Perth eco-house to make electricity bills history

An artist's impression of the patio area
An artist's impression of the patio area
Have your say

COUNCILLORS today gave the go-ahead for plans to build a self-sufficient eco-house In Perthshire which will make electricity bills a thing of the past.

• Innovative eco-house in Perthshire to offer a “glimpse of future”

• House will be completely off-grid, and will be constructed entirely of environmentally-friendly materials

Monica Griesbaum and Andrew Oldroyd were granted the go ahead for the construction of the sustainable home at Trinity Gask, near Auchterarder, by members Perth and Kinross Council’s development management committee.

The innovative home, designed by international eco-architect Kirsty Maguire, will be entirely off grid – with no need for mains electricity or for gas and oil. The groundbreaking five-bedroom home will use timber and other environmentally-friendly material, such as limecrete, in its construction and will be clad in Scottish larch boarding for a natural finish. The house will also be built on stilts, rather than a concrete platform.

Ms Maguire, a Dundee-based architect, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to show how we can cut waste and live more sustainably – it is a glimpse of the future.

“What we are creating is a large, comfortable and beautiful family home which needs the minimum of energy to keep it warm, light and bright even in a harsh Scottish winter.

“And all the power it does need will come from renewable sources generated or grown on site – electricity from a small wind turbine and from biofuels.”

She explained: “The house will hold the warmth so effectively that heating will only take the same energy as it needs to run a kettle and a toaster. The idea is to prove that energy-efficient and sustainable homes are the way ahead for cutting bills while still being able to live in houses that are spacious, airy and light – ideal for modern family life.“

Nick Brian, the council’s Development Quality Manager, told the committee: “The applicants are fully committed to achieving a sustainable lifestyle and they have a strong vision for this proposal for the erection of a low energy eco house and an associated land management strategy over seven hectares to provide for and realise sustainable living on the site and also to contribute positively to the environment and local biodiversity.

“The proposed house has been designed specifically and uniquely for this site and to meet the needs of a modern growing family as well as being detailed to achieve very low energy requirements.”

He continued: “The landscape strategy for the site includes two areas of land to grow biomass fuel with three hectares in oilseed rape to produce fuel oil and two hectares to grow short rotation coppice willow. A two hectare area of land will be set aside for environmental work to enhance the local ecosystem and promote habitat creation and greater species diversity.”

The application had attracted 13 objections, including an objection from the local Methven Community Council.

But Mr Brian told councillors: “It is considered that the principle of the development as a pilot project creating an eco-friendly environment is acceptable and in accordance with the council’s Housing in the Countryside Policy.

“Whilst it is acknowledged that the design and construction of the proposed development should result in a home which delivers significant energy savings and reductions in CO2 emissions, in order to meet the requirements of the Housing in the Countryside policy it will be necessary to monitor the home in use and ensure that the development performs as expected.”