Niche developers offer nil bill eco homes

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Energy saving technologies remain top of the wishlist of self builders, whose motivation for starting from scratch rather than buying a home is often related to the efficiency measures that can be included in a home design.

Certainly when it comes to buying properties off the peg, features such as air or ground source heat pumps, solar panels and insulation levels that go far beyond the minimum can be missing from the options available from the larger builders.

But there is a third way; some developments are offering highly energy efficient homes off the peg or built to the buyer’s spec rather than having to go it alone, and the rate at which these eco homes sell would suggest they are exactly what the top end of the market wants.

Mains of Mawcarse is located just a couple of miles from Kinross with panoramic views of the Loch Leven basin. Taking shape here is a small hamlet of 14 individually designed eco-homes by The Good House Company.

The properties at the new development incorporate cutting-edge, energy saving technologies – such as triple glazed windows that “lock in” heat and promote solar gain, and highly efficient air source heat pumps to reduce fuel bills dramatically for the buyer.

Previous boutique developments by the same company have proved popular, with residents reporting that the technology used has resulted in very low fuel payments – virtually making them so-called “nil bill” houses.

Mains of Mawcarse is on the market with Bell Ingram, with the range of three and four-bedroom properties priced from £375,000 to £559,000.

Eskgrove Homes is another Scottish company offering passive house standards, they have three live developments: Wadingburn on the edge of Loanhead where three plots are available; Pitlochry where there are seven plots and the company’s original site near Peebles in the Borders, at Cardrona.

Colin Cumberland of Eskgrove confirms that niche developers seem better able to deliver truly energy efficient houses. “Our homes, with all the heat recovery and insulation designed in converts to very low household bills. Recently one of our larger homes was given the estimation of its bill from Scottish Power – £165 for the year.”

But that isn’t the only reason buyers are turning to smaller developers.

Cumberland says: “We are interested in getting to know customers and understanding what they want. You don’t only get a much more efficient home, but a unique one.”

Mains of Mawcarse, Kinross: 14 bespoke eco homes with views of Loch Leven. The homes have triple glazed windows and highly efficient air source heat pumps and are priced at £375,000 to £559,000. Contact: Bell Ingram’s Perth office on 01738 621 121 for more information.

Eskgrove Homes have sites in in Cardrona, Wadingburn and Pitlochry and offer a range of size and styles, all highly energy efficient. Prices start from £239,000 for a two bedroom home, contact Eskgrove on 0131 220 5781.