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Perthshire eco-house given go-ahead

January 24 2013

Perthshire eco-house given go-ahead
A Perthshire eco-house designed by Kirsty Maguire Architect, one of just a handful in Scotland to be built entirely off grid, has been given the go-ahead by planners.

Located in Trinity Gask the five-bedroom home will be clad in Scottish larch boarding and eschews concrete foundations in favour of a stilted wooden platform.

All its energy needs will be met through renewable sources and a management strategy for the surrounding land adopted – even the driveway will utilise recycled plastic matting to allow grass to grow through.

Maguire 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.

“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.”
Bedroom section
Bedroom section
Perth & Kinross Council are keen to encourage pilot projects for eco-friendly homes
Perth & Kinross Council are keen to encourage pilot projects for eco-friendly homes

Proposed section outlining lounge and decking area
Proposed section outlining lounge and decking area
The house is designed to be as unobtrusive in the landscape as possible
The house is designed to be as unobtrusive in the landscape as possible

The house is designed to blend into the local topography and landscape
The house is designed to blend into the local topography and landscape


#1 Posted by qms on 24 Jan 2013 at 15:13 PM
And it's out in the middle of nowhere, which means the occupants will need to use a car for all their journeys. Greenwash.
#2 Posted by jon on 24 Jan 2013 at 15:55 PM
@qms Are you proposing a Highland clearance? Perhaps we should not be allowed to live in our own natural habitat anymore? Redwash.
#3 Posted by Gail on 24 Jan 2013 at 16:20 PM
I love this idea and would love to live in a house, in the country, just like this. I would love to visit when complete.
#4 Posted by wonky on 24 Jan 2013 at 18:33 PM
qms is right. Pure bourgeois garbage. Jon, a top, well paid architect, has the readies has the luxury of "choice" as to where they want to live- the rest of us? I want to live looking onto the Cuillins or maybe in the middle of Glencoe? Considering its about a hundred grand to buy fairly useless land, as a building-plot, from a landowner in the Highlands, I don't think most of us can afford it. Not many of us can even afford a car now. Five rooms? How many cars? Two or three at least? All this crap about eco-homes and recycling is just another way for the bourgeoisie to assuage their guilt over their inevitable carbon foot print: how many flights a year does a high end architect take "networking"? The whole environmental thing is a cop out anyway, its our modern religion, a faux existential solution that fails to see the real problem. If you live a certain way, manipulating matter, wear a pair of recycled green welly's, make your own broscetta, use your own hair clippings to make a jumper etc, then its alright that most people are struggling to get by, or that there is mass exploitation out there in the real world...just relax in a little secure bubble of comfortable illusions safe in the sanctimonious knowledge you've done your bit for the "environment".
boaby wan
#5 Posted by boaby wan on 24 Jan 2013 at 19:11 PM
looks interesting, any chance of seeing the sections? just interested to see what's happening in the bedroom block...
any info on the rest of the "off grid" solution?
if you live in a house like this maybe in the modern world car journeys would be minimal (or maybe they've got bikes!)
Zohrab BAUER
#6 Posted by Zohrab BAUER on 24 Jan 2013 at 19:50 PM
This is very interesting project solved on base of architectural innovations. Created to be in harmony with nature.
urban realm
#7 Posted by urban realm on 24 Jan 2013 at 20:08 PM
Hi Boaby - I've uploaded a few of the sections.
#8 Posted by wonky on 24 Jan 2013 at 21:30 PM
Boaby, sorry do burst your bubble...but the location is so far off the grid that if you cycled everyday to work or civilization you would need thighs like thon German track cyclist photoed in his spandex at London 2012...does the house produce food as well? Does talk to you? Sing folk songs?
#9 Posted by wonky on 24 Jan 2013 at 21:34 PM
Exorbitant thighs are too high a price to pay for living off grid...
Art Vandelay
#10 Posted by Art Vandelay on 24 Jan 2013 at 22:44 PM
So, Wonky, what would you do? Are you saying that there's no point in trying to adopt broadly sustainable principles if you can't solve all problems at once?

Somewhat short sighted methinks.

