En­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly eco de­sign won prize

Evening Express (City Final) - Home Life - - FAMILY LIVING - By Lau­rna Robert­son

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.

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