Great British Refurb

Film Competition Winner Announced - 28/2/12

Following a UK-wide search for the nations next generation of aspiring film-maker talent, the winning entry has been announced. Henry Steedham scooped the £1,500 cash prize for his 60 second film, ‘Janet’, which judges deemed to be an inspiration to the Great British public to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Henry’s prize included a commission by WWF-UK to make their next campaign film with a £5,000 budget as well as HD camera film equipment from Canon UK.

Second and third place were secured by Eduardo Sampedro for his film ‘Sustainable Home’ and to Ben Mills who came in third place for his entry ‘Eco Homeboys’.

The judging panel, which included Kevin McCloud and the Energy Minister Greg Barker MP announced the winners from the shortlisted entries at an award ceremony in London this month.

The Great British Refurb film competition aimed to end apathy amongst UK homeowners towards energy saving ahead of the launch of the Green Deal this Autumn.


Henry Steedman, winner of the GBR film competition with 'Janet'


Eduardo Sampedro -- 2nd place with "Sustainable Home"


Ben Mills, Patrick Benson, Linton Davies -- 3rd place with 'Eco-Homeboys'

GBR Video Competition

Great British Refurb Film Competition - 1/12/2011

The Great British Refurb has just launched a film competition for all aspiring film-makers. Entrants have the task of making a 60 second film to enthuse the British public on saving energy at home through refurb. The competition  is open for entries until the 16th January 2011. 

The winning film – which will be judged by Kevin McCloud, the Energy Minister Greg Barker MP and several other judges from the worlds of business and film – will be rewarded with a cash prize of £1,500, HD camera film equipment from Canon UK, plus the commission to produce a campaign film for Great British Refurb partner WWF-UK. 

Great British RefurbKnauf Insulation and the Great British Refurb

Knauf Insulation is the campaign sponsor and leading delivery partner of the Great British Refurb, and has provided all the insulation products used in the campaign’s eco-refurbs, including Rebecca’s house in Manchester, and the ‘Home of the Future’ competition winners’ home.

Fronted by Kevin McCloud from "Grand Designs", the Great British Refurb campaign is all about making it easier, more affordable and more attractive for everyone in the UK to transform their home into a SuperHome - one that is cheaper to run, more comfortable to live in and that produces far less carbon emissions.

You can find out more about Knauf Insulation's work with the Great British Refurb campaign below:

MumsnetSave the date!

Knauf Insulation and the Great British Refurb campaign have partnered with the UK's leading parenting website, Mumsnet, to bring readers a live and exclusive web chat with campaign ambassador Kevin McCloud.

The chat will begin at 1pm on Monday 20th June and Kevin will be answering questions about sustainable building and eco home design as well as how you can green-up your home to save energy and money. He will also be chatting about his life as a campaigner, designer and broadcaster.

ParliamentBuilding the House at Parliament

To spread the word about the need for eco-refurb to the UK's homes, at Government level, Great British Refurb campaign ambassador Kevin McCloud, constructed 'The House that Kevin built' in the gardens of the Houses of Parliament. Loads of MPs and media turned up to help insulate the house as well as all three main political party spokespeople on this issue.

Webinar with Greg Barker MPWebinar with Greg Barker MP

Last Autumn, Great British Refurb front man Kevin McCloud took on the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker MP, in a webinar on some of the most pressing issues on today's green agenda.

Demand a Better BillDemand a Better Bill

The Government's Energy Bill will become law by July 2011 and it needs improving before then. Help us to demand a better Energy Bill by supporting the Warm Homes Amendment. This will make sure the Government delivers an energy efficiency programme that will cut carbon in line with the Climate Act targets whilst helping to tackle fuel poverty.

Read more about how to sign up here

Guest blog post from Simon McWhirter, Director, Great British Refurb Project

And recently, Simon McWhirter, Director if the Great British Refurb campaign, and his team paid a visit to our Cwmbran galss mineral wool plant. Here is what Simon thought about their day there...


Some would say it pales in comparison to recent government revelations about civil servants getting sent on chocolate-making jollies, but last month the Great British Refurb team got to visit our sponsor Knauf Insulation's mammoth factory at Cwmbran, South Wales.

