A VICTORIAN church is becoming a luxurious eco-friendly holiday home.

Warksburn Old Church, a historic Presbyterian church, is becoming a luxurious three-bedroom holiday rental home with pioneering smart energy efficiency.

The Victorian engineer Newcastle-born Sir George Barclay Bruce funded the building in 1875. 

Hexham Courant: Inside Warksburn Old Church, under constructionInside Warksburn Old Church, under construction (Image: Supplied)

Warksburn Church will be the world's first Passivhaus church-to-home conversion, achieving net zero performance thanks to on-site renewable energy generation combined with suitable retrofit strategies.

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Owners Anne and Alan James, aged 56 and 61 respectively, bought the building in 2020 after the church became redundant in 2019.

Hexham Courant: Outside Warksburn Old ChurchOutside Warksburn Old Church (Image: Supplied)

Anne runs her ceramicist business, Anne James Ceramics, while Alan is an expert in high-speed transport and smart energy. He established Expert Alliance, a specialist consultancy firm, in 2002.

They began the project in spring 2023 and aim to finish it by late August this year.

Bellingham-based Insight Architectural Design drew up the plans from Anne and Alan’s brief, and the highly technical and intricate project is being delivered by local specialist David Reed and his team at DJR Joinery and Building.

Hexham Courant: Inside the churchInside the church (Image: Supplied)

Alan said: "We believe it is the first time in the world that such a conversion has been done to the extremely demanding Passivhaus standard for ultra-energy efficiency. We are incorporating an extremely comprehensive suite of on-site energy generation, storage, and ultra-low-demand consumption technologies."

Passivhaus buildings provide a high level of comfort using ultra-energy for heating and cooling.

"The external works are largely finished, and interior work is ongoing," Alan said. "This will be one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the UK when we're finished with it. It will generate more energy than it consumes." 

Excess energy will provide guests with electric car charging facilities.

Alan explained the renovation is protecting the heritage of the building, incorporating timber roof trusses and Victorian stained glass windows with modern, energy-efficient interiors.

Individually-styled bedrooms have porcelain-tiled en-suite bathrooms while the state-of-the-art kitchen is equipped with premium appliances.

The property also features ultra-fast full-fibre internet, mood lighting control, and a private garden offering peaceful and uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside.

Sir George Barclay Bruce built the Haltwhistle to Alston railway, including the Lambley Viaduct, and was also the engineer in charge of the iconic Royal Border Bridge at Berwick-on-Tweed.