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Building Sustainability Podcast

Author: Jeffrey Hart

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The majority of homes currently being built are bad for the earth, the occupants and the builder’s health. Every fortnight, join Jeffrey Hart as he talks to designers, builders, makers, dreamers and doers. Exploring the wide world of sustainability in the built environment by talking to wonderful people who are doing excellent things. Whether you want to learn more about natural materials, are navigating your own self build, or just want to know that better alternatives are out there, this is the podcast for you.
44 Episodes
I'm very pleased to welcome Wibbs Coulson of Mandukya Yoga back on the podcast. This time we are talking about breathing, and how you've probably been breathing wrong your entire life! I occasionally feature episodes on what I call the 'sustainability of self' - I see it again and again, that professionals in the sustainability profession burn out. When you see the need to fix the problem as so crucial that the human race depends on it... you tend to forget about your own needs. So with this in mind, I wanted to look at how we are breathing, how we can be doing it so much better and what benefits that will have to our health. This episode came from a bout of anxiety I experienced at the end of 2020 and start of 2021. Anxiety is a relatively common thing in the UK, in 2013, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety disorder recorded. I had heard that breath could help, so I got together with Wibbs to see what his work in that area could teach us. LinksJames Nester - BreathWibbs InstagramTerra Byte MC bandcampSupport the show (
Welcome to this first episode of Byte Size Building Sustainability.... BSBS? I have heard a lot that people sometimes find it hard to find a hour to listen to podcasts, so these byte size episodes will run to a maximum of 10 minutes. It means you can get a little nugget of sustainability ponderings from my wonderful guests. Being as it's the first one, I thought I'd open the proceedings myself, with a little chat based on some advice I received from the Oregon based cob builder, Ianto Evans. I'm in the process of actioning that advice and there are some exciting changes going on for me!  LinksTiny House Conference Discount Link Support the show (
This week I am joined by Ben Kerslake from Carrington Lime.As well as a general geek out about lime, we mostly talk about how to solve damp problems in homes with some simple observation and materials choices. We discuss why the modern conventional approach of 'tanking' a building is usually fixing a symptom, rather than dealing with the problem. ASBP Awards - Register for your free ticket here: Free £60 - from Episode 42Breathability Info & HereMore info about limePeter Ward the show (
Patreon support - episode I'm talking with Caz Ingall, who is a willow coffin weaver. We talk, not just of the process of weaving a vessel to bury a loved one, but a lot to do with the disconnection our modern culture has with death and the grief surrounding. About Caz: "I started working with willow more than a decade ago and was immediately hooked on both the craftform and the fact that I could be in control of everything along the journey of bringing a basket into being - from growing, harvesting and preparing the willow, to using only my hands and a few simple tools to create a wide variety of beautiful and functional items.Helping to weave my aunt-in-law’s willow coffin after she died in 2015 was a profoundly moving and beautiful experience.  Not only did it open my eyes to a new level of willow work, it also really clarified my perception of our modern culture’s disconnection from death, dying and grief, and offered a way for me to take my basketmaking skills in a new direction.  I knew at that time I wanted to eventually make my own coffins.  Five years later, over a period of four days, the amazing Mel Bastier taught me and my husband, Tom, how to weave a coffin from start to finish.  From this place, Wild Heart Coffins was born… "Links from Episode 041 (Mel Bastier) BurialsKatrina Spade TED Talk Funeral Company TED talk the show (
