The Findhorn FoundationThe Findhorn Foundation is a large community near Inverness. There is a strong emphasis on sustainable building and living. near Fores in the North East of Scotland has a couple of interesting areas of eco-housing and a whole approach to living lightly on the earth including 750kW of electrical energy from 4 wind turbines recently installed for Findhorn Wind Park Ltd which is the trading arm of Findhorn Foundation. See Ekopia. Another sustainable aspect of Findhorn is the Living Machine way of treating the sewage
The community is very welcoming to visitors who turn up for a day or two to look around and if you only want to learn about the buildings there, then this will be OK but if you want to understand how the whole place works then you would need to sign up for the introductory week.
In the late 1980s a small area of eco housing known as the Bag End Cluster was built to what is still a very high ecological standard. The designers were Eco Arc, the renowned architectural practice who are currently working for Lancaster Cohousing
About the same time the whisky barrel houses were erected. They are made from reused Douglas fir whisky vats bought from a local distillery. Cute eh?
More recently about 40 new eco houses have been built in the Field of Dreams. These all have high eco specifications which mostly include 200mm of insulation in the walls and 300 in the roof, solar and wood burning heating and the use of low embodied energythe total amount of energy it takes to make a material (or a building). See more on embodied energy materials. SAPStandard Assessment Procedure - the method used in the building regulations for calculating the energy use of a house. see Part L and SAP ratings around 100.
There are plans afoot to build another 70 houses
See more about this octagonal house on the EcoArc web site.
These three houses all share one wood pellet stove which makes sense because these stoves are quite expensive and, like most boilers, work more efficiently when they are working at a steady full load rather than cycling on and off.
The layout is generally quite dense which is economical with land and emphasises the sense of community
Landscaping tends to be informal and low key which is helped by the very low traffic load which means pavements and kerbs are not required.
There are also some quite interesting house designs
with southerly solar gain being put to good use
Findhorn has also recently built a couple of eco lodges for visitors