Do try this at home (Sunday Times, July 2010)

John Christophers is a man with an admirable goal: “I wanted to show that being green can be fun,” says the award-winning architect, whose Birmingham eco home has impressed both his profession and his neighbours. “Architecture can be serious, but I wanted this house to feel playful. We’ve got to stop people glazing over when we talk about saving energy.”

Christophers, 50, also wanted to create a home that generates more energy than it uses, and prove you can retrofit a draughty period house to zero-carbon level. Both of these challenges now have a fat tick against them. He, his wife, Jo, 45, a midwife, and their son, Theo, 5, moved into the house in edgy Balsall Heath just before Christmas.

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