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Welcome home: Here’s your fruit bush and bat box

berry-bushBuyers of Scotland’s first New Energy Homes will receive a different sort of gift set from the welcome wagon: a fruit bush, laundry pulley, composting bin, raised growing bed, water butt, bird/bee/bat box and potato barrel.

Backed by Scottish Government funding of £300,000, the development of 17 factory-assembled, energy-efficient homes in the Highlands were erected in a fraction of the traditional build time.

Each home complies with stringent building standards and features renewable heat pump technology, under-floor heating, roof insulation and low energy windows.

Information about energy use in the houses will be collected and analysed over the next two years.

Housing Minister Alex Neil says the Scottish Government has agreed to provide funding of £1.9 million for 22 of the 55 units to be built as part of the Scottish Housing Expo, which will be held in August 2010 in Inverness.

“At a time when families across Scotland are feeling the pinch because of the economic downturn, this type of development points the way forward for more energy-efficient, cost-saving homes,” Neil said. “I hope that once the energy savings have been analysed, the houses will have helped customers cut bills and ultimately reduce carbon emissions.”

The New Energy Home concept was developed by the Highland Housing Alliance, a not-for-profit development company set up to build more new affordable and private houses for people in the Highlands. Five of the development’s homes are to be for low-cost home ownership and the remaining 12 are up for outright sale.

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