says Kevin McCloud
The Grand Designs presenter, who will return for the 23rd series, describes his role as similar to that of a therapist
By Anita Singh, ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
If your strategies for coping with the summer heatwave have failed to keep you cool, try mopping the floor.
Kevin McCloud, the presenter of Grand Designs, has suggested a mop and bucket as an alternative to air conditioning and a cost-effective way to keep temperatures down.
“Mop your floors in the morning but don’t mop the water off, just leave it there to evaporate,” said McCloud, who said this was the reason that “little old Italian men” put water on the pavement outside their village homes.
“They’re not doing it to keep clean. The water evaporates; to do so it draws energy from its immediate environment. So, sun heats water, water evaporates off, stone becomes cool. Air passing over stone into house becomes cool,” he explained.
“Or go and sit under a tree – because the water is evaporating off the leaves you get evaporative cooling.
“This is basic physics, it’s exactly the same physics of evaporative cooling in air conditioning. You can put your hand in your pocket and pay £3,000 or you can let nature help,” he told Radio Times.
The homes featured on Grand Designs often feature acres of glazing, but McCloud insisted that did not make for sweltering conditions.
“Go to Morocco or any hot climate in the world, and there are plenty of buildings with glazing. It’s not the glass that’s the issue. It’s the shading that we need to be providing,” he said.
“Go and buy a gazebo from B&Q, stick it outside your big glass wall, and you’ve sorted the problem.”
‘I’m not complicit with the people on my show’
In the interview, McCloud also reflected on his role in Grand Designs, which is returning for a 23rd series on Channel 4.
“I see my role as like that of a therapist. I’m not complicit with these people. I’m not egging them on,” he said.
McCloud added that his show has integrity, unlike the makeover programmes which fill the schedules.
“Makeover is my worst kind of television,” he said. “Whatever’s happening in front of the camera is being orchestrated by the team who are making the programme, [and] by the presenter, who might or might not be a designer.
“So the viewer is being sold an idea as hard as the victims on the television are.” On Grand Designs, he explained, the message to viewers is: “It’s ok … you’re not mad, they are.”
McCloud said he kept an emotional distance from the couples featured on the show – except in one case.
Edward Short was left with £7 million worth of debt after building a lighthouse-inspired home on the north Devon coast complete with infinity pool and helipad. The glazing alone cost £300,000.
Edward Short and the house which he said cost him his marriage and family
Edward Short and the house which he said cost him his marriage and family CREDIT: Jay Williams
In what some viewers called “the saddest ever” episode of the show, originally broadcast in 2019, the stress and spiralling costs led to the collapse of Short’s marriage.
Short told The Telegraph last year: “If I had any idea of what it would cost the marriage and my family, I wouldn’t have done it. I had started it; it’s not easy to back out.”
McCloud said the project was vainglorious but added: “I’ve always been utterly in admiration of somebody who is prepared to admit, with such humility, their failings, in front of three-and-a-half million strangers.
“I’ve become very emotionally bound up with it. You can’t not, can you?”
The new series will catch up with Short, although his former wife declined to appear.
That episode will be shown later in the run. The series begins with a couple who appoint a Swedish architect to build a cantilevered mansion in a Manchester suburb, with mixed results.