Home Grown House

Concepts for sustainable, low-cost prefabricated housing made from domestically grown timber and round-wood thinnings.

The HomeGrownHouse project (HGH) is a Higher Education Innovation Funded (HEIF) research project addressing the limited use of locally sourced, small-diameter round wood in construction in the south east of England and will focus on coppiced Sweet Chestnut timber for its natural durability and mechanical properties. The project has received industry support from Wood-Mizer, a leading wood processing equipment manufacturer with a strong legacy for innovative sawmilling products. The company has helped the project by testing new, low-waste methods of milling coppiced Sweet Chestnut timber.

A demonstrator 'kit of parts' for constructing small scale buildings will be assembled and structurally tested as the primary outcome of the research project. The components will be designed for disassembly and milled from a range of small, medium and large diameter coppiced thinnings to align with woodland management practices in the region.

The majority of timber used to manufacture the building components will be Grown in Britain certified and sourced from the Birling Estate on the edge of London. Birling will also serve as the temporary site for the timber structures.

The HGH project aims to positively impact:
  1. The evolution of sustainable architecture made from locally sourced timber.
  2. The local community by supporting skilled forestry and timber processing jobs.
  3. Student researchers studying sustainable construction at London Metropolitan University.
  4. The biodiversity, health and productivity of the woodlands by encouraging active coppice management
  5. A net-zero carbon economy and the housing crisis.
view up into the forest with home grown house logo

Project details

Research team 
George Fereday, PI
Guy Nevill, Director, Birling Estate Ltd.
Dougal Driver, Chief Executive, Grown in Britain
Nick Meech, Design and Make practitioner

Project partners 
Grown in Britain
The Birling Estate

Industry partners 
Wood-Mizer

Research group
Making Matters

Duration 
Current phase: January - June 2021 

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Home Grown House