Grand Designs Live, 5th-13th May 2012, London ExCel

The Real Refurbs exhibition is currently showing as part of the the Sustainable Building Techiques area of Grand Designs Live 2012.

Real Refurbs has organised this section of the show on behalf of LILI (Low Impact Living Initiative), by invitation of the Grand Designs team.  Our area brings together over 10 different practising, experienced UK natural builders. This will be our third showing at the event, and each time we’ve all had fantastically positive feedback so if you’d like to know more about any of the following, please come along & find us all:

low impact living – a large selection of LILI’s free 170 factsheets on display

hempcrete building – new build, restoration and retrofit insulation

lime & clay plastering – new build, restoration and retrofit

timber framing & shingle making

straw bale building – domestic, commercial and retrofit

cob building – education, roundhouses and homes

retrofit for solid wall properties (eg terraces)

Full details of contributors can be found on the LILI website here.

‘The Generation Game’, Sat 17th March, 11-2pm

‘The Generation Game’, the final event in the Real Refurbs ‘Retrofit’ series, takes place on Sat 17th March at Create, 11-2pm as part of Bristol Green Doors ‘Open Homes’ weekend.

Set within a life-size terrace house set, this event will focus on renewable sources of energy, following on from all the energy reduction measures already covered.

The Bristol online ‘solar potential’ map is live in the exhibition, so you can check the solar potential of your property on the day and discuss possibilities.  There will also be a chance to recap on retrofit planning, essential repairs & maintenance, draughproofing, insulation and ventilation.

Information will be provided free by a group of Bristol specialists, including Real Refurbs, Firebox Stoves, 1 World Solar and Ethical Solar, and the Create eco house volunteers will also be on hand for tours and chat.


Maps of the houses taking part in the ‘Open Doors’ weekend will be available, so if you want to you can move on to visit specific installations by the participating partners following this event.

With our thanks to Bedminster Energy Group for funding and support for the Retrofit events at Create.

Grand Designs Live

Real Refurbs is our joint project with LILI (Low Impact Living Initiative), providing information & training (due 2012) for DIY refurbishment and retrofit projects.

Find out more at the Real Refurbs website – – including details of our events through 2012:

  • “Retrofit” – live exhibition at Create in Bristol, Jan 14- Mar 28
  • Sustainable Building Techniques at GRAND DESIGNS LIVE, London Excel May4-13 & Birmingham NEC Oct dates TBC
  • “Big Green Week” Bristol, June 9-17 Venue TBC

May (London Excel), Oct (Birmingham NEC)

Come & chat to us at Grand Designs Live where we organise & host the Sustainable Building Techniques Area with LILI (, the original & the best non-profit organisation teaching real practical skills for true sustainability.

Click logos for list of contributors & full programme to help plan your visit

We bring together an incredible selection of natural and retrofit experts to offer a full programme of talks, demonstrations & workshops covering everything from hempcrete building to combining wood burning stoves with solar hot water systems.

See you there …

Real Refurb & Bristol Green Doors

With the arrival of Real Refurb’s “Retrofit” exhibition at the Create centre this month, we have teamed up with Bristol Green Doors to provide our retrofit factsheet information for their website.

Bristol Green Doors is a great local organisation that made an immediate positive impression with its first ‘open homes’ weekend back in Sept 2010, enabling people to talk to, and listen to, the experiences and results from homeowners & their builders about various refurbishment projects they have undertaken to make their homes warmer, healthier & more efficient.  It has since gone on to hold two well-attended tecnology-focussed events, ‘Insulation Celebration’ and ‘Solar Saturday’, and is busy putting the finishing touches to their first ‘open homes’ weekend of 2012.

We already have a “Retrofit” Factsheet, (an overview of the whole), and an “Insulation” Factsheet, with the “Repairs & Maintenance” Factsheet in production this week, and further Factsheets due weekly throughout the exhibition.

We will continue to find ways to collaborate further with Bristol Green Doors and other local businesses and organisations in order to provide comprehensive information, training, materials and installation services to enable householders to undertake successful retrofits that improve both their building and their comfort levels in their home.  If you are interested in coming on board, please contact us.

Real Refurb’s live exhibition “Retrofit” launches at CREATE

Jan 21st 2012

Today saw the launch of Real Refurb’s live exhibition, “Retrofit”, at CREATE.  This will run over the next 3 months, with step-by-step measures being shown live at key events over that time.

Based within our studio set of a Victorian terrace, today’s event launched  “Fabric First” – Phase One of a Real Refurb where the key word is ‘Repair’.  Throughout the day we had approx. 50 visitors, who all learnt more about the importance of repairs and regular maintenance, and their role in a retrofit plan.  We also touched on many other aspects of retrofitting, from planning to engaging specialists and identifying appropriate solutions, subjects which the exhibition aims to cover step-by-step over the next three months.

The most frequent topics of discussion on the day were:

- preventing / managing condensation & heat loss associated with single glazed sash windows

- clarification of the differences between natural paints and so-called ‘eco’ paints

- what exactly ‘hempcrete’ is & where it can fit in to the retrofit story