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Best Takeaway of Ecobuild

This week we invited the Eco Experts to write an article about their visit to Ecobuild.

OF ALL THE countless freebies I collected at Ecobuild, the Jewson Sustainable Building Guide was one of the most useful. Unlike most handouts at expo’s, this one is worth keeping.

Information overload

At Ecobuild, 850 exhibitors stands were spread across the massive 90,000m2 floor space of the ExCel Centre. If you have visited Ecobuild before you’ll have seen electric bikes, bat-friendly roof tiles, and taps that dry your hands after washing. You’ll have come home with branded pens, key rings, stress-balls, memory sticks…

… and you’ll know how much unnecessary marketing stuff is out there. The Sustainable Building Guide is more substantial: a 66 page booklet about the fundamental aspects of building and Self-Build.

A good time for retrofit

2013 is shaping up to be the year that the UK rediscovers retrofit. The Green Deal is starting a nationwide conversation about energy efficiency, amid the rising price of energy from the Big 6.

‘Green building’ basically means sustainability and energy efficiency. You can increase the value of an asset as well as its running costs, as well as making it more comfortable to inhabit. We can become more productive people as a result. Imagine this on a nationwide scale.

And this is an old lesson. Jewson has been in the business of practical, fundamentally sustainable building for a long time, back before it was called ‘green building’. Ecobuild was attended by students and members of the public as well as industry. At the Jewson house they found information and advice about Self-Build, and Greenworks reps to tell them about MCS and Green Deal accreditation.

The Sustainable Business Guide

The first chapter explains, “We need to use less energy, and use our materials more wisely”. The next sixty five pages are dedicated to the measures and methods that will make that possible.

The booklet is split into three chapters:


The first section of the guide introduces the Greenworks Training Academy and e-learning gateway, and explains the Code for Sustainable Homes, a code to ensure new builds are energy efficient. It also tells how Jewson procures its timber, and what goes into its insulation.

Building Materials

The middle part of the guide contains information and trade tips on just about every fundamental aspect of building that you will need. From flooring to roofing, and everything in between. If you don’t know about aircrete, Leca, Posi-joists or the different types of wet pipe systems, you soon will.


The final third of the guide concentrates on green technologies and financial incentives such as the Green Deal, Feed-in Tariffs, and Renewable Heat Incentive, with case studies to show likely returns. Technologies from solar, to heat pumps, to rainwater harvesting units are for anyone interested in becoming an MCS accredited installer, these are the pages to turn.

One final thing to report – a strange rumour

Here are a couple of pictures of the Jewson and Greenworks’ exhibition stand at Ecobuild. I heard rumours that, like the little old lady who lived in the shoe, this was where all the Jewson employees actually live. Lucky them – it’s a handsome piece of real estate, and with all that insulation I’m sure it’s warmer at night, unlike my draughty little flat.

About the author

David Thomas writes for solar company The Eco Experts – www.theecoexperts.co.uk – last year he chose our thermodynamic heater as his ‘Ecobuild highlight’.