Belfast Telegraph

Design students enlist help of rocker

By Symon Ross

The University of Ulster has teamed up with a rock star to give students the chance to design the sustainable home of the future.

With support from Invest NI, Biotecture Ireland and new association called the Biotecture Network, are asking students on UU’s Masters of Architecture course to submit design briefs for a carbon-zero, self-sustaining house.

Biotecture Ireland’s business development director Mark Hamilton is the bass player in rock band Ash.

He said: “The project is all about building a self-sustainable house that would work well in a European environment. There are already examples of ‘Earthships’ in New Mexico, and what we are looking for is for the students to design something that would sell in a European market, with European design and cultural aesthetics. We want the students to be innovative and create.”

The winners of the competition will win £1,000 and a pair of VIP tickets to the 2012 Carling Weekend: Reading Festival.

Professor Neil Hewitt, director of the Centre for Sustainable Technologies at the university, said: “The chance for our students to develop these types of homes shows the innovation in the University of Ulster.”

Students will have to fulfill six key design principles. The home will have to have renewable energy micro-generation, including solar, wind geothermal and energy-efficiency technologies; passive solar design with advanced, energy-efficient construction techniques; use local, natural and recycled building materials; water harvesting, to collect rainwater to re-use in the home and garden; contained sewage treatment; and food production.

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Belfast Telegraph