Co-housing Catches On
17 Oct 2007
Co-housing, an idea that first started in Scandinavia, is catching onin the UK. Former Green Councillor Jonathan Sear, winner of TheObserver Ethical Award for the eco-refit of his council house, is nowspear-heading the latest Co-housing scheme in Lancaster.
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Co-housing, an idea that first started in Scandinavia, is catching on in the UK. Former Green Councillor Jonathan Sear, winner of The Observer Ethical Award for the eco-refit of his council house, is now spear-heading the latest Co-housing scheme in Lancaster.
Twenty-four households have signed up to buy a smaller than average home, together with a share in a big common house’ and creative outdoor space. The scheme combines the social advantages of Co-housing with a groundbreaking eco-design in an urban location, where the need to drive is also minimised.
Provided the group’s land purchase is successful, it will be the third Co-housing project in the UK. ‘It’s an ideal way of recreating community and building many more sustainable homes than speculative developers would consider. It’s a lot of hard work for the founder members and securing land is also a big hurdle,’ says Jonathan, who has learnt a great deal from the eco-refit.
Apart from the solar thermal panels, the renovated house looks much like his neighbour’s properties. The average renovation usually involves a big skip and cheap-but-new’ everything. However, the eco-approach is to redecorate and repair the existing structure, using re-cycled or natural products when new materials are required.
‘If labour costs were lower and re-sources more expensive, eco-renovation would make financial sense as well as environmental sense,’ says Jonathan.
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