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On any of these homes solar systems would work well in the UK (Rajat Gupta). 44 Ecohouse: A Design Guide inadequate buildings. In the European heatwave of 2003, 15 000 people died of heat in France alone – 35 per cent of them at home. So your ecohouse design needs to be not just comfortable to live in but it has to remain habitable and safe despite the worst predictions for climate change. The future of the people who live in the house may depend on whether it stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter and to what extent it can do so without ‘outside help’ in the form of energy from the gas main or the electricity grid.

The traditional Nam house of Latvia. The Nam is the central masonry room with the kitchen fire and chimney around which are located A, the hall; B, the small chamber; C, the master chamber; and D, the communal and servants room. The outer walls of the house are made of horizontal untrimmed logs (after a drawing by Guntis Plesums in Oliver, 1997, Vol. 2, p. 1263). THE BUILDING AS A ROMAN BATH HOUSE In Roman bath houses the floors were warmed by an under-floor heating system called a hypocaust. A fire would be lit under the great basins used to heat the water for the hot baths and the excess heat from the fire would be ducted under solid floors to heat the bath house itself.

TRANSPORTATION AND EMBODIED ENERGY Transportation can be a significant factor affecting embodied energy. The further a material has to travel, the greater the energy that is used in its transport. The The environmental impact of building materials 55 weight of a material will also affect the energy needed to move it. Some natural products may have travelled great distances, for example polished granite from overseas quarries, the finishing of which may even take place in a second country before delivery to the final point of sale.

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