Sustainable Innovation Reigns at Grand Designs Live 2021

by Francesca

Grand Designs Live, proudly sponsored by Anglian Home Improvements, closed its doors on Sunday 10th October for the 15th edition of the Birmingham NEC event. Hosted by Grand Designs guru Kevin McCloud, the show was packed with a myriad of exciting brands, and an array of expert talks and demonstrations affording visitors the chance to discover new products and explore the latest technologies and designs across Build, Kitchens & Bathrooms, Gardens and Interiors.

This October’s event focused on pioneering products across the housing industry, in everything from building materials to interior furnishings with a highlight on sustainability alongside expert advice available on every area to do with home building.

Rob Nathan, Group Marketing Director for Grand Designs Live organisers, Media 10 said of the show; ‘After 2 years away from the NEC it’s fantastic to be back; to see tens of thousands visitors again, to see so many new products, as well as many highly-respected returning brands and to be able to see and support the fast-growing movement towards a more sustainable future in lifestyle and homes with an array of ‘green’ brands, eco-conscious products across the show and a real interest from our visitors  to learn about sustainability.’ 

Grand Designs Live’s Ask An Expert area, sponsored by Airflow, was as busy as ever, offering free advice and consultancy for visitors on everything from finance to interiors. Eco & Sustainability experts Alan Budden and Robert Tiffin were on hand to offer those looking to move towards a more sustainable future; with their time slots on the Ask An Expert feature fully booked.

Visitor favourite, Kevin’s Green Heroes, sponsored by Reynaers at Home, featured ground-breaking products hand-picked by Kevin McCloud. With 5 new Green Heroes and 6 returning brands, these inspiring products were put on show at the very heart of the exhibition, providing a platform for eco-conscious creators to present their latest innovations to the public. The returning Green Heroes were invited back to celebrate their successes since their initial feature at the show; these brands included Inno-THeRM, who produce thermal & acoustic insulation made from recycled denim and cotton, sustainable 100% recycled plastic furniture by ecoBirdy and GumDrop who recycle and process chewing gum. New ground-breaking products included natural lime-based paint which absorbs CO2 from Graphenstone, Hybrid Natural fibre-reinforced polymer bottles from Polywood and Elite Eco’s Rubber System Membrane, made from recycled rubber.

Green-focused brands at the show ranged from heating to flooring solutions and beyond for every home:

  • Reynaers supply aluminium windows and doors with a high recycled content and guaranteed quality, which can then be recycled at the end of their lives; using clever design and state of the art thermal breaks, Reynaers products also ensure more efficient glazing and lower energy bills for homeowners.
  • Jigsaw Infra-Red offer electromagnetic radiant heating solutions for the home, providing a more efficient option than traditional convection heating, as well as a significant reduction in energy wastage, Jigsaw’s Infra-Red heating is emissions free and the prefect partner to solar power.
  • Airflow’s Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery systems allow homes to achieve Passive House standards, reducing energy usage, waste and costs.
  • Myenergi supply tens of thousands of homes with renewable energy products and smart devices allowing consumers to control the energy flow of their home, support the National Grid and Micro-generate surplus energy for use in the home, reducing energy bills and wastage.
  • Eco Flooring creates and designs beautiful floors from salvaged high quality, solid wood flooring that would otherwise be thrown away, an exceptional product with a true eco-conscious purpose.

Design guru and host of the TV Show, Grand Designs, Kevin McCloud commented; ‘It’s been great to be back at Grand Designs Live, and I’ve been particularly delighted to see the turnout and interest in the Grand Theatre talks relating to sustainability in the home. Grand Designs Live continues to be one of the foremost showcases for green construction and design, a celebration of all things well-made and, of course, a great day out where inspiration abounds.’

The Grand Theatre, sponsored by ABC Warranty, saw talks, seminars, panel discussions and advice from experts in renovation and self-build from designers and home-owners who have refurbished homes, constructed exceptional new builds and designed stunning gardens or interiors. Renewable and green energy took a front seat in the Grand Theatre with talks including ‘Making The Switch’, ‘My Beautiful Green Home’ and ‘Renewable Energy & Architectural Integration’ where visitors heard from the experts about generating, storing and using green electricity to reduce bills, save money and move towards a sustainable future, as well as how we can all introduce more ‘green’ elements into in home design.

In addition, Kevin McCloud was joined onstage by Grand Designers from past series of the TV show as they discussed the hardships, difficulties, and successes that their ambitious self-build projects posed; fresh from the launch of Channel 4’s new DIY TV Show, the Tool Club Bus stars Jess Grizzle and Max McMurdo who took to the stage at Grand Designs Live to show visitors how to design, make, fix and upcycle a range of home and lifestyle elements.

New to Birmingham for 2021 was the The Great British Box Room Competition, sponsored by Crown Paints which saw a series of 6 installations, each designed by a different pioneering interior stylists. With the aim to produce a celebration of unique small spaces in the home, the unique designs included a musically-inspired lounge room, a dressing and relaxation room, a family-friendly library, and more.

The panel of expert judges included Kevin McCloud, Karen Stylianides; Editor of Grand Designs Magazine, Crown Paints Colour Expert, TV Presenter and Interior Designer; Chrissi Baldwin and Lindsey Rendall, Creative Director at Award-Winning Interior Design Consultancy Rendall & Wright. Alison Simandl’s was named the overall winner with her luxurious and multi-functional box room.

Grand Designs Live will return to London’s ExCeL from 30 April – 8 May 2022

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