Gartarry Farmhouse

Brucefield Estate has been hard at work renovating the Victorian Gartarry Farmhouse to provide high standard rental accommodation in rural Clackmannanshire. Enjoying commanding views of the surrounding countryside, this once old draughty farmhouse has been sympathetically upgraded to offer one of the first high-end, energy efficient Victorian detached homes available in the area.

The innovative project was driven by owner Victoria Bruce Winkler. Aware of the need to make this quintessential Victorian building with its large windows and high ceilings comfortable for modern rural living, a ‘fabric first’ insulation approach was used. Also, by insulating externally – commonplace on detached houses in mainland Europe – the heat is held within the 60cm thick stone walls and they become akin to a storage heater. One of the practical challenges was choosing insulation that allows moisture to escape from floor joists and stone walls; by far the majority of products available provide an impervious barrier that can be detrimental to wood and stone. It was a significant challenge to find fabric-appropriate guidance for such a building.

Completed in September 2015, the property now has timber double-glazed sash and case windows, zoned oil-fired central heating controlled via NEST app and bathroom underfloor heating to complement the external wood-fibre 100 mm wall insulation.

Before renovation the Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact (CO2) ratings for Gartarry Farmhouse were sitting at a very low G. After considerable cost and time spent on the property, the post renovation survey achieved a high C and high D respectively. The company carrying out the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), one of the biggest providers in Scotland, said they had never come across a Victorian detached house with an EPC class C before – a very positive outcome given that there are no easily won energy efficiency points, particularly in this case with no renewable energy products.

Victoria said: “I am delighted that we have managed to accomplish an energy efficiency renovation of such an old property using materials and techniques appropriate for a traditional building. Although costs were high I believe it to be a worthwhile investment into rental property in the area and one that I hope tenants can enjoy for a long time to come.”