Today I'm talking with Alice and Gavin Munro from  Full Grown about their exceptional work growing complete chairs from trees. So the normal procedure is to wait 50 years for a tree to grow, chop it down and begin cutting it into smaller and smaller parts. At some point the parts are small enough and you can now join them back together with glue to make a chair. Depending on the competency of the joinery and strength of the glue, your chair might last 50-100 years? Alice and Gavin Munro have a different idea. Grow one tree that you train into the right shape to be a complete chair. Grafting the branches together to make solid joins that will last forever! "Taking a radical stance on the way we produce our objects, Alice & Gavin Munro are at the cutting edge of an emerging art form, an art form that highlights an interesting way to be closer to art and nature and to create symbiotic abundance for both.Challenging the way we create products as well as how we see the items with which we surround ourselves, the Grown Furniture has an immediate tactile, visceral and organic appeal."Full Grown Building Sustainability LinksAsh DiebackFerdinand Ludwig - Buildings made from treesFerdinand Ludwig - VideoBiophilia is an innate affinity of life or living systems. The term was first used by Erich Fromm to describe a psychological orientation of being attracted to all that is alive and vital.Horatio's GardensDavid Nash (Artist)Kew GardensCradle to CradleDr Chris Cattle ( Grown Stools)Support the show (
How can we do the work to look after the planet if we don't look after ourselves? This is the question we are asking Faye Blake of Live Intuitively in Building Sustainability Podcast BS39.Many in our industry burn out, because they are so focussed on doing the much needed work in advancing sustainability in the built environment that don't stop to notice whether they have sustainability within themselves. I know this from personal experience and have observed in in many of my colleagues. This episode I'm talking to Faye Blake from 'Live Intuitively' about how Ayurveda teaches us to nurture and nourish ourselves. This then gives us the basis to then help others. "Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one’s life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle and the use of herbs. Knowledge of Ayurveda enables one to understand how to create this balance of body, mind and consciousness according to one’s own individual constitution and how to make lifestyle changes to bring about and maintain this balance."  Source - session with Faye at Live IntuitivelyTake the time to recognise where there are integrity gaps in how you are living each day, so you can create a more sustainable lifestyle. the show (
A conversation recorded with Janna Laan Lomas, founding director and designer at Grain Architecture. In this episode we discuss the architecture industry's response to climate change. We also look at Janna's training and how she got into architecture and sustainability. You might also be interested to hear episode 37, also with Janna which focuses more on the nuts and bolts of how to design buildings in a sustainable way. Topics covered in this conversation:Ethics - Turning down work if it's not sustainability focusedArchitects declareDonut economicsJanna's interest in sustainabilityDesigning a house from an early ageCommunityDiversityThe planning system with regards to country buildsOne planet developmentJanna's training at the Centre for Alternative TechnologyLinks from episode 38:UKHempcreteTerra PermaEBUKICAT -  The Centre for Alternative TechnologyRound the woods roundhouse InstagramArchitects DeclareACAN - Architects Climate action NetworkDonut EconomicsSupport the show (
It's a Solstice/Christmas/New Year double episode with Grain Architecture's founding director and designer Janna Laan Lomas. In this episode we discuss the nuts and bolts of sustainable design from an architect's perspective.  I also speak with Janna in episode 38, where we discuss her background and training, and the response from the architecture world in response to the climate emergency. This episode contains discussions on:Her approach to constructionInsulation and Mass geek outDesigning each room construction for the way it's usedGlass in buildingsDesigning out membranesFoamGlas insulationThreshers Hall - A project I led for Hartwyn that was designed by JannaStructural EngineersHow much does an eco house cost?Wobbly walls Vs Straight Episode 37 LinksLost words (book)Lost Spells (book)Bank Job (documentary)Suffolk 'Threshers Hall' BuildFoamglas insulationFuturebuild exhibition Support the show (
