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The home of a Sheffield Hallam University lecturer is in the running to be named the UK's best eco property.

Marsh House in Nottingham, owned and built by Sheffield Hallam's professor of architecture, Julian Marsh, has been announced as one of The Guardian's top 10 eco homes in the country and a public vote will now determine which property takes the overall award.

Constructed from environmentally-friendly insulation, clay plaster and certifiably sustainable timber, the property has already been recognised by the Civic Trust and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and is built around a courtyard that is filled with home-grown fruit and veg. Translucent walls and white floors reduce the need for lighting whilst rainwater is gathered in an underfloor cistern and redeployed for washing.

Julian and his wife, Judy lived in a nearby terrace during the build which began in 2006 and they moved into the property in 2009, with the build completing a year later. The response from neighbours has been positive, with one moving in just to be close to the house.

"In building it, we built up against the adjacent uninsulated houses to cut their energy bills, saving eight tons of CO2 per year," said Julian whose company, Marsh:Grochowski Architects is now building two estates of low energy houses nearby.

The couple have lived without a fridge freezer for four and a half years. Instead, food is preserved in a cool, ventilated larder.

External shot of Marsh House
Living space forms the inner layer of the home, protected by an outer layer of passages and stairs which act as a climate buffer, trapping the warmth of the sun.
Outer layer passage

Click to view the images

"The only problem we have is keeping milk cool in the summer," said Julian. "We just use old-fashioned terracotta evaporating jars instead.

"It’s great to be shortlisted because it means the experts are recognising the significance of the house."

Voting for the best eco home takes place between 22-24 April 2014. Click here to vote and for more information.

For press information: contact Sarah Duce in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email