Kevin McCloud visits Uni's very own grand design

Grand Designs presenter and property developer Kevin McCloud visited the University on Thursday 19 November to officially open the BaleHaus@Bath, a house built of straw and hemp panels, as part of a research project to assess the performance of these low carbon building materials.

Pete Walker and Katharine Beadle, from the University's BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials within the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering, will be working with Bristol-based company Modcell to monitor the house for a year.

Some of the panels used in the house were re-used from the house built by Kevin McCloud at the Grand Designs Live Exhibition last year.

Kevin was shown around the BaleHaus before officially opening it in front of around 100 guests from the architectural and building sectors, industrial sponsors and the main funding body, the Technology Strategy Board.

Researchers Professor Pete Walker (left) and Dr Katharine Beadle talk to Kevin McCloud

Researchers Professor Pete Walker (left) and Dr Katharine Beadle talk to Kevin McCloud

The event was covered by BBC Radio 4, BBC Points West and several local radio stations, and has sparked interest amongst staff, students and members of the local community.

Kevin McCloud said: "The great problem across sustainable construction at the moment is the lack of data.

"There's a whole raft of new technologies which have emerged in the past 10 years and nobody really knows how well they perform.

"There is an enormous paucity of good data, so any project which is as thorough in measuring the humidity, the environmental performance, the thermal conductivity, the temperatures - as this project is - is absolutely welcome.

"I think it's essential."

Watch the full interview with Kevin and his speech at the opening.

The researchers have released initial data from fire safety tests conducted on panels from the BaleHaus.

The BaleHaus is situated next to the 25m swimming pool, opposite Marlborough Court.

Kevin McCloud and with BBC film crew

Kevin McCloud talks to BBC Points West

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