Welsh 'Green' Buildings; Folklife Home Ideas Eco-Friendly

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 29, 2009 | Go to article overview

Welsh 'Green' Buildings; Folklife Home Ideas Eco-Friendly


Byline: Deborah K. Dietsch , THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Last month, Wales became the first country in the United Kingdom to set a national standard for energy-efficient green buildings. Starting Sept. 1, most new structures in the Celtic land of song will have to meet mandatory requirements for conserving energy, water and other resources.

In Washington, Wales is advertising its mission to save the planet as this year's featured nation at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which runs through Sunday.

Erected near the Smithsonian Metro station are two timber-framed pavilions designed with environmentally friendly Welsh building systems to provide visitors with green ideas for their own homes.

The smaller, more rustic shed shows what is old is new again through traditional construction elements. It has been built by Ty-Mawr, a Welsh business specializing in lime-based products.

The company has helped to renovate a farmhouse owned by Britain's Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, who kicked off their annual summer tour of Wales on June 22 with a visit to Ty-Mawr's headquarters.

On the Mall, the Celtic-style pavilion resembles a wooden structure popular during medieval times known as a cruck frame. The ends of the 13-by-8-foot gabled shed are assembled from curved oak timbers held together with thick beams.

Displayed within the posts of the structure are organic alternatives to metal and synthetic building elements, including wooden lath, lime and mud plaster and sheep's wool insulation.

Natural and recycled products like ours are becoming mainstream as more people realize they are healthy for the home and the occupant, said Ned Scharer of Ty-Mawr during a tour of the pavilion.

The most unusual of these finishes is a mixture of lime and crushed recycled glass called glaster, which can be applied to walls like plaster or stucco. A substitute for concrete called limecrete is inspired by Roman flooring made from pumice stones and lime.

The biggest advantage of lime is that it is porous and allows moisture to evaporate, said Ty-Mawr's Jeremy Ryall, noting its usefulness in Britain's damp climate. …

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