The Brighton Waste House – BBM Sustainable Design Ltd

Following 3 months in production, 12 months on site, and the installation of 20,000 toothbrushes, 2 tonnes of denim jeans, 4,000 DVD cases, 2,000 floppy discs, 2000 used carpet tiles (to clad the facades) and the hard work of 253 students and apprentices we have been able to complete The Brighton Waste House on campus at The Faculty of Arts Grand Parade.

The Brighton Waste House is a ‘live’ research project and permanent new design workshop focused on sustainable development.  It is situated on campus at The University of Brighton’s Faculty of Arts at Grand Parade.  Designed by Senior Lecturer and Architect Duncan Baker-Brown together with undergraduate students, this project was built by apprentices from The Mears Group, students from City College Brighton & Hove and The Faculty of Arts as well as volunteers. In all over 250 students helped on site.

The Brighton Waste House is the first permanent building in the UK to be constructed from waste, surplus material and discarded plastic gathered from the construction industry, other industries and our homes.  The idea, developed with Cat Fletcher of FREEGLE UK, is to test the performance of these undervalued resources over the next few years; the Faculty of Science and Engineering have put sensors in the external walls to monitor their performance.  One of the main aims of the project was to prove ‘that there is no such thing and waste, just stuff in the wrong place’.

Now an open design research studio, run in partnership with our colleagues delivering the Sustainable Design MA on campus, the Brighton Waste House will be available to schools, colleges and community groups for ‘green’ themed events and any interested parties can join in with sustainable design workshops and events curated by designers, artists, makers, builders, scientists writers-in-residence, whoever is interested.

The project has been very fortunate to receive the enlightened support of Brighton and Hove City Council Planning and Building Control departments, as well as the generous contributions of suppliers within the contraction industry.

Waste House statistics – in no particular order ….

  • 2507 person days to build – 97.5 % of days from students, apprentices & volunteers
  • 253 different students inducted and working on site
  • Over 700 school children visited the construction site
  • Jason Reeves (City College student then Mears Apprentice) – 5+ weeks while at the City College working on columns and beams plus 30 weeks on site – most as Mears Apprentice
  • 3 months in production in City College workshops, plus 12 months on site
  • 19,800 toothbrushes used as wall insulation – Gatwick Airport supplied 20K, school children and Freegle supplied 1K
  • 2 tonnes of waste (from rag trade) denim jean legs & arms – used as wall insulation
  • 200 rolls of brand new wallpaper – thrown away to make way for Christmas decorations
  • 4,000 VHS video cassettes  – used as wall insulation
  • 4,000 Plastic DVD cases  – used as wall insulation
  • 600 sheets of second-hand and/or damaged ply – used for structure and infill ‘cassettes’
  • 70m2 of plywood re-used from UOB ‘Waste Totem’ project.
  • 50m2 of 30mm thick mdc – used as first floor finish – wood Recycling project.
  • 1 ‘waste’ kitchen – FREEGLE UK
  • Kitchen worktop made from second-hand coffee grinds & plastic coffee cups
  • 500 cycle inner tubes – used to seal windows and sound proof first floor.
  • 10m2 of compressed recycle paper forming stair treads and risers – Supplied by Lindner Group
  • 65m2 of rubber membrane from for roof finish – made from old Pirelli car tyres.
  • 2km of second-hand 2”x2” softwood timber – used throughout building and sourced from skips/ City College/ Brighton Wood Store.
  • 600 vinyl banners – used as vapour control membrane to wrap house + make Waste House banner bags!
  • 2,000 used carpet tiles – used as external hanging tiles for walls & some on the ground floor
  • 10 tonnes of chalk destined for landfill – used to create beautiful load bearing internal wall
  • 20 litres of second hand paint – supplied by Newlife Paints
  • 7.2 cubic metres of polystyrene from old packaging – used as wall insulation
  • 2000 second-hand bolts
  • 250m2 of ‘seconded/ returned’ Kingspan insulation  – used as wall, floor & roof insulation