Saturday, February 28, 2015

REVIEW - The Greener Homes & Building Show 2006

The Greener Homes & Building Show 2006

Dr. Larch Juckes Maxey of Sundance shares his alternative fuel wisdom...

May 20 & 21 - Royal Welsh Showground, Bulith Wells, Powys

Getting there was half the fun. And quite the adventure. Bulith Wells is in the heart of some gorgeous Welsh countryside, and as the crow flies seemingly not to far from our Ross-on-Wye base. But as the Volvo meanders, it did take some reaching, along with a certain amount of motion-related issues from the kids in the back. For this was a weekend event, and where Dad goes, so must the whole tribe.

At first I thought I was in the wrong place (and have the brochure to prove it), because as we entered we found ourselves slap-bang in the middle of a vast and sprawling agricultural show - the 2006 Royal Welsh Smallholder & Garden Festival - of which the one I had come to review was a small part.

But everything is relative, and the Green Homes and Building Show occupied a fair sized space in an indoor hall, around which I spent a most worthwhile period whilst the family enjoyed the various flora and fauna elsewhere outside.

A window on what's available in the world of greener homes...

Set around a central area set aside for seminars and demonstrations there were about 50 stands, in a more freeform arrangement than the more traditional trade show. There was a lot of free space, which in one way was nice, but I could have hoped for more, and perhaps more variety. It certainly left me kicking myself that there was not a stand, as the rates were very reasonable. And remember we're still sore from our outing to the Ideal Home and the recently cancelled MAD* shows.

Of course, thanks to its location, there were not as many visitors as at a major London or NEC event, but by golly there were a lot of folk, showing how hungry for such things people are.

The exhibitors covered a fairly broad range, from the hi-tech to the crafty. Other than admiring the quality and styles, I must confess to being less than interested in high-cost construction stuff, of which there were a fair number. Where I did get interested was with the alternative energy sources, such as solar and heat pumps. The thing to bear in mind is that these guys are there to sell, and it is always best to get a spread of advice and quotes before rushing in. There were also some fun, and highly topical, stands, with one favourite being 50 Cycles, which is an electric bike. One of these recently won a hill-climb event I blogged on recently, and I was impressed at the endurance and performance figures.

As it was a relatively short visit (and frankly the show stands really only could sustain a few hours tops), I sadly missed a few very worthwhile seminars over the two days, but did catch one on Biodiesel which was well worthwhile.

Was it worth it? At about an hour plus from us, I'd say very much so. A bit of a trek otherwise. But don't forget that by being part of a bigger family-friendly event it is actually a great day out all round. And professionally I met a few potential gurus for's category sections.

And I'm very encouraged by the interest being shown by the general public in such issues and those offering solutions.

A showcase that's catching a lot of attention!

Review by Peter Martin, Junkk Male

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