If you've ever imagined what an eco-village should be, this is probably it. One of the latest communities at Findhorn Ecovillage in Scotland, East Whins at Duneland comprises 25 wind-powered homes with a variety of housing options, several shared facilities, and studio or workshop space for those who work from home. Designed by John Gilbert Architects, the community embodies some of the most progressive developments in sustainability, a model for today and the future.
Built on a former brownfield site at the edge of Findhorn, the colorful design prioritized passive solar design at every turn. Each home includes sunspaces, which allow residents to make the most of passive solar gain, and the roofs are built with a south-facing pitch to maximize solar absorption during the Spring and Autumn equinox, said, according to the architects, to be the most beneficial times to accumulate solar energy.
The architects explained the Findhorn community was deeply involved with the design process, and their shared values are obvious in every detail. In addition to ensuring maximum energy efficiency, with insulation that’s nearly as tight as a Passivhaus, carbon-sequestering Scottish Larch cladding, a heat-recovery system, and underfloor heating fed by an air source heat pump, the community puts pedestrians and bicycles before cars, and makes plenty of communal space available – including a commercial grade kitchen where residents can sell what they make. Also included in the community are “flexi units” for either workshops, studios, or home offices.
The residents of East Whins at Duneland also planned for the future. “The masterplanning exercise examined the implications of climate change and raising sea levels on the site and concluded it was the best site in the surrounding area to avoid future flooding,” the architects write in their design brief. “The detailed design allows for future climate changes such as heavier rain storms, higher wind speeds and hotter summer days.”
This community boasts more greatness than we can cover here, including permaculture design and soft landscaping designed to minimize impact on the surrounding dune ecosystem, which is carefully managed by Duneland.