Asheston Eco Barns include many of the original features of the converted stone farm buildings they’re housed in, from ceiling logbeams to exposed stonework, preserving their rustic personality and maintaining a sense of place.
Traditional construction methods have been used throughout – the walls have been painted with Earthborn clay paints, and the ceilings with low VOC white emulsion from Natural Building Technologies.
Natural lime mortar, ideally suited to the stone walls, was used for rendering and plastering work, and wood-framed double glazing has been fitted to maximize energy efficiency.
Reclaimed floorboards have been used extensively, and rustic and characterful reclaimed wooden antique furniture has been used throughout the barns.
Most of the energy requirements of the eco barns are currently met by cutting-edge onsite renewable energy technologies*.
Ground source heat pumps and solar hot water systems supply luxurious underfloor central heating and piping hot water to the eco barns:
The Cart House has a NIBE Fighter 1140 5kW Ground Source Heat Pump plus a Viessmann Vitosol Solar Hot Water system, with 1 Vitosol 300-T vacuum tube collectors (2m² in total).
The Stables has a NIBE Fighter 1140 8kW Ground Source Heat Pump plus a Viessmann Vitosol Solar Hot Water system, with 1 Vitosol 300-T vacuum tube collectors (2m² in total).
The Barn has a Fighter 1140 5kW Ground Source Heat Pump plus a Viessmann Vitosol Solar Hot Water system, with 1 Vitosol 300-T vacuum tube collectors (2m² in total).
The Grain Store has a NIBE Fighter 1140 8kW Ground Source Heat Pump plus a Viessmann Vitosol Solar Hot Water system, with 1 Vitosol 300-T vacuum tube collectors (2m² in total).
The Cow Shed has a NIBE Fighter 1140 5kW Ground Source Heat Pump plus a Viessmann Vitosol Solar Hot Water system, with 1 Vitosol 300-T vacuum tube collectors (2m² in total).
Wood burning stoves (8kW) have been installed in all the lounges, for those snuggly evenings by the fire. All the firewood supplied to the eco barns is sustainably harvested wood from tree maintenance and thinning work throughout Asheston’s 22 acres of grounds.
And a Proven WT6000 6kW wind turbine, to the north of the eco barns, generates electricity which is sold into the national grid. The amount of green electricity it generates each year covers the energy requirements of the ground source heat pumps, as well as a good proportion of the eco barns’ other electricity requirements.
Additional energy is supplied by externally produced green electricity, generated from the natural energy of the wind, sun and running water. This is purchased from the national grid. For every unit of green electricity used by the eco barns, the supplier promises to buy an equivalent amount of electricity from a renewable source, and supply this to the national grid.
High quality Celotex insulation has been used throughout the eco barns and all new electrical appliances are either A rated under the European Union Energy Label and/or have been included in the Energy Saving Trust’s ‘Energy Saving Recommended’ scheme, which identifies the most energy efficient electrical appliances.
High quality double glazing is fitted throughout, as is draught proofing where appropriate. Low energy lightbulbs are used throughout the eco barns, and timers and sensors are used on some lights to further increase energy efficiency.
We have taken several measures to reduce the eco barns’ reliance on mains water.
A rainwater harvesting system has been installed, which collects rainwater from the roofs of the eco barns. The collected rainwater is stored in a 20,000 litre tank, from where it is used for all toilet flushing, garden watering, and more besides
Half flush toilets and showers can be found in every barn, helping maximise water efficiency.
All black and grey waste water from the eco barns is treated in a Clereflo Sewage Treatment Plant which ‘biodigests’ the waste – it uses Submerged Aerated Filter technology which helps protect the environment by cleaning and filtering the waste water before discharging it into a soakaway.
The almost clear effluent discharged from the Clereflo system is much cleaner than that produced by a septic tank, which was the only other realistic option for the site.
We recycle your waste paper, cardboard, tins, cans and foil, plastic bottles, glass bottles and plastic bottles from the eco barns, and provide recycling bins for guests.
Ecoleaf products are used to clean the eco barns.
Garden waste is all either composted or chipped into mulch and synthetic pesticides are banned from the gardens surrounding the properties.
The gardens include wildflower areas including rare flowers such as bee orchids. As well as being lovely to look at, they provide habitats for many species and help maximise biodiversity.
A favourite watering hole for passing birds, the wildlife pond is now starting to be colonized by a wide diversity of species.
Nesting boxes for birds have been erected throughout the eco barns’ grounds, and you’ll even notice pigeon holes in some of the eco barns themselves. A wide range of species can be seen around the eco barns, from chaffinches, blue tits, sparrows, to woodpeckers, jackdaws, starlings and jays. Not forgetting the 8-10 pairs of nesting swallows who set up home here each spring.
Buzzards, kestrels and peregrine falcons can often be seen wheeling around overhead, with one of their favourite places being nearby Brandy Brook. Bats always make an appearance in the summer months, and owls often pay us a visit too.
Local food is a great option, minimising food miles and supporting local communities. It’s an added bonus when it’s organic too, because we believe organic is best for animal welfare, wildlife and the environment in general.
So we’ve put a selection of local and organic food and drink in your welcome hamper, and encourage guests to buy their supplies direct from local producer.
And our tea and coffee is always organic and Fair Trade – falling commodity prices can have a catastrophic impact on the lives of small-scale farmers in developing countries, resulting in crippling debt, the break up of families and the loss of their land and homes. To give these small farmers a better chance, we buy fair trade whenever possible.
We run the eco barns so that they’re of maximum benefit to the local community, buying local products and services wherever possible, and encouraging our guests to do the same. During the development of the barns we used local builders, and we continue that philosophy by using a local company from Roch to clean the properties.
An externally audited Green Dragon Standard environmental management system standard is run, ensuring compliance with environmental laws and continual environmental improvement.