Located in Coull, Aberdeenshire, Reekitlane is a contemporary four bedroom country house with a twist.
As well as being a fantastic family home, the house is environmentally friendly and boasts a pellet boiler, a hot water tank, a solar thermal panel and a heat recovery unit.
Reekitlane harnesses the power of the sun in order to heat the house and its water, whilst at the same time generates electricity to offset the property’s overall electricity usage. The water is heated via solar thermal panels located on the porch of the house, whilst the electricity is generated by solar PV panels on the garage roof.
The house’s concrete floor slabs store any surplus energy and this is then radiated into the house as soon as the temperature falls. Windows are triple glazed and both the walls and roof are fully insulated. The house is also much more air-tight than a traditional dwelling, so it loses between eight to 16 times less heat than a normal house.
Reekitlane has been expertly designed to position windows and panels in prominent places to optimise solar energy. For example, smaller windows are situated on the north face of the house to reduce heat loss, whilst south facing windows are larger and help the house gain solar energy throughout the winter months.
The house also includes a glass corridor which provides the property with additional solar energy. This corridor, combined with the air flow from the house’s heat recovery unit is a great place to dry washing, which in turn reduces electricity usage even further.
Andrew Keir Architect provided the architectural services on the project, which reached completion in February 2014. As the project was a self-build scheme there was no main contractor, however a number of local craftspeople all contributed to the house’s construction.
Reekitlane was constructed from Scottish manufactured Sip closed wall and roof panels, which were clad in horizontal larch timber with some areas of granite reclaimed from the house the building replaced. To accompany the main house the garage was constructed utilising concrete forms and is fully insulated and clad in the same larch.
To round out the project, landscaping work took place to transform the area around the house. This work included introducing two ponds and two flowering lawns to create a range of habitats for small mammals and insects.
Commenting on the project, Mr and Mrs Ellis, said:
“We love living in this house. We have slashed our energy costs; we enjoy really fresh air all the time; we get a kick out of switching on the shower and getting hot water which has been heated for free; we use our glass corridor to dry our washing whatever the weather, with no problems with condensation; finally we always walk into a house that is warm and comfortable. All of this has been achieved whilst not compromising on a beautiful house design which has met other, sometimes competing, objectives.”
At the Aberdeenshire Design Awards, Reekitlane was commended for its sustainability, picking up an award for design practice Andrew Keir Architect. The practice managed to create a house that is not only energy efficient, but is also a contemporary house in keeping with the style of local architecture.
Mr and Mrs Ellis, said:
“We would like to thank Aberdeenshire Council for the award and for their continued focus on excellence in building design. We are delighted to have been given an award in the sustainability category. The approach taken with our architect Andrew Keir was to develop a lovely contemporary four bedroom bungalow which maximised the opportunities on the site for the wonderful views and which was also highly sustainable. Reekitlane was commended by the judges for both our use of locally sourced materials and our innovative use of sustainability principles.”