Shropshire Star

Grand Designs star Kevin strips off to make point about energy bills

Television presenter Kevin McCloud stripped off six layers of clothing, and revealed he does star jumps to keep warm while filming on location.

Kevin McCloud at the Kevin's Green Heroes stand at Grand Designs, which includes the use of wool as a sustainable building material

McCloud tossed his clothing into the audience at the Birmingham's NEC as he told visitors to his Grand Designs Live show to wrap up warm and turn down their thermostats amid fears of soaring energy prices and a gas shortage.

McCloud, who was celebrating 25 years of presenting the Channel 4 series Grand Designs, said: "Most of the learning I’ve gained from filming for 25 years, which comes from standing outside in rain and snow and mud, is how to stay warm.

"A mug of tea helps keep your hands warm, but we’ve forgotten how to get dressed in the morning. We’re all wearing T-shirts made of plastic and turning our thermostats up. Layer up and do a bit of movement. I do star jumps when we’re filming.”

Kevin McCloud at Grand Designs Live

McCloud said the Grand Designs television series, which follows people who create their dream homes, said the show was dependent on “an invisible club of architectural nuts”.

He said his favourite projects were ones that featured interesting people and a good local pub.

“I hate mud. I really, really don’t like it," he said. "I spend my life standing in boots in mud.”

Ava Balcer shows off M B Woodcraft's phone-box style refrigerator

But he said it was the energy people put into their project, and the power of people to create things of beauty, that made it all worthwhile.

The show, which runs until Sunday, also saw McCloud lead a discussion about sustainability including co-director of Green Grads Michael Czerwinski and a selection of green living exhibitors who discussed personal ideology, government policy, consumer trends, and how sustainability in the construction and design industries was being interpreted and put into practice.

The show saw the return of Kevin’s Green Heroes, a selection of innovations in sustainable living chosen by McCloud himself.

Hazel Smith from Breeze House Design at Grand Designs Live.

They included the Aura light fitting made from mycelium - the root of a mushroom, which can be combined with hemp to create a compostable, carbon-neutral material - modular roof tiles made from coconut fibres, and a zero-waste air-purification system harnessing the power of plants.

“These products are the vanguard," said McCloud. "They set out the innovations and products of the future.”

Avril McClement of Lichfield-based Blackbrook Interiors and Garden shows off a camper-van style mini bar

Other exhibitors include Lichfield-based Blackbrook Interiors and Garden, which is showing off a camper-van style mini-bar,

McCloud also discussed ways to make it easier for people to build their own homes with MP Richard Bacon.

Mr Bacon said: “I’m trying to make it possible for everyone who wants to get a serviced plot of land to do so.

Lydia Deegan and Alex Bunn of Hydropool hot tubs

"There is the potential to transform how we do housing in this country. An entire generation has been cut out of the ability to build their own home. Serviced plots of land should be available to all.”

Hetal Pala from Kiasa, which makes infra-red heating panels that can be installed in pictures and mirrors
Katie O'Donnell of Ark Stained Glass at Grand Designs Live
Grand Designs Live runs at the NEC in Birmingham until Sunday
Nicole Douglas from Nautilus Steam Co shows of an industrial-themed dining table at Grand Designs Live
An unusual tent was on display at Grand Designs Live
Kevin McCloud and musicians James Owston, Dan Spirrett and Aidan Cope lead the opening of Grand Designs Live at the NEC
Charlotte Bowles and Molly Cosgrove check out the eye-catching deckchairs
Glen Spencer from Bamboo Connections inside a luxury garden seating area
Jason and Linda Outhwaite from Meadow Home & Garden at Grand Designs Live
Royan Laight from the Garden Furniture Centre with a distinctive drinks cooler
James Bass and Kian Crawford try out a mini golf green
Kevin Cox of Tint Town Playhomes
Kevin McCloud on-stage at Grand Designs Live
Jamie Anderson from Insul Hub with his 'Lego for adults'