Door opens to Scottish construction of the future

Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead today officially opened the Resource Efficient House, a ground-breaking model that brings affordable, sustainable housing to Scotland.

Situated at the BRE Innovation Park at Ravenscraig, the three-bed 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. The ground-breaking project is set to benefit house builders and home buyers through its innovative design and construction.

House builders are set to gain from the project’s learnings and lessons as from design stage right through to eventual deconstruction, from materials to fixtures, the house has been built in a way which both minimises the impact on the environment and maximises affordability.

With the construction sector being the largest source of waste in Scotland, producing 7.4 million tonnes in 2010, minimising the impact on the environment for house building is crucial. In 2012, 17,112 new homes were built in Scotland, with an estimated 85,560 tonnes of construction waste going to landfill. Had zero waste been sent to landfill the financial savings would have totalled over £4million.

To set this into context, 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 produces less than five tonnes of construction waste, with less than one tonne going to landfill, so if replicated, would go some way to reducing Scotland’s construction waste to landfill, whilst reaping financial gains for house builders.

Home buyers also benefit from the innovative design of the Resource Efficient House due to the sustainable lifestyle choices in lighting, heating, and water conservation, making it highly energy efficient, net zero carbon, and affordable to live in.

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.

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, 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.”