This week I'm joined by Clare Whitney from Clayworks for Building Sustainability Podcast BS36. Clayworks Clay plasters are unique blends of unfired clays mixed with minerals and pigments to provide healthy, breathable finishes for internal walls and ceilings.Manufactured in Cornwall from abundant raw materials, they are amongst the most sustainable and healthy wall finishes available. They are recyclable, compostable, re-useable, and contain no toxic ingredients or VOCs.As well as being 100% natural, Clayworks clay plasters are also high performance. They regulate relative humidity, allow buildings to breathe, and absorb toxins, odours and acoustics. They can also passively regulate temperature.Clayworks Clay Plasters provide unique aesthetics – with a depth of cloudy tone and texture not found in conventional wall finishes. A seamless finish, they are ready mixed in a wide range of naturally pigmented colours and extraordinary textures, from luxurious silkiness to deeply coarse and rustic.This is a bonus episode as I have managed to stack up a few recordings and wanted to get them to your ears in time for Christmas. Episode 36 LinksClayworks WebsiteBuilding Sustainability Podcast Youtube ChannelNicky Gibson leaf printsArchitects DeclareRIBA ChallengeDown to Earth ProjectSocial Media LinksTwitterInstagramFacebook Support the show (
Kiran Pereira is the author of the forthcoming book Sand Stories: Surprising truths about the global sand crisis and the quest for sustainable solutions. Kiran was raised in India where she witnessed the impacts of indiscriminate sand mining. Following her Master’s degree at King’s College, London, during which she explored this very topic, Kiran works as a social entrepreneur to find and promote solutions to the global sand crisis. Her work has been featured in the award-winning documentary Sand Wars and media such as The Economist, BBC Radio5, Al Jazeera among others. She lives in London.Sand Stories BS35 LinksSand Stories websiteSourabh Phadke - Clayfest 2019 talk Sand Wars DocumentaryCDE GlobalSupport the show (
Part 2  of the 2 part episode in partnership with Earth Building United Kingdom and Ireland ( wanted to find out about the training available to those wanting to get into earth building in the UK and Ireland. All to often this information is provided from the trainers perspective and doesnt show the difficulties of getting into this industry. In this episode I talk to Miki Z and Jamie Ingle. This episode with conversations with  and ends with my thoughts on what we can do to better train the future earth builders. Episode 34 linksClayfestPrince's FoundationSupport the show (
Part 1 of a 2 part episode in partnership with Earth Building United Kingdom and Ireland ( wanted to find out about the training available to those wanting to get into earth building in the UK and Ireland. All to often this information is provided from the trainers perspective and doesnt show the difficulties of getting into this industry. In this episode I talk to Kit Jones and Anna Castilla Vila. Episode 34 will follow straight on from this episode with conversations with Miki Z and Jamie Ingle and ends with my thoughts on what we can do to better train the future earth builders. Episode 33 links the show (
I'm very pleased to welcome the podcast - builder, photographer, publisher, editor and blogger... Lloyd Kahn! Lloyd is the editor in chief at Shelter Publications, has now published eight books on building; this series is called The Shelter Library Of Building Books. Included are Home Work, the sequel to Shelter, Tiny Homes, and Lloyd’s favorite, Builders of the Pacific Coast.In the mid-‘60s, Lloyd Kahn quit his job in the insurance business and began working as a carpenter, first building post and beam houses, then geodesic domes. In 1968, he became the shelter editor of The Whole Earth Catalog, which led him to publish two books on dome building and then, in 1973, the book Shelter (which went on to sell 270,000 copies). Lloyd’s been writing ever since.Podcast linksShelter Publications Lloyds BlogBook: ShelterBook: Tiny HomesBook: Builders of the Pacific CoastBook: Home WorkBook: Small HomesFilm: My Octopus TeacherNext book - Rolling homesEssays - DomesMy roundhouse build, greatly inspired by Lloyd's books (shameless self promotion)Support the show (
