Green Living Live

Green Living Live: 7 great talks by eco experts

Head to the Sustainable Future Theatre for advice on all things eco-friendly

By Victoria Purcell |

Green Living Live returns to ExCel London from 29 April to 7 May 2023. The event is dedicated to showcasing innovative eco-friendly products and services from sustainability conscious companies. Plus, all visitors gain entry to Grand Designs Live, which runs concurrently. 

A highlight of the event is the Sustainable Future Theatre, sponsored by OVO Energy. Devoted to issues surrounding low-impact self-build, renovation and retrofit projects, the theatre hosts talks and panel discussions on topics such as solving the energy crisis, achieving a net zero household and biophilic design.

The fantastic line-up of speakers includes Kevin McCloud, designer and upcycler Max McMurdo, and architect and Grand Designer Richard Hawkes. Here are seven talks you won’t want to miss. 

1. Kevin McCloud meets the Green Grads

29 April 2023, 12pm-12.45pm

Green Grads, founded by award-winning design journalist Barbara Chandler, champions graduates with ideas to help avert the climate crises. In this talk, Kevin McCloud discusses innovative ideas with their founders, including Luisa Charles, inventor of Float, a DIY robot for testing wetlands worldwide; Libby Challoner, who created a seaweed-based biomaterial; and Esme MacGregor, who creates ceramics from waste. Design historian Michael Czerwinski chairs.


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2. Cost or carbon? How can we get the balance right?

29 April 2023, 3pm-3.45pm

Architect Richard Hawkes is joined by Kevin McCloud and Russell Smith of housing data analysts Parity Projects to discuss ways of improving existing housing stock in the race to net zero. As homeowners become more concerned with cost and carbon, the panel discusses whether the desire to be more energy-efficient has changed the decision-making process. Stay on for the following talk at 4pm, which takes a close look at two notable Passivhaus-standard retrofit projects.

Richard Hawkes' Clay Arch house from Grand Designs

Richard Hawkes’ eco arch home featured on Grand Designs. Photo: Jefferson Smith

3. Hydroponic growing systems with Max McMurdo and Ikea

30 April 2023, 11am-11.45
7 May 2023, 11am-11.45

Hydroponics, the science of growing plants in water, rather than soil, requires a little work, but the benefits are worth it. Growing plants hydroponically results in faster growth rates and bigger yields. In this session with Max McMurdo, supported by Ikea’s Live Lagom programme, you’ll learn how to grow your own hydroponic herb garden.


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4. Eco and sustainable dwellings

2 May 2023, 2pm-2.45pm

Mary Riley of Mary Riley Solutions and her panel of experts – including Tracy-Ann Ratcliffe of Hanley Economic Building Society and Passivhaus consultant Joe Stuart – discuss various aspects of lending on sustainable homes. The panel will answer questions including, Can I access finance to build tomorrow’s home today?’, as well as a discussion on Modern Methods of Construction. 

Photo: Media10

Photo: Media10

5. Saving energy with smart systems

3 May 2023, 2pm-2.45pm

Smart home systems can help you save on your energy bills, but how? In this talk by Brian Horne and Ben Whittle from the Energy Saving Trust, discover how smart control and flexible operation can optimise costs and save carbon. 

6. EnerPHit and lighting renovation in historic buildings

4 May 2023, 2pm-2.45pm

Renovating a historic 1960s Michael Blackstock building proved a challenge for architect and Passivhaus expert Richard Dudzicki and lighting designer Marcus Steffen. Here, the duo discusses the complexity of achieving EnerPHit status in historic buildings while increasing natural daylight and saving on heating bills.

7. Biophilic design – the healthy home

6 May 2023, 1pm-1.45pm
7 May 2023, 1pm-1.45pm

Biophilia translates as ‘a love of nature’. Humans have an innate connection with the natural world and a connection with natural environments have been scientifically proven to improve health and wellbeing. Biophilic interior designer Petina Julius, and architectural designer and Passivhaus consultant Joe Stuart, will explore the principles that stimulate positive connections within our interior spaces.

Biophilic design expert Oliver Heath will also be giving talks on 3 May at 11am and 3pm.