For the record, I detest greenwash too, but I think it's a tad unfair to completely dismiss the notion of people wanting to build a house in a remote location, and live 'off-grid' as faddish.
boaby wan
#11 Posted by boaby wan on 24 Jan 2013 at 23:02 PM
wonky, you do know that people can work from home and don't have to travel to work/civilization all the time? maybe they are planning on growing their own food and killing animals to eat, some people already manage to live in the country (and not always through choice like you imply...)
#12 Posted by wonky on 25 Jan 2013 at 15:01 PM
I can just see Big Boaby fae Castlemilk and wee Iza in Maryhill working from home...doing what exactly? So off the grid isolationism is the new ascetic monasticism of the environmental religion? I don't even know that many middle class people that work from home, to be honest. I know people do it, just not that many- how is a few privileged professionals isolating themselves in eco-friendly private prisons going to solve all our urgent needs- particularly in a world that is rapidly urbanizing?
It's also getting harder for native working class folks to live in the country because of posh goat herders moving in to drive up prices of property...we all know these problems only too well.
I would love it if we could recolonize the Highlands, even parts of Dumfries & Galloway, and have people living in thriving sustainable communities in picturesque locations only walkers and stalkers see most of the time. But this will never happen without a radical overhaul of the present landowning laws.
If we want an open progressive democratic nation, that aspires to equal opportunities, then the first thing written in our constitution should be that the land is the common ownership of the people- anyone who wants to use land must "hire" from the people and be accountable to them for its uses.
I don't see how some posh hunter-gatherer professional buying high value/poor land and living off the grid with bicycles, pine nut eating "connected seclusion" and a quasi crofter aga lifestyle is the answer to our problems.
If you are out hunting/gathering/tending to animals/and or killing little furry critters for your mock rustic pot then where do you get time to do "work"? I thought the whole point of civilization was to minimise necessity in order to maximise our time employed in more advanced pursuits?
Splendid isolationism does not promote the facilitation of civilized/high cultural values... "Two Paradises t'were in one, to live in Paradise alone", as Marvell said in his The Garden. Is it this case of wanting to be far from Hardy's "ignoble strife". Well no Man is an island, entire of it self, as Donne said, so I don't see how this self-induced reversed quarantine can be viewed as forward looking.
Every man is like the company he is want to keep, said Euripides: so we live in our own wee tribe, family clan. Is that progress? Company is family, anybody else is part of the crowd, the herd. That is what feeds nepotism. It is this primitive tendency that most often causes corruption...surely we have to live together and continue to improve those mutual relations within a dynamic environment of shared meliorative quality...well in any case I need to put my tinfoil helmet back on and get back to stockpiling my DIY bunker with tins of corned beef...
Art Vandelay
#13 Posted by Art Vandelay on 26 Jan 2013 at 09:12 AM
Some top literary referencing there, nicely done.

Joking aside, it's actually not that difficult to build a zero-carbon, self-sustaining house if you throw enough money at it. The problem is trying to apply the same principles in more urban situations, or to mass housing models. Clearly 'off-grid' won't really apply here, but the tension between ever increasing standards (correctly so) and ever-shrinking funding isn't going to go away.

There needs to be a rethinking of priorities. The only way that low-carbon technologies and renewables are ever going to become feasible is if the market drives the price down - simple supply and demand. Ideally we'd need some kind of central government subsidy to kick start this, not a few fairly ineffectual funding awards for 'pilot projects'.
boaby wan
#14 Posted by boaby wan on 26 Jan 2013 at 12:10 PM
I don't think anyone has suggested this is a solution to solve the worlds problems, this is a scheme for a single family who obviously have the land and want to use to minimise their impact on the surroundings - hardly the worst idea behind a project!
Rem Koolbag
#15 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 28 Jan 2013 at 09:22 AM
Wonky - tell me more of these 'posh goats'
Fran jones
#16 Posted by Fran jones on 4 Nov 2013 at 22:45 PM
Well isnt there a way in Scotland for people to buy large estates when they come onto the market, if they all get together and can put up half the money between them. Isnt this how some island communities have become self sufficient practically?
Just need to organise ourselves then!
Al Thomson
#17 Posted by Al Thomson on 18 May 2017 at 07:59 AM
You stole my thunder!
rumble on big man, rumble on!

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