Press release: Eco-homes – not just the privilege of the wealthy

A new research project spearheaded by the University of Leicester is set to influence the building of eco-homes in Britain.
Dr Jenny Pickerill, a Senior Lecturer from the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester, has been awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship ( to undertake an 8-week project to discover how to make affordable eco-homes a reality.
Dr Pickerill will be travelling to the USA, Argentina, Thailand and Spain to carry out research into the best and least expensive ways to build eco-homes.  The aim of the project is find out the best practice for building eco-homes, and bring the findings back to the UK to prompt the building of more British eco-homes.
For example, a project in New Mexico, has built numerous eco-homes very cheaply using natural materials found locally.  The techniques used to make the homes may appear basic, but actually provide for very comfortable, efficient and environmentally friendly housing.
Finding affordable ways to build eco-homes is of central importance to the project.  Dr Pickerill aims to ensure that environmentally friendly designs do not become the privilege of the wealthy, but can also be available to those on a lower income.
Dr Pickerill commented:
“There is a real danger that the rise in popularity of eco-homes will cause more inequality and heighten the rich-poor divide.  As environmental issues become more and more topical, we need to keep in mind the economic pressures people face.  In the rush to find environmental solutions, we shouldn’t forget social justice.”   
Dr Pickerill will begin her 8 week project on the 1st June 2010.
Notes to Editors
For more information about the project, please contact Dr Jenny Pickerill via email at or contact University of Leicester press office for her number 0116 252 2415 or email
About Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowships
The Travelling Fellowships are based on the Trust’s Object of: “The advancement and propagation of education in any part of the world for the benefit of British citizens of all walks of life in such exclusively charitable manner that such education will make its recipients more effective in their life and work, whilst benefiting themselves and their communities, and ultimately the UK as a whole”.
Each year approximately 100 Fellowships are awarded for a wide range of projects. Churchill Fellows can be of any age and in any occupation. Everyone has an equal chance; a lack of qualifications is not a bar to an award as every application is judged on the worth of the individual and the merit of the project. All British citizens resident in the UK are eligible for the annual awards.
Applicants must demonstrate that their project is feasible and worthwhile, and of real benefit to their community and to the UK on return. The Fellowships involve overseas travel for between 4 to 8 weeks, but can be longer, and all travelling and living expenses are covered by a grant.
Past award winners are people from all walks of life including nurses, artists, scientists, engineers, farmers, conservationists, carers, craft workers, artisans, members of the emergency services, sportsmen and women and young people.

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