Britain’s first modern home made using straw, water and mud could go on the market after being built as part of an energy efficiency drive

Date:

The first modern British home using straw and mud has been built as part of a project to construct more energy-efficient homes.

The UK’s first domestic CobBauge building was built by local builders Grocott and Murfit in January after a four-year project by Hudson Architects. 

The walls in the CobBauge home, in Fakenham, Norfolk, are constructed from hemp straw, water and earth – or mud – known as Cob altogether.

The new technique allows the walls to be thermally insulated to modern standards.

Architect Anthony Hudson used an old construction method consisting of the basic materials to build a bungalow that complies with modern building regulations. 

The property has large, south-facing triple-glazed windows for solar gain in winter and an air source heat pump will provide heating.

The UK's first domestic CobBauge building was built by local builders Grocott and Murfit in January after a four-year project by Hudson Architects

The UK’s first domestic CobBauge building was built by local builders Grocott and Murfit in January after a four-year project by Hudson Architects

The property has large, south-facing triple-glazed windows for solar gain in winter and an air source heat pump will provide heating. Pictured: The front of the completed house in Norfolk

The property has large, south-facing triple-glazed windows for solar gain in winter and an air source heat pump will provide heating. Pictured: The front of the completed house in Norfolk 

The walls in the CobBauge home, in Fakenham, Norfolk, are constructed from hemp straw, water and earth - or mud - known as Cob altogether. Pictured: Anthony Hudson far left

The walls in the CobBauge home, in Fakenham, Norfolk, are constructed from hemp straw, water and earth – or mud – known as Cob altogether. Pictured: Anthony Hudson far left

Mud is one of the most sustainable construction materials with some Cob buildings dating back more than 500 years but were replaced in the 1800s for modern methods

Mud is one of the most sustainable construction materials with some Cob buildings dating back more than 500 years but were replaced in the 1800s for modern methods

The UK's first domestic CobBauge building was built by local builders Grocott and Murfit in January after a four-year project by Hudson Architects

The UK’s first domestic CobBauge building was built by local builders Grocott and Murfit in January after a four-year project by Hudson Architects

It is part of an EU-funded project to bring mud construction into the 21st century with a focus on low-carbon building as the first regulations-complaint cob building. 

After the EU announced it was looking for architects to come up with new ways of using earth in houses, Mr Hudson, 68, leapt at the opportunity.

He said: ‘The challenge was to create a home using earth as the primary building material, but which could also be thermally insulated.

‘Earth is a very sustainable way to build, especially because it’s so widely available here in the UK.

‘The problem is that to make it an effective insulator you usually have to make the walls incredibly thick, which is impractical.’

Although there is still a way to go before mud houses can be put on the mainstream market, Mr Hudson is positive that the homes will become the new normal.

He said: ‘Although the materials are cheap and easy to source, the building method is very time-consuming.

‘At the moment it all has to be done by hand, so labour costs run high.

‘However, our next step is to figure out how we can refabricate buildings to cut that down.

‘Once we’ve worked that out, my guess is this will be a very attractive method.’

Mr Hudson and his team decided to combine pure cob to create structural integrity and thermally insulated earth.

Its green roof will support biodiversity and make up for the loss of green space on the site.

A three-bedroom Cob home can be built for as little as £20,000 but the cost of Hudson Architect’s project is currently unknown.

A three-bedroom Cob home can be built for as little as £20,000 but the cost of Hudson Architect's project is currently unknown

A three-bedroom Cob home can be built for as little as £20,000 but the cost of Hudson Architect’s project is currently unknown

An artist impression of what the cob house would look like

An artist impression of what the cob house would look like 

Mud is one of the most sustainable construction materials with some Cob buildings dating back more than 500 years but were replaced in the 1800s for modern methods.

An open day for the mud house in Fakenham, Norfolk will be held in March.

In 2011, Devon builder Kevin McCabe set out to create a 10,000sq ft home out of cob but the project was delayed due to problems such as bad weather.

When completed, the cob house cost nothing to heat but Mr McCabe admitted he had blown his original £350,000 budget and did not know how much his total was.

Daily Mail

Share post:

Subscribe

Popular

More like this
Related