I’ve been learning about house-building for 18 months now and I have to say it has been fascinating. Admittedly there have been moments when my head starts to hurt or I wish my brain would absorb more, but this is a small price to pay for getting a better understanding of what makes a great house that is fit for purpose in the 21st century.

Yesterday I launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce a documentary on energy-efficient housing and I thought the story might be of interest to my local newspaper. Sure enough, a lovely young journalist got back in touch and she arranged an interview with me. Yes, I like to talk but when it’s on a subject that I’m passionate about it is easy to ‘go off on one’! As I walked away, having made my points, I couldn’t help wondering whether it all made sense. ‘Custom build’ this, ‘Passivhaus’ that, ‘most new houses are not as good as they could be’ and bla bla bla.

Luckily if I was rambling she managed to tie it all together: Read the finished article here.

If you are self-building I imagine you are pushing boundaries and you are going further than you have to. That’s why this is always tough – I am preaching to the converted. How do we crack the mainstream? A good number of people enjoy Grand Designs but do they come away any the wiser and prepared to reject substandard housing?

So I’m having my first go at trying to create video content that might be more palatable for the ‘TV’ audience. Could we enlighten a few people? Well, I guess I’m about to find out how tough this nut is to crack. My focus is on airtightness, largely because it is the ‘unknown’ factor that contributes to thermal efficiency. It’s also a factor that might scare some people. I want to bust the myths while meeting people who live in these houses and haven’t suffocated yet. In fact, they’ll probably tell me that their houses are more comfortable and cheaper to run . . . oh, and use a fraction of the energy to heat or cool!

I have a guide on this journey and his name is Paul Jennings. He’s the UK’s leading air leakage expert and he’s been around the block a few times. He’s probably bashed his head against a few brick walls, too. Progress is painfully slow in the construction industry. If the end users could demand more, then perhaps, just perhaps, things might advance a little more quickly. So I fully intend to pester Paul with questions as he goes about his work and see who else we bump into.

If you’ve read this far then I think it’s time I tried to get some money out of you! Here’s my project’s link on Kickstarter. Thank you.

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