Seeing stars: light pollution

By Roger Hunt l January 23, 2012

After last week’s exploration of the night sky with the BBC’s Stargazing Live team, it’s worth giving a thought to all those whose view of the solar system was spoilt by light pollution. Since the explosion of street lighting after the Second World War it’s been increasingly difficult to see stars against a dark sky…

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The Prince’s House

By Roger Hunt l January 6, 2012

I didn’t expect to like the Prince’s House at the BRE Innovation Park, Watford. Developed by The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, construction originally began in 2009 and I’d watched it slowly grow. The front elevation had struck me as trying to be both modern and traditional without being either; the large, single pane…

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Review: Eco reading

By Roger Hunt l December 17, 2011

Type the words ‘eco’ or ‘sustainable’ into Amazon and you’ll be greeted by a mind blowing number of books so I though I’d share just four from the shelves of my office which might prove useful or even thought provoking. Simply Sustainable Homes is, as the strapline says, a no-nonsense guide to green building. It’s…

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Old windows need not be cold

By Roger Hunt l December 15, 2011

“I need to replace my old windows because they’re draughty and cold, what should I do?” I get asked this question time and again and the first point I make is that you don’t need to replace old windows to make them more thermally efficient. Old windows give a building character and are part of…

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The legacy of Angels

By Roger Hunt l November 5, 2011

Rescuing buildings does more than preserve our built environment, it brings people and communities together. On this occasion it was within the plush interior of the Palace Theatre in London’s West End: the great and the good, celebrities and journalists and, importantly, people from across the country who had saved their local heritage. These people…

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UNICEF’s architect

By Roger Hunt l October 27, 2011

As a writer I’m lucky, I have the chance to meet many interesting people. Even so, some stand out – Carlos Vasquez of UNICEF is one of them. When I met him, during his brief visit to London from New York, I soon discovered his passion for building sustainably and his understanding of the way buildings…

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High Line New York

By Roger Hunt l September 21, 2011

Last Sunday I witnessed regeneration in action. With a couple of hours to spare in New York I visited the High Line on Manhattan’s West Side and went for an inspiring walk with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the City’s residents. The High Line was originally constructed in the 1930s to lift dangerous freight trains off…

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The Ashden Awards

By Roger Hunt l June 21, 2011

Over the years I’ve sat through a good many awards ceremonies but few, if any, have been as inspiring as last week’s Ashden Awards for sustainable energy. There was none of the hype or greenwash often associated with sustainable solutions; just ordinary people, or rather I should say extraordinary people, with good ideas and the…

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Wolfgang Feist and Passivhaus

By Roger Hunt l May 8, 2011

Amongst the hubbub of Ecobuild this year I spent an enjoyable hour or so interviewing Wolfgang Feist, the founder of the Passivhaus Institut, for Show House magazine. You can read the resulting article here but, earlier in the day, I’d wandered round the German stands and gathered the thoughts of exhibitors from the birthplace of Passivhaus.…

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New homes lose heat

By Roger Hunt l April 3, 2011

Having recently been writing about how the walls of old buildings appear to be performing better than we thought, it’s ironic to discover that recent research shows that some new homes appear to be falling well short of meeting their carbon emissions reduction targets. In some cases they’re exhibiting actual heat losses that can be more…

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Insulation worries

By Roger Hunt l March 28, 2011

Four days of speaking and answering questions at the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show in Birmingham has only strengthened my concerns about the issues relating to the insulation of walls in old buildings. Twelve months ago the subject was barely on most people’s radar but, this year, the volume of questions relating to the topic…

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