This episode we are talking with British folk singer, Jay McAllister AKA Beans on Toast. We began talking about "how the arts, music and storytelling could save the world from climate catastrophe." But, I think what came out of the conversation was that of hope, believing in people and celebrating the good in humanity. The conversation covers the role of the artist, how to have hope, great storytellers, inspirational books, socially distanced gigs.... to name but a few topics...  and it ends with Beans on Toast playing a track from his new album.Beans on Toast Bio:"He’s a hippy, a punk, a poet, a drunk, a die-hard romantic and an eternal optimist. Singing simple songs that tackle big issues. Political protest songs for the modern day, honest and open Love songs. Songs that will make you laugh, but also make you think with no holds barred honesty and quick wit. He tours constantly and has gigged and played festivals all over the world. The Beans on Toast live show is an odd and unpredictable experience. A singer, songwriter and storyteller his self-deprecating quality is not something you often see, but it breaks down the barrier between musician and audience, creating a sense of equality."BS31 Links - Beans on ToastBeans on toast websiteSong - Beans on Toast - Stinging NettlesSong - Beans on Toast - Take your shit home with youSong - Beans on Toast - Strange DaysAlbum - Beans on Toast - The inevitable train wreckAlbum - Beans on Toast - A bird in the handFrank TurnerPlaylist - Beans on Toast - The long drive homeSong - Holly Williams - Waiting on JuneTodd SniderJohn PrineSong - Guy Clark - The Randall KnifeAlbum - Leonard Cohen - Thanks for the danceGabe LeeBrent CobbPodcast - Nick Hayes - Bridges to the futureBook - Nick Hayes - Trespass Book - Rutger Bregman - HumankindTom RobbinsBook - Tom Robbins - Jitterbug PerfumeSupport the show (
This episode we are speaking with Sarah Partridge of Orchard Barn - Orchard barn is an off grid restoration project that is rebuilding a barn and long house using the traditional tools and techniques that were used to build it the first time round. Support the show (
This episode we talk with Scott McAulay, from the Anthropocene Architecture School. Scott is a part 2 architectural technician who has been making lots of noise to shake up the architectural education model. We discuss Scott's journey to this point and how the anthropocene architecture school has developed and grown into a rebellious voice of common sense - pushing for a change in the education of architects to bring the climate emergency to the forefront of design requirements.Support this PodcastEpisode LinksAnthropocene Architecture School (Twitter)Anthropocene Architecture School (Facebook)Scottish Environmental Design Association (SEDA)Girl who silenced the world for 5 minutesHawkland Ecological ConstructionUK HempcreteLight Revolution (Book)Climate alliance Architecture Education DeclaresArchitects Climate Action NetworkSupport the show (
Full show notes coming soon!Emily's Blog - Earthen Plaster Exchange - Plaster Craft -'Mizugone' Plastering Video discussed - the show (
Today I talk with Emily Reynolds, author of 'Japan's Clay Walls: A Glimpse into their Plaster Craft' - This is part 1 of 2!Today we discuss trowels, bamboo backing, LinksJapanese Earthen Plaster the show (
Something a bit different today. I talk with Wibbs Coulson about how we can look after our bodies to keep us able to build, craft or just stay in good shape! Videos from the podcastYoga inspired movements for wrists/arms/shoulder health - in motion inspired movement for back pain - breathing technique - inspired Combo work out - Check in - Patreon Page - Hayes Book Preorder - up your feet - the show (
Show notes available at: this episode I talk with Will Stanwix - Co-author of 'The Hempcrete book - Designing and building with hemp lime'. Will is not only a hemp-lime builder, but also a trained building surveyor and now an accomplished earth builder too.This is the second part of a 2 hour conversation between Will and myself. For this, we took turns to ask each other questions and go off on geeky/silly tangents. I've always enjoyed talking to Will as he isn't afraid to talk about failures. His honesty about not knowing all the answers is refreshing and really helps you to learnIn this episode we discuss -What would you tell the younger version of yourself about natural buildingWet trades Vs Dry tradesOur favourite booksWhat do you call your job title?Favourite natural building productIs Natural Building cheap?If you'd like to hear the original recording, where Will talks about the writing of the Hempcrete book, and how he built and financed building his own home - you can find this on the building sustainability Patreon page - - Natural Builder Question Time Pt2 - Will Stanwix LinksFoamglas - Glapor - clay balls - green warmshell wood fibre board - Reynolds - Japan's Clay Walls - Henderson - Clay walls - Kahn Books - Magwood - Volhard - England practical conservation - Woolley - Health and Indoor Air Quality - the show (
Comments (1)

Dominic Ives

another excellent episode!

Sep 9th
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