Health and housing experts team up to create sustainable homes of the future

Image courtesy of Scene-it Media
Image courtesy of Scene-it Media

Experts in housing, healthcare and home-design from across the Highlands have come together to form a unique partnership to build sustainable homes for people with assisted living needs.

Led by NHS Highland, Albyn Housing Society and Carbon Dynamic, its aim is to create highly adaptable homes which can support people to live independently in their homes for longer through technology and remote monitoring by social care agencies.

The project is said to be the first of its kind in the UK and will take input from a wide variety of stakeholders including patients and public service providers.

As part of this process, the partnership held its first interactive co-design session at Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s new headquarters on UHI Inverness campus on Friday.

“In order to source feedback from a whole range of multi-professional health and care staff, we have used the very latest technology to create a virtual reality model, helping users to experience the built environment in an innovative way,” said Professor Angus Watson, NHS Highland’s director of research, development and innovation. “We are excited about this first interactive co-design session, which will enable people to drop-in and find out more about this innovative project.”

Lucy Fraser, head of innovation at Albyn Housing Society, added: “The central concept of the homes is that they will include ambient, physiological and building sensors to collect data that can be monitored and responded to by a variety of agencies – potentially transforming the way health and social care is delivered.

“The collaboration includes potential residents, doctors, nurses, therapists, health and social care managers, technologists, enterprise executives – anyone who can offer experience, expertise and insight to ensure this project results in a sustainable and successful model for the future.”

The first building phase at Dalmore, Alness, is set to get underway in August, and will include 14 new homes and two community spaces. A further 32 houses, including homes for veterans, will be built in Inverness.

The innovative homes are constructed off-site by Carbon Dynamic and delivered to their location 90 per cent complete.

Carbon Dynamic’s founder and chief executive, Matt Stevenson, said: “This project has enabled us to harness our advanced in-house design package and agility to engage with the co-design process to participate in an exciting new way of putting the user need at the core of the developmental processes.

“The virtual reality model is a fantastic asset through which to explore co-design, ensuring the end product is an invaluable solution to a universal need and growing challenge.”

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