In the next episode of Grand Designs, Andrew and Margretta aim to create a self heating earth house - the first of its kind in the UK. 

Kevin with Andrew & Margretta at the Bletchley self heating House - grand designs

Image: Channel 4

The fourth episode in 2021's series of Grand Designs sees Kevin McCloud meet Andrew and Margretta, a couple who plan to build a self heating house that stores up heat in the summer to heat the home throughout winter.

While Andrew and Margretta moved to Buckinghamshire a decade ago after his parents passed away, a self build project in the area has always been the plan. It took the couple three years to get planning permission – not because of the experimental nature or modern appearance of the build, but because it’s located outside the village’s designated building boundary. 


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Inter-seasonal heat storage

outside view of bletchley self heating house - grand designs tv house 

Image: Jefferson Smith

Andrew has a PhD in low-energy systems and was keen to build a house using an innovative and experimental self heating system. The house is built into an earth bank which, during the summertime, soaks up enough heat to raise the internal temperature of the home through the winter. 

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The long game

 front view of self heating self build in bletchley - grand designs tv house

Image: Jefferson Smith

Planners approved the build in May of 2018, and the build got underway with Andrew taking on the role of project manager. However, with the complexity of the project causing difficulties with contractors and budget constraints, not to mention the onset pandemic, the build faced its fair share of challenges.  

The house also remains somewhat of an experiment, which Andrew admits will need a couple of years to establish for the self heating element to fully heat the home during winter. With this in mind, will this innovative home pay dividends in the long run? 

Watch along, and let us know your thoughts on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

This episode first airs on Channel 4 at 9pm on Wednesday 27th January. You can find the full preview of this series of Grand Designs in the January issue to read online for free 

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