Big Fernyford


Address/venue name: Big Fernyford Farm
SK17 0NA
Building type: Farmhouse, traditional stone built with surrounding farm buildings and barns converted into a holiday let and meat processing facility.
Green Technology: The farmhouse has been completely refurbished in a way that is sympathetic to the traditional nature of the property while being as efficient as possible and having a significantly lower energy demand than previously. The property has been treated in such as way so as to minimise the reliance on technology and to achieve as low a demand on resources as possible. The building has been internally insulated using a fibreboard/lime base render and plaster system, made airtight as far as possible using draft stripping, airtightness membranes and tape and double glazing has been installed throughout. Ventilation is achieved using a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system. The small heat requirement is met by a ground source heat pump linked to underfloor heating which also heats the neighbouring holiday cottage. The site also benefits from solar photovoltaic panels.

Venue details

Name of owners: The project was completed in partnership between the tenant farmer, Mr Neil Richardson and the property owners, the Peak District National Park Authority
Who installed green technology:
  • The Architect overseeing the project is Gil Schalom Design
  • The main contractors for the building refurbishment were the Green Energy Centre (
  • The Heritage style but highly efficient windows were made to specification by Ricard Walker of Bonsall
  • Lime repointing and reroofing completed by Derbyshire Roofing of Matlock
Why they did it: The property has suffered for many years with symptoms of a very thermally inefficient building, this included very cold room temperatures, problems with condensation and high heating bills from the existing oil fired system. Mr Richardson, the tenant farmer has a lifetime tenancy at the property and therefore was keen to make improvements, including internal wall insulation, to the property. As landlords, the National Park Authority was keen to ensure that this level of works was done in a manner that was not damaging to the traditional construction of the property and also could be used as a example to others wishing to improve traditional buildings found within the National Park.
Benefits: The property is now far more thermally efficient, more airtight but also able to manage moisture in the way that buildings of this age were originally intended to. Heating bills will be significantly reduced and the previous issues associated with condensation and cold fabric have been eliminated.
What they did to get approval from National Park for the work: No planning approvals were required for the refurbishment works.
What were the biggest problems faced: The use of ‘vapour permeable’ insulating materials is not a mainstream practice and, like lime construction methods, is viewed with some scepticism within the construction industry. This presented some challenges in convincing stakeholders in the project of the suitability of this system and its longevity.Such systems are also difficult to install and rely on attention to detail and contractors who are willing to take on board new ways of working and get behind the principles of this approach to refurbishment.
What did it cost, what savings are made: Although originally conceived to make the living environment more appropriate to the occupying family while preserving the valuable traditional characteristic of the construction, the project has resulted in a significantly lower heating bill for the property