Environmentally-friendly eco design won prize
Award-winning house has an eco-friendly design.
NOT many people have the honour of describing their property as award-winning. But due to James and Jessica Bellarby’s commitment to making their property environmentally-friendly, the couple’s house won a commended sustainability award from Aberdeenshire Council in 2007. “The award ceremony was in Haddo House and we were chuffed,” said 37-year-old software engineer James, originally from Leeds. “We got the second highest award.” The couple built their eco home at Dikeside, Skelmuir, near Peterhead, five years ago. At the time they owned a cottage in Fyvie and considered extending. However, James and Jessica, 33, from Germany, who is a researcher at the University of Aberdeen, decided it would be easier to start from scratch. They opted for an energy efficient Passive House design, which is common in Jessica’s home country. “We wanted somewhere with a lot of land,” said James. “After buying the land and getting the planning permission, we stayed in a caravan while the work was being done.” After nine months, the house was complete and they were ready to move in. With insulation that’s double the current standard of UK building regulations, the property loses little heat, and is fitted with a ventilation system. While the average household spends well over £1,000 a year on energy bills, James and Jessica spend around £300. The property also has solar panels to heat the water in summer and a woodburning stove for the winter. James and Jessica welcomed their son Erik into the eco home when he was born two-and-a-half years ago. “We often joke when Erik sees a radiator for the first time, he’ll ask what it is as we don’t have any,” said James. While the couple liked having lots of land, James found out last year that he has arthritis in his back and can no longer look after the space. He said: “We are sad to leave but are considering building a similar house with less land.” Dikeside at Skelmuir, Peterhead, is on the market for offers over £300,000. To view, contact Esslemont Cameron Gauld on (01224) 632244.
PASSIVE DESIGN: The eco-friendly home at Dikeside, near Peterhead. FEATURES: Below, living/kitchen area with wood-burning stove and, right, solar panels. HAND-IN-HAND: Jessica and James Bellarby with their son Erik.