Sustainable and Scottish houses

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First Minister Alex Salmond officially opened a Model-D Show House at Pitmachie, near Insch, earlier this week.

The house has been built to address the demand for affordable, sustainable rural housing in Scotland and comes as the result of a successful partnership between Robert Gordon University’s Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment (SSS) and local construction company Sylvan Stuart Ltd.

Developed as part of a funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) agreement, the Model-D Show House is made almost entirely from Scottish timber, and was created from a concept aimed at exploring affordable, low-carbon homes which could be easily constructed in rural communities.

The Show House comprises a double-height open-plan living, dining and kitchen area, a work space, two-to-three bedrooms, a shower-room and bathroom over a one-and-three-quarter storey layout with a steep roof pitch consistent with traditional Scottish rural housing.

In addition to using an innovative engineering process in the design of the house, the building incorporates a number of features to ensure a low-carbon footprint including super insulation levels, air-tight construction, triple-glazing and solar panels.

Facilitated by the North of Scotland KTP Centre, which provides the framework and resources to support collaborations and partnerships between companies and academics, the partnership combined expertise in architectural design and professional construction.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “I’m delighted to officially open the Model-D Show House at Pitmachie. Not only will the results of their innovative partnership help cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change, but they can also drive down families’ energy bills. I’m also encouraged to see such fine examples of sustainable affordable homes being created by Scottish firms using Scottish materials.”

Professor Gokay Deveci from the SSS, who spearheaded the design, has an international reputation for his expertise in sustainable private and social housing, recently winning the 2011 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Award, as well as three accolades at the Scottish Design Awards for his commitment to energy efficient, low-cost homes.

Professor Deveci commented: “The Model-D House not only offers a solution to help reach Scotland’s 2016 carbon targets but is also a viable and affordable housing option for rural communities where fuel poverty is a major concern with the rising costs of energy.

“The success of this development proves that sustainable, energy efficient design is possible on a restricted budget. Exceptionally high insulation levels combined with triple glazing, air-tight construction and controlled ventilation ensures very low heating requirements.