The Buchan Eco-Credentials

Living at The Buchan puts you as close to nature as it is The Buchan Burn provides power for the hydro-electric generatorpossible to be whilst retaining the comfort and convenience of a modern home. The house is entirely “off-grid” and “off-mains”, with its own electricity, water and drainage systems. Most of its energy is from a hydro-electric generator, powered by the Buchan Burn. This produces up to 6kW of clean, renewable energy. This provides electricity for normal domestic use. Any surplus power goes into the central heating, keeping the house warm and dry at all times.

The other main source of energy is the wood-burning stove. It provides hot water, central heating and space heating and, with proper use, is highly efficient and controllable. It uses local, renewable timber and is therefore also carbon neutral.

The turbine house has a turf roof and local larch claddingThese renewable energy sources can be backed up by non-renewable sources – solid fuel for the wood-burner, bottled gas for cooking and petrol for a small generator. These are used very little.

Water and Drainage

The water supply comes from a small burn above the house, piped by gravity via a gravel filter to a storage tank in the roof. Waste water goes to a septic tank, where solids are digested by natural processes and water discharged into a natural reed bed. Neither uses any energy.

Design and Construction

The intake from the burnThe house itself is built of granite, with a stone slate roof. It was originally built probably in the 18th Century and ‘modernised’ in 1851. In the refurbishment of 1996 – 1999 the main work was focussed on making it warm, dry and energy efficient. Walls, roof and floors are now well insulated with vapour barriers, creating a low-energy house with high thermal mass. The main innovation was a large conservatory on the south side of the house. This acts as an efficient solar collector, storing heat in the granite walls. It provides a large and beautiful living space for much of the year.

The Landscape

The 2½ acres of private land around the house is developing as a semi-natural woodland, using a combination of planting and natural regeneration. This shelters the house and provides fuel for the wood-burner. Together with a small burn, wetland and meadow, a rich and varied range of habitats has been created around the house.

The house has a natural landscape settingThe landscape of Glen Trool is breathtaking in its beauty, rich in wildlife habitats and wonderful for walking and cycling. Glen Trool is in the heart of the Galloway Forest Park, one of the finest areas of wild landscape in Britain. Buchan Woods are one of the most important ancient woodlands in Scotland, much of them designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

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