Students build Brighton Waste House from 20,000 toothbrushes and other waste

Students build Brighton Waste House from 20,000 toothbrushes and other waste

The Brighton Waste House as it has been named has now opened at the Graduate Show. The inspirational eco-house is situated at the Grand Parade campus at the University of Brighton. Duncan Baker-Brown along with the co-founder of Freegle, Cat Fletcher, was behind the unusual project. The house was made from waste materials, which included more than 20, 000 toothbrushes.

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The Brighton Waste House looks into strategies for making low energy, contemporary, permanent domestic buildings using around 85% waste materials which are collected from construction sites along with households. The Waste House is the first A energy efficient sustainable building to be built in the UK.

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The whole aim of the project was to  prove that organic low carbon materials would be able to compete with high-energy, high-carbon counterparts. The house is said to test the innovative green prefab techniques for agents of wastage reduction. The building of the house relied on construction techniques that are high tech, so as to reduce the amount of time spent on site, along with keeping down wastage of materials.

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A wide range of materials has been used in the construction of the house. This included 20,000 toothbrushes, around 2 tonne of old denim jeans, 2,000 floppy discs, 4,000 DVD cases, around 2000 carpet tiles, discarded vinyl banners, bricks that were collected, along with ply sheets and wood that had been discarded from other constructions. Rubbish collected and used in the project also included plastic razors, which were used to help provide insulation in the wall cavities along with video cassettes and DVD covers.

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10 tonnes of chalk waste along with 10% of clay were used in the construction of a rammed earth wall. The team behind the project said that rammed earth goes towards contributing to the energy efficiency of the building. Rammed earth is known for its thickness, thermal conductivity and density, and it is suitable for passive solar heating. It takes around 12 hours for warmth to make its way through a wall of around 35cm in thickness.

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The Waste House spent more than three months in production and twelve months on site. 2507 people worked on the building of the house, including volunteers, students and apprentices, with 253 students being inducted to work on the site. A summary of the amounts of various items used include:

200 rolls of new wallpaper that had been discarded;
600 sheets of second plywood;
50m2 of 30mm thickness mdc;
500 inner tubes taken from cycles;
10m2 of rubber membrane from Pirelli car tyres;
2km of 2 x 2 inch softwood timber;
600 vinyl banners;
2,000 used carpet tiles;
10 tonnes of chalk which was heading to a landfill;
7.2 cubic meters of polystyrene taken from old packing materials;
2000 bolts that had been collected;
250m2 of insulation that was second hand.

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