TREND-MONITOR visited Ecobuild at Excel London which was held between 8-10 March 2016 to find out the latest trends in sustainable building design and construction.

This leading UK exhibition and conference for the construction and energy market has been at the centre of the building industry for over a decade.  Ecobuild annually attracts over 40,000 industry professionals from across the build environment supply chain; architects, consultants, contractors, developers, facility managers and installers all use Ecobuild to source the latest products and discover cutting edge technology.

Here are some of the sustainable construction trends and highlights spotted by TREND-MONITOR …

Bacteria-Grown Bricks

Bacteria grown brick

The innovation team at Travis Perkins have partnered with inventors, manufacturers and customers to bring new and relevant products to the construction market.

At Ecobuild, they were demonstrating their new Bacteria-Grown brick as a green alternative to the traditional clay brick. ‘Grown’ using a special bacteria combined with sand and aggregate, the brick takes just 2 days to produce, compared with 5 day production of a standard brick.  Plus the ‘Grown’ brick is un-fired, significantly reducing the CO2 emissions generated by the firing of the clay brick.

Turning Car Parks into Power Stations

Solar Carports

Solar technology innovators, Flexisolar Ltd, displayed their Solar carports, which offer a simplified and economical alternative to roof mounted solar systems.

According to Flexisolar, “solar carports are the next hot topic in the solar industry, set to transform grey windy carparks into “energy hubs” generating cheap, green electricity for buildings and electric vehicles”

Nottingham City Council has already installed solar canopies covering 40 car parking spaces which deliver 65kWp (kiloWatt peak), enough to power 20 homes, and are hoping to generate over £8000 revenue per year from this installation.


Homes above Car Parks



In another innovative use for the air-space above car parks, sustainable design firm ZEDfactory revealed their new Zedpods; zero-carbon flatpack homes which are built on stilts and positioned over parking spaces.

The brainchild of architect Bill Dunster, these pods are designed stand over existing car parks, allowing 2 cars to park underneath the single pods and 4 cars under the double pods.

Specified to almost Passivhaus status with a highly insulated timber frame pod, 90% of the home’s energy will be provided by a solar panelled roof.  The single pods are expected to go on the market for £35,000 with double pods costing £65,000.

Zero Bills Home Eco Development

Also from ZEDfactory,  this development which will be built in Newport subject to planning permission comprises of a range of different housing options with one thing in common – their owners won’t be getting any home energy bills.

The houses are designed to minimise energy requirements and the very low energy needs of the household are met by roof-integrated photovoltaics and energy storage system, which can also generate enough power to service a small electric vehicle.

The home is heated by a small air source heat pump that recycles heat recovered from stale air that’s been processed by a mechanical ventilation heat recovery system. With the average annual household spend on home energy exceeding £1300 and car fuel exceeding £1000, this amounts to significant lifetime savings for the homeowner.

AlzoNobel ReColour Project

Dulux Recolour project

55 million litres of unused and old paint is thrown away each year, according to AkzoNobel, whose paint brands include Dulux, Cuprinol and Hammerite.   Over half of this paint is still reusable but is currently entering the waste stream instead of being put to good use in our towns and cities

Their ReColour project will see a paint remanufacturing plant – capable of producing 60,000 litres of new paint every year – developed in Cambridgeshire, with 4 more plants planned across the UK over the next 18 months.

The paint from these plants will be available on a number of different colours and sold on at minimal cost to community groups and those in social need.


Waterblade water saving fitting

This simple water-saving fitting has been chosen as one of the five finalists in the Ecobuild Big Innovation Pitch competition, which is organised in association with M&S.

Waterblade takes a trickle of water and transforms it into a a ‘Jelly Fish’ shaped, paper thin sheet of water, which is as wide as a hand.  This enables an efficient distribution of the water for washing hands, and reduces both water and energy consumption.


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