Ecos Homes is the development subsidiary of the Ecos Trust, established in 2000 ‘to make sustainable construction the norm, rather than the exception, by 2010′. To demonstrate the principles of sustainable construction, a decision was made to build a not-for-profit sustainable development in which social and environmental values were as important as economic values.
The site, at Great Bow Yard, Langport, Somerset, was bought on the open market in 2003. A lengthy design process followed and work started on site in autumn 2004. Both the site and the brief presented many obstacles. The site, a historic wharf on the river Parrett next to a Grade II-listed warehouse, had been used by a company that manufactured lubricants and was classified as contaminated, it contained a badgers’ sett, which had to be moved, and a deep layer of peat lay just below the surface of the ground, requiring piling to be carried out before building work started.
At the start of the development the Trust set out a number of basic aims for the development: to minimise energy use for both the construction process and building use, to use recycled or sustainable materials, to create a positive local impact, to reduce water use and to design ‘healthy’ buildings.