The National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC) opened its doors on the 7-9 October for the annual Big Green Home Show.
While the NSBRC is open all year round – a bit like a permanent Grand Designs Live – this event was aimed at self builders and home renovators who would like to build sustainably.
There was a full programme of talks; especially interesting were those by self builders explaining the successes and pit falls in their projects. Alongside a large range of trade stands, there were live demonstration areas, where one could take part in putting together a scale-model oak frame house, or learn how a timber frame house can be built to Passivhaus standards.
Guided tours were provided of the permanent exhibition areas. A detailed walk-and-talk through the ‘New Build Journey’ led us through full scale mock-ups of building components, from foundations to roof structures. For home renovators, there is a mock-up of a house under renovation, complete with audio guide and expert advice.
Another prominent feature was the professional services hub. Here, visitors could book one to one appointments with trade professionals, to discuss anything from financing a building project through to what kind of renewable heating systems are currently available.
Year-Round Information and Workshops
While the Green Home Show is an annual event, it was clear that the NSBRC is an important source of help year-round. I spoke with Ray Vince, who recently completed an eco self build in Hampshire. He came to eco workshops here while planning his project, and the contacts he made proved invaluable in helping him realize his plans.
There is a range of free Eco Workshops taking place in 2017. In February there will be an Eco Design, Planning & Sustainability day; in June, a course on Building Systems and project management; and later in the year, courses on heating, energy sources, and retrofit.
The NSBRC also holds more general courses and events through the year, such as their 1 day course in project management, or various design and build workshops. For further details see the NSBRC website.