Sustainable renovation project comes to Colliers Wood


Recycled rain water and horse hair are just some of the things being used for a sustainable rennovation project currently taking place in Colliers Woo

By Sam Dale

HORSE hair, lime plaster and drinkable rainwater are the building blocks of a current renovation project taking place in Colliers Wood.

A carpenter by trade, John Barker owns a semi detached house, he lives on one side and is re-developing the other.

His innovative methods have led to timber framed double glazed windows and second hand yellow stock bricks for the structure.

Inspired by Tudor buildings, Mr Barker is turning the bricks around so the stains of pollution are on the inside.

He said: “Whilst sustainability is essential for the future of the planet I’m doing it for aesthetic reasons as well.”

In addition to the ambitious re-development, John grows his own fruit, re-uses rainwater collected through a recycled piping system and has fostered an eco-system in his garden.

He explained: “People think you need fertilizers but I have frogs to eat insects, fish for the algae in my pond and birdfeeders to attract birds for worms.”

Tom Walsh of Sustainable Merton believes Mr Barker is setting a good example and people can learn from his experiences.

Richard Lupo of Sustainable Homes believes there is a national trend towards environmental construction.

He said: “We are seeing more niche sustainable builders but it remains a small market.

“The current economic climate has limited private house building and increased demand for social housing which must meet the high ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ criteria. This is driving innovation and helping to develop compliant products.”

Mr Lupo said a key benefit of sustainable building, such as the one being built by Mr Barker, is the creation of a comfortable house which doesn’t cost a lot to run.

In the run up to the Copenhagen climate change summit in December the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills launched The Progress Report on the Strategy for Sustainable Construction this week.

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Peter Mandelson, said: “The construction industry must now face the challenge of exploiting the advantages of the low carbon economy.”




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