Aerial photo of CwmbranBeing a bit of a geek I knew I'd enjoy it but it was seriously impressive. As one would predict a load of materials were injected in one end of the factory in their raw form (crushed recycled glass, sand and a few secret ingredients) and pulsed off the other end  in the neat plastic-wrapped rolls that we've all seen in our local DIY stores. But the scale, speed and intensity of the process was inspiring and provided a real sense check on the level of current UK activity around energy efficiency.

Our tour, ably led by the Ukranian-born plant manager Oleksandr (goes by Alex), took us through the string of interconnected buildings that house this glass-to-insulation manufacturing process. The starting materials, which currently contain around 60% recycled household and industrial glass,  are all spliced together and forced into a huge furnace, where they roll around, quickly melting in the hot cauldron.

Out the back end of the furnace the molten stream of glass flows – at high temperatures - through a series of spinning discs rotating at high speeds which centrifugally toss the mixture to form fibres with new bio-based binder ECOSE® Technology. Knauf Insulation has recently revamped the composition of its binders, which (industry-wide) used to have phenols and formaldehyde that were necessary to the process. Now these have been completely replaced by Knauf Insulation’s unique and more sustainable ECOSE Technology process. [FYI – this isn’t just sponsor flattery!]

It wasn't just in this binder end of the process where they are tinkering with processes and efficiencies. Massive efforts are underway (continually) to reduce waste, water use (they are beginning to integrate site-harvested rainwater to use in their processes) and materials right up and down the line.

I had a bizarre flashback at this stage to my village fair this summer as the now cooling glass was distinctly candy floss-like. We were reliably informed by the team of guys working in the Knauf War Room (my name, not theirs, but see later for further James Bond parallels), that the standard thickness of the individual fibres at this stage was 6.1 microns wide - if you are one for random statistical comparisons, you'll be delighted to know that if just one square metre of their standard loft insulation was strung out into a single fibre, it would stretch round the world 5 times – that is, cue drum roll, around 124,500 miles.

When we next see the product on the conveyor belt, the candy floss has somewhat morphed into cotton wool, in which form it is tossed into the next oven which cures the bio-based binder. This effectively gives the product rigidity (polymerises it, for the detail people out there), and gives the insulation its distinctive natural brown looking colour. It then goes through a series of Heath Robinson classics; it is flattened,  the edges are trimmed with huge circular saw blades (sucking the off-cuts up through mega-vacuums which spit it back into the system upstream to be reintegrated)and then finally a huge, jagged-toothed blade swiftly descends like some weapon employed by a despotic Bond villain (Statto: it happens in the 007 book Nobody Lives Forever, which never made it to film). In fact, it does, this having been my first time in a large scale factory,  all feel rather James Bond - glasses on, ear plugs in, see our secret weapon, but no pictures in this bit of the factory...!

After that there was nothing more to do to the insulation than roll it up, wrap it up, compress (to maximise the number of rolls on each pallet), stack it up and load it onto lorries for distribution. They were popping off the assembly line at a fast rate, and it was here that the scale and impact of what we were looking at was driven home.

These rolls are flinging themselves off the conveyor belt at this furious speed, 24/7, 365 days a year (the plant can never be turned off or the cooling materials would solidify, destroying the £10 million furnace: in fact, the furnaces basically burn themselves out after ten years of this continuous use, and then another one has to be built in its place). And this is only one of the production lines (of which there are several) in just one of Knauf Insulation's UK factories (of which there are also several). In fact Knauf Insulation alone produces half a million tonnes of insulation every year – a quantity so huge that it would be impossible to achieve the same volumes from sources such as sheep!  Add its competitors into the mix and the amount of insulation rolling off production lines across the UK every hour/day/year is staggering.

Then consider that we think we need to massively increase the rate of production and installation of insulation and wider energy efficiency materials in our homes across the UK.   And do so within pretty tight deadlines.This is all eminently possible, but there is no doubting the challenge is huge and the time for vacillation is over.