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business in the community
19 March 2024
Green Economy

Architect From Newport is Following Passion for Sustainability with Eco Shepherd Hut Business

An architect from Newport has started an eco-hut business, creating sustainable places and spaces for a variety of purposes following a Start Up Loan from the British Business Bank.

Spence Gadsby, 31, founder of Tŷ Green, is hand building shepherd huts, office pods and garden rooms to provide long-lasting, alternative spaces crafted from sustainably sourced, natural materials.

After qualifying as an architect three years ago, combined with his life-long experience working on building sites with his dad and on carpentry projects recycling wooden pallets and scaffold boards, Spence was experienced enough to establish a business designing and building the huts himself.

Completing a course at the world-renowned Centre for Alternative Technology in mid-Wales, Spence learnt more about the importance of sustainable building methods. It was here where his passion for the environment and sustainability grew.

Through careful research, Spence has been able to make sure all materials are natural and locally sourced, using UK grown cedar wood cladding supplied by Newport-based Mon Timbre, chemical free Welsh sheep wool supplied by Brecon-based Tŷ-Mawr for the insulation, and the windows and doors made in Newport by local companies Timbek and Evaframe.

Spence said:

“Aside from my experience and qualifications as an architect, I’ve always had an interest in carpentry and woodwork, pairing that with my passion to live an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle, my business really allows me to combine all of my skills and knowledge.

“The idea for Tŷ Green came to me in a lightbulb moment when I stayed on a caravan site with some friends, I was really surprised by the poor design and construction, with the majority of materials made from plastic. It got me thinking that a similar construction made from a timber frame would be much better quality and at a fraction of the price. Everything clicked when I saw an advert for a shepherd hut a few days later and I realised this was a venture I could pursue.”

Applying for a £20,000 Start Up Loan at the end of 2022, Spence received the funds early last year which enabled him to put a downpayment on the workshop space and buy the initial materials needed to get started on the construction of the first eco hut.

The British Business Bank Start Up Loans programme provides government backed loans of up to £25,000 per individual, up to a maximum of £100,000 per business. In addition to finance, successful applicants receive free mentoring and access to resources 24/7.

Discussing his Start Up Loan, Spence said:

“The loan provided me with the means to get my business started, without that initial investment I wouldn’t have been able to get the workshop space to be able to start construction. The process with the British Business Bank was really straightforward and the criteria for applying for a loan was much easier than I’d thought.”

Spence has just completed his first office pod commission for SEO company, Varn Media Ltd, which is based in Bradford-on-Avon, alongside a shepherd hut which is almost complete.

Spence’s hope for the next year is to expand the business, hiring an extra pair of hands to accommodate working on multiple commissions at any one time.

With shepherd huts being a popular accommodation option for tourism providers, there’s future scope for Spence to team up with a glamping business to provide a whole spectrum of quirky places to stay.

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