On approach to the remote “Due West” house on the Lunga Estate you know it’s going to be special, but not until you walk inside does the house fully exploit the location. Full height windows that run the length of the house embrace magnificent views across some of the Western Isles including Jura, Scarba, and Luing. The layout ensures these scenes are visible from all living areas on the upper floor and two of the three bedrooms and en-suites in the lower lever.
A balcony runs in front of the viewing windows, again the full length of the house. This balcony however is not just one floor up on a two level house, but rather, over 20 meters in the air as the house is cut into the cliff face overlooking the sea. With such commanding views in a remote location, one could almost expect to turn and see Blofeld quietly stroking his cat.
Due to such views and clean lines inside the house, underfloor heating (UFH) was decided on for the heating distribution. This gives even heat throughout the room and is unobtrusive, leaving the walls free of radiators. Often a choice is made to have UFH on one level and radiators on another, this client opted for UFH across both levels providing very efficient heating as much less energy is required for UFH.
Talking of efficiency, the heat is being provided by a ground source heat pump. Due to the remote location of the property, no gas main was available, so the other alternative would have been an oil boiler. This would have required an oil tank install plus the concern of running out, particularly in winter. But why install such an antiquated, inefficient system in such a modern building. The ground source heat pump, which runs at up to 400% yield, is one of the most efficient heating systems available. With every 1kW of energy put in, up to 4kW of heat is delivered.
Remote locations can be beautiful, but they do provide some obstacles when building such a dramatic house. With this in mind the client brought in TSL, a large, local contractor which provided a full support network alongside local knowledge. This was worthwhile, providing project management beyond that of an average self-build.
With such well thought out design from Cameronwebster architects, stunning location and spectacular views, incorporated in to such an efficient house, it’s no wonder this home has won the 2017 award from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.
About the author
I founded Renewable Heat in January 2015 with my business partner Richard Hailstones. I have worked in the Plumbing and Heating Engineer sector for more than 15 years. I later went on to specialise in the renewable energy market as it emerged and grew.