Robert Dunn's Profile

Robert Dunn's picture

My Gender

Male

A Little about Me

Justine and I (and four kids) settled in this small west highland community in 2002. Before that we were tropical foresters, mostly working in Aid Projects in west Africa and the Caribbean. We have been working towards living a sustainable lifestyle and have polytunnels, chickens, bees and numerous fruit trees. We used to have Tamworth pigs and ran an organic gourmet mushroom farm ('Ardnamushrooms') until my back started playing up and I was advised to stop. We are very interested in renewable energy technologies and have two small hydros (5 and 10 kW), solar PV and thermal on our roof, and heat the house with a mixture of wood and a ground source heat pump.

Additional Photos

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My Build Projects

The building site is located on the hill behind our house (a renovated 1855 Free Chruch Manse). A new track has been built up to the site and the sloping granite site cleared and generally flattened. A 8x3 woodchip boiler house has already been...

Why I Build Sustainably

After renovating our falling down 1855 granite Manse we are now keen to build two sustainable strawbale houses for holiday letting. The houses were designed to be as practical / sustainable as possible using wooden crucks frames that are easy to raise, strawbale in-fill (500 per house) and heated by locally-sourced wood chips.

Skills I would like to Work on or Share.

Hoping to develop my strawbale building skills and am happy to share my fairly extensive knowledge / experience of renewable energy technologies, particularly hydro.

My Life Philosophy

It's a cliche but 'think global, act local' comes pretty close. We do our best to be involved in local charities and events (e.g. Bee Association, small Book / Arts Festival, 100 kW community hydro project and a range of other bits and pieces). We are very keen to minimise our carbon footprint and even made biodiesel from waste veggie oil when we had enough time (happy to show you howe its done!). We were WWOOF hosts for ~4 years and really enjoyed meeting a wide variety of friendly, interesting folk from all over the world to help us grow our organic fungi. We love to grow our own food, where we can, and hope to reduce our impact on the planet as time goes on.

Building Styles I have Experience in

Straw Bale
Local Materials (ie Sustainable Wood)
Not a great deal of experience - to date - but about to get significantly more with the use of 500 strawbales in the first of our two houses ('Jill').

My Building Qualifications

I'm a keen beginner at most things and, luckily, have a lot of support from near and distant friends and experts!

My Occupation

I became a retained firefighter about 2 years ago and am engaged full time in learning how to build two strawbale houses!

What I Read, Watch, and Listen to

Music: The Pogues and Frank Turner. Films: 'Local hero' anmd 'Fight Club'. Books: 'Free to be human' and anything by Rohinton Mistry.

Building Styles I'm Interested in

Straw Bale
Local Materials (ie Sustainable Wood)
I'm interested in these styles as that's what we are using for our two houses!

My Education

Justine and I come from a development background and were consultants for the UK government in various tropical countries. Justine completed her PhD in agroforestry (researching in Nigeria) and they met while doing a Masters in tropical forestry at Uni.

My Eating Habits

Omnivore
We tend to cook omnivorous meals but are used to catering for vegetarians when we were WWOOFing hosts.