Shapps unveils Prince's eco home

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Housing minister Grant Shapps has today formally unveiled an innovative eco home designed by HRH The Prince of Wales’ Foundation for the Built Environment.

The so-called Prince’s House is the foundation’s answer to sustainable development and is a traditionally built, low-carbon home made from conventional materials.

Hank Dittmar, chief executive of the foundation, said the aim of the project is to dispel “the myth” that eco homes have to be unattractive or space age to have green credentials.

The house, which is on display at the Building Research Establishment in Watford, does not rely on gadgets or high-tech products to make it green. Its carbon savings are instead built into its “exemplar” design, which creates “an energy efficient thermal shell” and leads to lower heating bills.

The first opportunity for people to buy a Prince’s House will be in Co-ed Darcy, Wales, where a hamlet of nine such homes is currently being designed. The foundation is also considering introducing a self-build version of its eco home.

Shapps said: “We all know the Scandinavian-style homes that feature on property programmes – wearing their green credentials for all to see. These are popular and display a high quality of design and craftsmanship. But a lack of creativity could mean this eco-bling dominates our neighbourhoods in as little as five years.

The minister added: “I am clear that the beginning of zero carbon does not need to mean the end of Great British design. That’s why between now and 2016 when all new homes must be zero carbon, I want developers and designers to go back to their drawing boards and see how they can ‘green up’ our traditional, British properties. People want to buy homes, not causes, and just because a home is greener does not mean it can’t reflect the character of the local area.”

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