‘Low impact living’ means to live as lightly as possible on the earth. Reducing our impact on the wider environment has become an urgent task in the face of climate change. Residential and non-domestic buildings account for around 45% of C02 emissions in the UK. The UK government set a target for all new buildings to be carbon neutral by 2019. LILAC is aiming to make each home carbon negative: able to return to the national grid as much power (and more) as it uses over the course of a year.
How are we doing this?
First, we have used locally sourced building materials. The walls of our houses are made from super-insulated straw bale and timber panels, pre-fabricated in Modcell’s local ‘Flying Factory’. In contrast to a conventionally built home which produces around 50 tonnes of CO2 during its construction, a home built using straw bale as insulation can actually store 12.25 tonnes of CO2!
Second, the buildings use ‘passive solar’ design, which means that the insulating materials and design of the buildings combine to store solar heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer, thus reducing the need to input heating energy.
Third, residents are working together to consider the environmental impact of our daily activities, for instance through car sharing; pooling resources and tools; and looking to the local area to provide as many needs as possible. Growing food on our allotments means we eat as locally as physically possible!
 Richard Miller, Richard Miller, Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform, Technology Strategy Board [http://www.innovationuk.org/news/innovation-uk-vol6-1/0313-carbon-emissions---growth-opportunities-in-a-low-carbon-economy.html] [accessed 06/07/13].
 Department for Communities and Local Government, ‘Improving the Energy Efficiency in Buildings and Using Planning to Protect the Environment’, [https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/improving-the-energy-efficiency-of-buildings-and-using-planning-to-protect-the-environment] [accessed 06/07/13].
 Qureshi, H. ‘Home is Where the Heat Is: Why Old Can be Good as New’, The Guardian March 16, 2008 [http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2008/mar/16/homeimprovements.householdbills] [accessed 06/07/13].