Work starts in Midlothian on innovative energy-saving homes

Work has started on a prestigious new-build housing development in Dalkeith town centre.

Work starts in Midlothian on innovative energy-saving homes

Councillor Stephen Curran and Brian Pettigrew

The development is Midlothian Council’s first ‘Passivhaus’ housing project.

Passivhaus literally means a ‘Passive House’. This sets building standards developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany for homes that are energy efficient, comfortable and affordable.

These new homes in Dalkeith along with new homes to be constructed at Burnbrae in Bonnyrigg and also at Easthouses are the first ever council houses planned for Midlothian which meet these energy efficiency standards. These developments are thought to be the largest of their kind in Scotland.

The Dalkeith development on Buccleuch Street will consist of six residential new build units built to Passivhaus standards.

Key advantages of a Passive House

  • Allows for energy savings of up to 90% compared with typical building stock and over 75% compared to average new builds. Passive Houses use less oil and gas to heat one square meter of living space than conventional “low-energy” buildings.

  • Passive Houses make efficient use of the sun, internal heat sources and heat recovery, rendering conventional heating systems unnecessary throughout even the coldest of winters. During warmer months, Passive Houses make use of passive cooling techniques such as strategic shading to keep comfortably cool.

  • Passive Houses offer high level of comfort. Internal temperatures stay constant even in the face of extreme outdoor temperatures. Special windows and a building design consisting of a highly insulated roof and floor slab, as well as highly insulated exterior walls, keep the desired warmth in the house or undesirable heat out.

  • A ventilation system supplies constant fresh air, making for superior air quality without unpleasant draughts. A highly efficient heat recovery unit allows for the heat contained in the exhaust air to be re-used.

Councillor Stephen Curran, cabinet member for housing, said: “I welcome the start of work to build these new passive homes which aptly coincides with the COP26 conference currently being held in Glasgow. This project demonstrates how the latest design and construction standards can contribute to lower energy costs and sustainability. The decision to build these new homes is part of our commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030 as outlined in the council’s Climate Change Strategy.”

“These new homes are part of Phase 3 of the council’s innovative house building programme. The homes were designed by architects Smith Scott Mullan Associates and the contractor is Morris and Spottiswood. The total development cost including both residential and retail premises is around £2m.

Brian Pettigrew, director from contractor Morris & Spottiswoode, added: “We are delighted to be part of Midlothian Council’s first ever Passivhaus project and their December 2019 Climate Change Motion to make the Council’s activities net zero carbon by 2030. Not only does this support the Council’s net carbon agenda but it fits in well with our own approach to sustainability.”

The Passive House project in Dalkeith is scheduled to be completed by December 2022.

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