About Us

We’re Building Green in Montenegro
EcoHouse Risan

Time is going by, we are a British couple who bought some land in Risan in 2007 with the intention of building the first family house in Montenegro, designed to German Passivhaus standards.
We have spent working for several, years in the Western Balkans, I did pro bono work. Although in the years up to his retirement James was in the diplomatic world, his background and most of his career was industrial and commercial in Scotland. Similarly, Anke’s former business was operating between UK and Germany at the high-tech end of aerospace and similar industries, though while being in the Balkans through her voluntary work with various NGOs she has become a social entrepreneur.
With life-long interests in the environment and ecology, we seized this opportunity not only to build a house for ourselves and our extended families, but also as a demonstration for Montenegrins of what is possible, practical, and economic while being at the forefront of sound environmental practice.
We finally managed to get (most of) the house built in 2013/14. Needless to say, this being the Balkans, things have not worked out entirely as originally planned! But we are enjoying our low-energy home!
This website is a Work-In-Progress, describing the overall aims of our project, which is not just to build a family home for ourselves, but to help and encourage others in this beautiful country to design, build, and live in equally low-energy houses.
We are in 2024 now…
and are enjoying living in our house.
James is crafting with the local stone, walls for our Mediterranean garden, the soil is poor but we have learned how to make compost, and our plants love it. Anke learned much about what it means to grow plants in the Mediterranean climate. it’s hot for 3 months with no rain. Learning much, about which plants to use with little or no water, is heartbreaking at times when some carefully grown flowers just say, no thank you. WisteriaThis is our wisteria on the terrace, it is doing beautifully.
Our Japonica Camelia is a star, we bought this plant some 5 years ago, and it was transplanted many times, because of the endless wait to get the house built!

Camelia Japonica

We also have a section on Risan and its neighbourhood, to give you some idea of just how special and beautiful this part of the world is.   In 2009, because of our building activities,
we joined a group (Montenegrins) aiming to establish a Green Building Council for Montenegro. It is an association of businesses and other organisations involved in the built environment.
The GBCME was established in 2009 and registered as a fully-fledged NGO and joined the World Green Building Council in 2010!
GBCMELogo (2)                        education-3-chosen
Its Mission is to:….lead and educate society to create a balance between the ecological objectives of Montenegro, and its citizens, and the need for sustainable building and development, establishing a responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life for future generations.
The World Green Building Council’s message to the world for the ‘green building week’ in 2016:-

The World Green Building Council is a network of national green building councils in more than one hundred countries, making it the world’s largest international organisation influencing the green building marketplace.
The GBC’ World’s mission is to strengthen green building councils in member countries by championing their leadership and connecting them to a network of knowledge, inspiration, and practical support.

Group photo of LEGEND project in Koper 2013

Green building councils are member-based organisations that empower industry leaders to effect the transformation of the local building industry toward sustainability.  With one hundred thousand buildings and almost one billion square meters of green building space registered, the influence and impact of this global network is a significant force for social and environmental change. One GBC organisation is allowed per country.