Scotland opens ‘first’ Resource Efficient House

Resource Efficient House

Scotland’s Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead, has opened the country’s ‘first’ Resource Efficient House.

Located at the BRE Innovation Park at Ravenscraig, the three-bedroom house was commissioned as part of the Scottish Government’s Resource Efficient Scotland programme, managed by Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS).

Built in partnership with Tigh Grian Ltd, the housing project – which broke ground in January – hopes to bring ‘affordable, sustainable housing to Scotland’ by ‘minimising the impact on the environment and maximising affordability’.

Resource Efficient House details

The house was built with resource efficiency in mind, from its modular ‘pod design’, allowing for flexibility and off-site construction (to ‘reduce the effects of weather conditions on build times’), to the wall insulation used, which can be recycled following deconstruction.

The fixtures and fittings were also sourced from reused and recycled materials, with the kitchen work surfaces made from material reprocessed from recycled coffee cups, the walls dressed with recycled paint, and kitchen bar stools made from reclaimed wood from whisky barrels.

Other sustainable aspects of the Resource Efficient House include energy-efficient lighting and heating, and water conservation, ‘making it highly energy efficient, net zero carbon, and affordable to live in’. It has also been designed with sustainable deconstruction in mind.

According to ZWS, construction of the house produced less than five tonnes of construction waste, with less than one tonne going to landfill. This contrasts with the amount currently produced by the average three-bed unit of around 13 tonnes.

It is hoped that the house will inspire developers to produce more sustainable housing, and reduce the amount of construction waste produced. According to ZWS, in 2012, 17,112 new homes were built in Scotland, with an estimated 85,560 tonnes of construction waste going to landfill, costing home builders around £4 million.

The company behind the building of the house, Tigh Grian, said it was ‘very proud’ of what it had achieved, with Director Alan Johnston commenting: “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.”

Tigh Grian has now won a new contract to build 48 socially rented homes in Alva with funding from the Scottish Government’s Greener Homes Innovation Scheme.

House ‘aims to be the most resource efficient in Scotland’

Lochhead and Gulland in the REH

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead inspects the tea-making skills of Zero Waste Scotland Director, Iain Gulland.

Speaking at the official opening of the house yesterday (19 September), 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.”

Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, added: “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.”

Gulland added that the house demonstrates that “sustainable doesn’t mean unaffordable or inferior quality”.

The house will remain at the BRE Innovation Park for three years before being demolished. 

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.”

Read more about the Resource Efficient House.