Rural Design Architects completed Turf House, an award-winning project in Scotland that proves building a dream eco-home can be achieved on a modest budget. Topped by a green roof, the sloped house was designed to minimize its visual impact on the landscape and to withstand the Isle of Skye’s harsh weather patterns. While the budget didn't allow for expensive solar or ground heat pump options, the Turf House's airtight and well-insulated envelope makes the 970-square-foot home impressively energy efficient--heating bills are expected to clock in at under $80 USD a year.
The timber-framed Turf House was commissioned by an ambitious couple set on building a low-energy eco-home and was completed for approximately $337,000 USD, including the cost of the land ($64,000 USD). In contrast to the traditional stone crofter’s cottages that dot the island, Turf House is a contemporary breath of fresh air that uses mostly natural materials to blend into the landscape. In addition to its green roof that supports 18 tons of earth, the home is clad in larch panels that will fade over time into a beautiful silver patina.
Double-height windows oriented towards the sea bring in natural light and views of the surrounding landscape into the two-bedroom home. The natural, restrained materials palette is continued in the mostly bone-white interior, which is punctuated by modern furnishings and blue accents. To protect Turf House from Skye’s harsh gale-force winds and rain, Rural Design Architects optimized the building’s shape and reinforced the house with two steel goalposts embedded in a concrete base. The architects also installed double-glazed windows and doors able to withstand 100-mph winds.