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Door opens to Scottish construction of the future

Scotland to gain from ground-breaking sustainable homes

18 Sep 13

Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead today officially opened Scotland’s Resource Efficient House, a ground-breaking building project that offers affordable, sustainable housing to Scotland.

An attractive proposition for house builders and planners, by being energy efficient and using innovative building methods and materials, it shows that sustainability in construction doesn’t mean it’s more expensive to build this way and offers the potential to generate new jobs and investment in Scotland.

Every stage of the development of the three-bedroom house has been considered, from before the architect put pen to paper to the eventual deconstruction in three years’ time, in order to demonstrate how construction projects can be more resourceful and minimise impact on the environment. The construction sector is currently the largest source of waste in Scotland, producing 7.4 million tonnes in 2010.

The construction materials and methods used harnessed best practice in efficiency: from using a pod design put together off site in order to reduce the effects of weather conditions on build times, to the wall insulation which will be able to be recycled post deconstruction.

The re-use and recycling of materials carries through to the fixtures and fittings with the kitchen work surfaces made from material reprocessed from recycled coffee cups; recycled paint for the décor; and kitchen bar stools made from reclaimed wood from whisky barrels.

For home buyers, the house offers lighting, heating, and water conservation measures that are kinder to the environment, make it highly energy efficient, and more affordable to live in.

Situated at the BRE Innovation Park at Ravenscraig, the house is one of the first projects to be delivered by the Scottish Government’s Resource Efficient Scotland programme, managed by Zero Waste Scotland, and was built in partnership with Tigh Grian Ltd.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“This house aims to be the most resource efficient in Scotland and is a great example of resource efficiency in action: showing how businesses and householders can benefit when we think carefully about how we use energy, water and materials.
“If every house in Scotland was like this then we would cut the amount of construction waste being sent to landfill and help make Scotland a more resource efficient nation.

“Future housing built using these methods offers the opportunity to benefit the economy as well as the environment, with the potential for new jobs, and new products.

“I hope that this House will inspire others to adopt these techniques and help the construction sector to grow but minimise its impact on waste.”

In 2012, 17,112 new homes were built in Scotland, with an estimated 85,560 tonnes of construction waste going to landfill. Had no waste been sent to landfill, the financial savings would have totalled over £4 million. An average three-bed unit can produce as much as 13 tonnes of construction waste, costing up to £500 per unit. The Resource Efficient House produced less than five tonnes of construction waste, with less than one tonne going to landfill.

Such sustainable construction offers opportunities for the construction industry. Already Tigh Grian has since won a new contract to build 48 socially rented homes in Alva with funding from the Scottish Government’s Greener Homes Innovation Scheme.

Iain Gulland, Director, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“The Resource Efficient House offers home buyers, house builders and indeed Scotland an innovative new approach to low cost housing, combining an affordable build and living cost with impressive ‘green’ credentials. But beyond this, what this model offers is a potential industry for Scotland, with jobs and economic benefits.

“Furthermore, the potential impact on waste from the construction sector is very attractive. If what happened with this project were replicated across the sector, we would significantly reduce Scotland’s construction waste to landfill, and house builders would save thousands, if not millions, of pounds on costs.

“We now have a showcase example where the industry can work out how to design their projects and see for themselves that sustainable doesn’t mean unaffordable or inferior quality. Innovative projects such as this from the Resource Efficient Scotland programme further demonstrate the real value in helping all those who use energy, water and materials and generate waste by put in place measures which could save them money and resources.”

Alan Johnston, Director,  Tigh Grian, said:

“Tigh Grian was delighted to be the partner on this project and work with so many to test out all the ways in which we can use sustainable methods and materials to build houses.
“We now have an affordable example of the kind of house that can be built and we are able to develop new housing commissions for the social sector, and share the learning with the industry.
“We’re very proud of what’s been achieved.”

Director of BRE Scotland Rufus Logan said:

“The Resource Efficient house is chock-full of the innovation our small country is world renowned for. This is evident in its design right down to the products materials and technologies it incorporates.

“The learning from this project will be of huge benefit not only to Scotland and the rest of the UK but to countries around the world who are being challenged to build with fewer resources – I’m very pleased to host this house on our Innovation Park.”


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