A COUPLE who built their own energy saving eco-home with no radiators, solar panels and a market garden vision say “we are not hippies, it just makes a lot of sense”.

Ben and Elle Ribbans have gained accreditation from global energy performance standard Passivhaus as just the third home in the UK to meet the “plus” level of build meaning their Weyhill-based home creates more energy than it uses.

The self-designed four-bedroom home on a 200-square metre plot of land is an airtight, heavily-insulated model which uses in 10 years the same amount of energy a ‘normal build’ house uses in one year.

The Ribbans will be showcasing their home on 11 and 12 November as part of a Passivhaus open day designed to show others how it’s done and promote low-energy, low fossil fuel dependant buildings.

Design engineer Ben said: “Usually in a normal house we would need masses of heating but here we use about 75% less energy. Why would people not want to build something like this?

“Maybe people don’t know this exists which is why we want to do an open day, it’s one way of educating people about the house and it doesn’t cost a great deal more but in the long term your running costs are about a tenth, that’s stupid amounts of money you save.”

The couple moved into the property in May 2016 with their two children Amelie and Jackson, after ten months of 70-80 hour weeks and named it Red Bluff after the area in Australia they got married.

Ben also proposed to Elle out in the garden when it was just a piece of raw land in February 2011.

They estimate the approximate cost of building the house at £350,000.

Ben said: “It’s one thing about saving money, but also if you’re going to build a house you have got some kind of responsibility in what you are creating.

“It’s the same as if you have a child, you’ve got a responsibility to raise it and if you are going to create a house there’s an equal responsibility that house is not a burden on the environment and doesn’t take resources it doesn’t need to.”

The next phase of the project is converting surrounding land into a market garden to produce enough food for themselves and to sell on to Elle’s father’s pub, her best friend’s pub and the Rosebourne Garden Centre.

Since going through the process Ben is now hoping to help others do the same and has set up his own self-build consultancy.

He said: “It’s a bit more fulfilling and we can pass on the message that there is a different way to build a house and it works.”

To find out more and book a time for an open day visit, contact Ben on ben@ribbansdesign.co.uk.