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Recycled materials at heart of RuralZED ecohouse launch

An eco-building system set to revolutionise the industry has used recycled materials to achieve its exemplar green rating. At its launch, RuralZED, a carbon neutral, affordable house, achieved a code level 6, the highest level in the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Materials designer ZEDfactory architect Matthew Hoad explained: The core building materials, or building fabric needs very little energy because the house is south facing and has been designed to make use of the thermal mass of the floor and walls to maintain a constant temperature. These panels store the heat from a sunny day into the following days.

Panels in the walls and floor, which are a thermally massive alternative to plasterboard, according to Hoad, are made from 76% recycled materials. The mix includes Cornish granite, copper slag (a bi-product from power stations), china clay stent (a waste product of the china clay industry used as aggregate).

Hoad added: BRE has lots of different ways of calculating the Codes and embodied energy in materials is a factor, so recycled content does count towards code levels.

We couldnt have achieved code 6 without the input of Charcon, which supplies the recycled concrete panels.

The house sections are prefabricated and manufactured offsite in line with modern methods of construction.

Recycled materials have a high profile throughout the house with recycled glass, kitchen tops, and kitchen unit doors made of paper finished in plastic as well as recycled flag paving outside.

The consortium behind RuralZED includes ZEDfactory, ZEDfabric, Rockwool, Rationel Windows, Charcon, Mi-space and Hansgrohe. Architects practice ZEDfactory also designed the carbon neutral community BedZED in the borough of Sutton.

Code for Sustainable Homes timeline

The Code is currently voluntary but has a specific timeline to zero carbon sustainable construction by 2016 for the public and private sectors.

 Date  Public sector  Private sector
 2007  voluntary  voluntary
 2008  Level 3 mandatory  
 2008/09    Assessment mandatory
 2010  Level 4 mandatory  Level 3 mandatory
 2013  Level 6 mandatory  Level 4 mandatory
 2016    Level 6 mandatory

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