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Charlie Greig left fashion behind to make a successful career in interior design and is now setting new standards in sustainable housing
Interior designer Charlie Grieg is one of the names to watch in the world of sustainable housing. After a successful career in fashion retail, she moved into property 15 years ago and has built up an impressive portfolio of residential projects for clients such as former Spice Girl Emma Bunton.Greig and her team of three designers, based in her studio in northwest London, began to focus on eco homes just over a year ago and have created an off-theshelf, modular housing solution called Cub Homes. It has already been certified to Sustainability Code Level 5 and is covered by the National House-Building Council’s Building Control Type Approval, something that will be on developers’ minds next October when every new building will have to comply to Code Level 4.
‘When I began work on creating my own home, I struggled so hard to add in all the sustainable factors I wanted and needed,’ says Greig. ‘I began to see that creating your own bespoke environment from scratch would be the answer,which led me to the conclusion that modular is the building method of the future. This is what I have applied to Cub Homes.’
This capsule-type approach means the building process takes 12 to 16 weeks and has a fixed price—‘a huge plus in an economically unstable world and one where builders whack on an extra 20 per cent when you have no roof on your house,’ says Grieg.
Cub Homes,manufactured exclusively by FutureForm, achieve that hard-to-reach Code Level 5 by being built modularly off site,which reduced construction waste by 90 per cent, before being craned in. This keeps its carbon footprint to a minimum.Only Forest Stewardship Council-approved timber is used and the frame itself is 65 per cent recycled steel.High acoustic and thermal installation systems prevent heat loss and noise pollution, while argon gas-sealed windows are used, eliminating virtually all drafts. Interior fittings,with various packages ranging from Ikea to BoConcept, are also totally eco conscious with surfaces and worktops made of 100 per cent recycled and recyclable glass, ceramics and mirrors.All appliances are A/A+ rated and all homes comply with a daily water use of 80l per person per day—achieved through the installation of flow restrictors in all taps and showers—while rain water is harvested.
Grieg has 70 meetings set out for the next six months with housing associations, private clients and property developers to roll out 100 homes over the next year, one of which is on display in the BRE’s (Environmental Assessment Method) Innovation Park.
Not only is she shaking things up ethically in the UK,Grieg has developed a modular housing solution for disaster zones, called PodPassiv,which is has just received its patent and is being geared up to be sent out as part of relief efforts worldwide. Each one is $3000 and is a plastic shell, compact and light for quick and easy shipping,which can be constructed by two people in less than three hours and collects rain water through the roof and walls and is illuminated by solar energy. ‘I just thought how can I apply my experience and knowledge to provide an easy effective shelter in these life threatening situations, and created a solution,’ describes Grieg, ‘It’s a simple design but we are going down all the right channels to have all the right talks with all the right people so what we are doing is going to make a difference.’
The massively important and massively hectic schedule sounds like a lot to handle, ‘ oh everyday is a 12 hour day,’ says Grieg, ‘ Setting up meetings, going to them, creating presentations and working on seminars, selling my own property portfolio to fund my work -It’s all go.’ And this afternoon she is planning to visit the current exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, ‘just because it’s a sunny day.’ I think we can allow her that.
This article was first published in idfx Magazine.
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