

October 18, 2012 Alexandra Blakeman Housing Design

I popped along to Grand Designs Live at the NEC last Friday. Packed with the latest products in building technology and interior design – I had to fight my way through the thronging crowds to get a good look at the best on offer.

One of the most intriguing displays was located in the Grand Bathrooms sector. Actually it was more sensual than intriguing – visitors were led through a low lit tunnel where some of the market’s sexiest (?) showers and bathroom fittings were displayed.¬† The horizontal shower from Dornbracht was definitely a talking point. With adjustable light settings to suit your mood, and a variety of pre-programmed water choreographies to choose from, the shower attracted a lot of attention from visitors.

Kevin McCloud’s selection of ten wonderful but little known products in the industry¬† – his Green Heroes – made for an exciting browse. The MissPrint Eco Wallpaper won my approval. All of the company’s products are made in the UK and their wallpapers are PEFC certified, which means they’re forest friendly.

Kevin McCloud on the Green Heroes stand

At lunchtime, I listened to Gregory Baker, The Minister of State at the Dept. of Energy and Climate change, speak on the issues surrounding the Green Deal. He was joined by Kevin McCloud, Founder and managing director of Parity Projects who advise on eco-building and home renovations Russell Smith, and BRE’s Chief Executive Dr. Peter Bonfield.

The panel of esteemed industry experts discussed the framework set out by Greg Barker that he believes will enable private firms and businesses to offer consumers energy efficient improvements with no upfront costs, allowing consumers to pay back through their energy bills.

The seminar gave focus to the Birmingham/Midlands area, and offered an insight into how the Green Deal will help individual homeowners to make their properties more energy efficient. Practical advice was also given on the steps that homeowners can take to improve the sustainability of their homes.

Visitors gather at the Grand Theatre for a seminar on the Green Deal

I spent the rest of the afternoon wondering around the Grand Build Sector, chatting to various manufactures and developers. I came across a company called Durisol, who produce dry-stacked construction walling. Without the need for mortar, Durisol wall units are infilled with concrete to form a monolithic structural walling system. Lightweight, with minimal reinforcement needed, this product was provoking lots of interest from passing visitors.

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