Aitken Turnbull hires Passivhaus expert to transform social and community housing projects
A Dumfries architecture practice has hired one of Scotland’s leading experts in a pioneering energy efficient style of building design as it continues to grow its extensive portfolio of housing association and community housing projects across Dumfries & Galloway.
Joining Aitken Turnbull Architects, based on the town’s George Street, is Passivhaus specialist Grigor Mitchell. Passivhaus is an internationally recognised energy efficient method of architectural development which originated in Germany where Grigor worked for a spell, before becoming a certified Passivhaus designer, symbolised by delivering innovative, economic and energy efficient projects.
Grigor initially worked as a consultant to Aitken Turnbull but joined the staff due to an overall increase in workload including a surge of Passivhaus enquiries.
His approach is very much aligned with Aitken Turnbull’s ethos of designing commercial and private projects for clients with a strong emphasis on environmental sensitivity and adopting measures that maximise a building’s energy efficiency, as Alasdair Rankin, managing director of Aitken Turnbull, explained: “Our Dumfries studio was established 30 years ago and bringing in Grigor’s exceptional understanding of Passivhaus adds a significant benefit to the firm.
“It enables us to expand and broaden our services across the region and beyond. This is already reaping benefits as we will shortly be submitting plans for a large Passivhaus development for 74 new Homes in Moffat and have also been awarded a place on Dumfries & Galloway’s Technical Services Framework.
“In my view, there is no doubt that Passivhaus has a strong part to play in the future of social housing and community housing developments across Dumfries & Galloway both for their environmental and social benefits, increased efficiency, and low running costs. We are passionate about the Importance of Social Housing and Community Housing developments, because we fully understand that they help improve the communities we live, work and participate in.”
The Passivhaus design concept means that any heat loss that typically takes place in buildings is drastically reduced due to high-quality thermal insulation, windows with triple glazing, avoidance of thermal bridges, an airtight building ‘envelope’, and a ventilation system with heat recovery.
This ensures that Passivhaus buildings can manage with a substantially reduced heating system traditional building heating system. Indeed, heating demand is also met through “passive” sources such as solar radiation, or the heat emitted by occupants and technical appliances. In a Passive House building the heat is retained for a long time since it escapes very slowly.
Due to the low energy costs in Passivhaus buildings, the utility costs are foreseeable - a fundamental principle for affordable homes and social housing.
Aitken Turnbull services clients across Dumfries & Galloway as well as south into Carlisle and the Lake District and links up with its Galashiels office to provide Architectural services across Southern Scotland.