NEW BUILD ECO HOUSE, Dartmoor national park

Planning permission has been obtained for a stylish and eco-friendly, replacement dwelling within Dartmoor National Park.

The new 2-storey dwelling has been designed to be compact and remains within the additional 15% additional volume allowed in the local plan.

On the ground floor will be a wood chip store and biomass boiler plant room, car parking and entrance lobby with stairs up to the main living accommodation. On the first floor is an open plan kitchen/dining/living area, a double bedroom and a bathroom.

The new dwelling will be timber framed and timber clad utilising timber from the neighbouring woodland. This makes the construction very sustainable in terms of reducing transport costs as well as limiting carbon emissions during the construction process. The timber will be left to weather to a natural silvery-grey.

The building will be constructed using PassivHaus principles with good air tightness and thermal insulation exceeding the current Building Regulations standards.

The roof will be a green roof; plants will be cultivated from the local area to be planted on the roof. This will enable the building to sit in the landscape as well as meeting other environmental objectives of biodiversity, rainwater attenuation, and sound and acoustic insulation.

The ground floor blockwork construction will provide the thermal mass necessary to store heat and the more lightweight timber frame means that the first floor living accommodation will heat up very quickly.

Rainwater harvesting has also been included in the design for surface water runoff from the driveway area.

The stunning new dwelling will enhance the local environment and will be a significant improvement on the existing unsightly building. The contemporary design utilises the indigenous building materials of Dartmoor and will not only fit into the local landscape but also be sustainable.


The main client brief for this new dwelling was to make it as eco-friendly as possible. This resulted in the house being heated with a ground source heat-pump which utilised a 30m deep borehole to tap into underground water and the use of a heat-pump to transfer the heat within the water to be used to heat the underfloor heating. This was complemented by a heat recovery system to re-use hot air from bathrooms and the kitchen to heat bedrooms and living spaces once it has been filtered in the attic space.

Unfortunately we were unable to use PV panels due to the shading of the roof by surrounding buildings and trees.The house is actually 3-storeys high with the 2 downstairs bedrooms and bathroom acting as space accommodation when the extended family arrive! A large balcony across the whole first floor allows for views over Totnes. This has subsequently been replaced with a glass balustrade to give some shelter from the wind and to allow for better views from inside the living area.