Awwwards

Eco FriendlyThe Pod is incredibly eco friendly. Unsure? Read on to find out...

The POD was originally designed back in 2004 as a ‘carte blanche’ experiment in form and function. Ian Bone of Newfound Leisure Lodges UK were looking to create a micro-lodge - a sort of affordable half way house between tent camping and a traditional wooden cabin, hopefully providing the best of both worlds. In terms of size it needed to be optimised to allow a tall person to stand up and comfortably move around while having enough floor space to sleep 4 persons. You then build on the practical detail like adding a porch to provide some protection of the doorway area and aesthetic detail like the jaw bones or rib shape of the facia boards – the natural curved arch shape is developed from a pure mathematical formula.

Production of the POD only commenced in late autumn 2007 after the Lake District National Park Authority were persuaded by the amenity provided by the POD and approved a development of 10 on a site in Eskdale. On the bottom line Ian has produced an iconic design that is fit for purpose, pleasing to the eye, will sit beautifully into most natural landscapes. In addition the Pod provides for an enjoyable ‘close to nature’ experience and contribute to the development of sustainable tourism.

Construction

The standard Pod is built onto a frame comprising 150 x 50 treated softwood joists which are further protected by the application of two coats of Sadolin water based preservative stain. A layer of 12mm phenolic faced birch plywood provides as a serviceable and durable floor panel. The wall panels comprise a treated softwood framework clad with an ex.125 x 19 weatherboard externally and ex.125 x 25 T&G internally. Insulation of the panel cavity is provided by sheep wool insulation manufactured by Second Nature of Penrith, Cumbria.

Production of the POD only commenced in late autumn 2007 after the Lake District National Park Authority were persuaded by the amenity provided by the POD and approved a development of 10 on a site in Eskdale. On the bottom line Ian has produced an iconic design that is fit for purpose, pleasing to the eye, will sit beautifully into most natural landscapes. In addition the Pod provides for an enjoyable ‘close to nature’ experience and contribute to the development of sustainable tourism.

The roof structure is boarded with ex.125 x 25 T&G which is stiffened by 150 x 50 eaves boards and a 100 x 50 ridge. The barrel of the Pod is covered with a product called Breather-foil which has a number of beneficial characteristics: The contact face is dimpled allowing the timber to ‘breath’. It acts as a remarkably effective thermal insulation. The external face has a chromed foil finish which helps moderate the temperature of the living compartment and prevent overheating in hot weather. The layer will shed any water if condensation forms on the back of the tiles thus providing protection to the timber structure. Counter battens, laminated from strips of 5mm timber are glued and fixed externally to the breather layer to act as structural bands (ribs) and to support the 38 x 19 treated sawn softwood tile battens.

The roof cladding is a specialist lightweight system produced by Decra Roofing Systems called Oberon. The product was chosen for its unique aesthetics and ability to conform to the roof shape – it looks like a ‘turf’ or shingle roof but has a number of other advantages: It is very light weight, reducing transport costs and consumed resources. The granular coating is not only durable but helps significantly to cut the noise of rain on the roof. The fixing system provides for ‘hurricane proof’ performance. Decra state that the tiles are manufactured using approx. 25% recycled steel. Quality manufacture is backed by a 40 year product warranty. The flexibility of the roof system and the ergonomic Pod design mean very little waste is created (the small amount of waste created is recycled).

The doors and window have redwood / yellow pine timber frames and toughened glass double glazing. The latter is to address health a safety issues, conserve heat and to minimise the nuisance and detrimental effects of condensation. The ‘feature’ facia ribs are crafted from sections of 200 x 50 redwood scarf jointed and dowelled together to provide an aesthetically pleasing closure to the roof edges. The ribs are fixed to the roof structure with small galvanised brackets and an Exitex sealant joint is applied to provide a flexible watertight joint between the ribs and the roof tiles.

The Pod can be supplied with an optional decking panel to add amenity and to assist with keeping the Pod interior clean and dry when in use. This is a simple framework of 75 x 50 vacuum treated timbers clad with 150 x 32 vacuum treated timber decking boards.

Typical treatment of timbers

Base frame, Ribs, Door Frames and Casements are treated with Sadolin Water based preservative stains from the Quick Drying & Superdec ranges.

Redwood components and moulded boards are treated with Osmo products which are effectively wax/oil preparations using a penetrative vegetable oil base. These are premium, environmentally friendly products produced in Germany. To ensure product integrity, all the redwood components need to be aesthetically pleasing and display a minimum of growth and production defects.

In consequence we use a mix of unsorted and 5ths grade, slow grown stock from FSC sources in northern Europe. It is fundamental to our design ethos that the POD achieves a very long service life - always assuming adequate maintenance by the owner, the use of quality materials will avoid the Pod falling in to premature disuse i.e. they will look and perform better for longer.

The Pods are moved to sites using road transport with up to three units per load. There will be variations but the best way of setting up the Pod is onto 2 recycled railway sleepers set directly onto levelled ground. The deck can be supported on bricks or treated timber off-cuts.

The Irish Pod is manufactured by Cisco Woodframe Homes Ltd on a site in Lixnaw, Co. Kerry. They occupy two modern work spaces /buildings and have created locally desirable skilled rural employment. They use a minimum of energy - the workspace is in effect an unheated but covered building site. They produce very little waste: All bought in timber sizes are optimised to prevent waste – off-cuts and any damaged / defective timbers are collected to provide firewood for home heating.

What Footprint?

As previously stated I would expect every Pod to return a very long service life, however it is worth noting that at the end of that life virtually all the component parts can be recycled or reused. It is likely that the user groups attracted to the Pod may well be looking at ways of changing their leisure time habits without becoming too exposed to the elements e.g. the increasing fuel costs involved with dragging a touring caravan around the country may persuade some people to travel light and use Pods instead.

The increase in environmental awareness and desire to subscribe to the virtues of sustainable tourism make the Pod ideal accommodation for people (especially those with young families) who have chosen to holiday on foot or by cycling.