Project CobBauge has won a top European award for its modern twist on ancient building methods.
The project impressed the judges of the European Commission’s RegioStars Awards for its work that will pave the way for 1,500 low-carbon homes to be built across the Channel area over 10 years.
Partners have developed innovative versions of ‘cob’ – a mixture of earth and fibres traditionally used in house-building in ancient times - that can pass modern building regulations in both the UK and France.
The walling material will be used to develop homes that are energy-efficient, comfortable, healthy to live in and inexpensive to run.
The ambitious €4m project has received €2.9m from the European Regional Development Fund via the Interreg France (Channel) England Programme.
The Programme, whose Managing Authority is Norfolk County Council, co-funds collaborative projects between organisations in the south of the UK and north of France.
CobBauge comprises three partners from each of the two countries and led by the University of Plymouth. Project manager Karen Hood-Cree was presented with the award for the category ‘Connecting the green, blue and grey’ at the ceremony at the EU week of Cities and Regions in Brussels last night (October 9).
She said: "We’re thrilled about the award and excited that people are starting to realise that cob has gone full circle and has a real future in house-building.
“People are searching for eco-friendly ways of living now, and reducing energy in homes is a great way to do that. Our cob is environmentally-friendly and cost-effective, and we already know there’s demand from builders, architects and even families wanting to use it for self-builds.”
Phase 1 focused on creating and testing cob mixes, and on proving demand. Phase 2, which has begun, has seen Norfolk partner Hudson Architects join the project to develop a pilot property using the cob material. CobBauge will then train professionals and local builders in construction, and generate demand for the construction of cob houses.