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Last Updated: Friday, 9 November 2007, 09:44 GMT
Wool and straw house gets award
Sustainable house in Totnes
A sustainable home built in wool, wood and straw
A Devon builder has beaten his contemporaries to become Best Energy Efficient Builder in Britain.

Robert Gulley was given the title at this year's Master Builder awards for the sustainable home he built in Totnes made from straw, wool and timber.

Customer Jim Carfrae said he wanted a sustainable property made for the same budget as a conventional one.

Mr Gulley was initially sceptical but used his traditional house-building skills to make a beautiful green home.

Sheep's wool

When Mr Carfrae suggested his ideas to the south Devon-based builders RJ Gulley, Mr Gulley laughed and said he must be mad.

"Rob is from a farming family, so is used to feeding straw to animals, not building houses with it," Mr Carfrae said.

"But as with everything on this project, Rob found a practical solution by creating a timber frame and wrapping the straw bales around it."

The main structure of the house is a traditionally jointed timber frame in locally grown Douglas Fir, which is more sustainable than oak.

The house is insulated with sheep's wool and has solar panels and a wood-fired cooker.

In its eighth year the Master Builder of the Year Awards is organised by the Federation of Master Builders.



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The house in Totnes is made from straw, wool and timber



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