Work begins in Midlothian on innovative energy-efficient houses

Work begins in Midlothian on innovative energy-efficient houses

Work has started on a prestigious new residential complex in Dalkeith town center.

Councilor Stephen Curran and Brian Pettigrew

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

Passivhaus literally means “passive house”. This sets the building standards developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany for energy efficient, comfortable and affordable homes.

These new homes in Dalkeith along with the new homes to be built in Burnbrae in Bonnyrigg and also in Easthouses are the very first council houses planned for Midlothian that meet these energy efficiency standards. These developments are considered to be the most important of their kind in Scotland.

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

Main advantages of a passive house

  • Allows energy savings of up to 90% compared to the typical building stock and more than 75% compared to the average for new constructions. Passive houses use less fuel 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 even in the coldest winters. During the warmer months, passive houses use passive cooling techniques such as strategic shading to stay comfortably cool.

  • Passive houses offer a high level of comfort. Internal temperatures remain constant even in the face of extreme outdoor temperatures. Special windows and a building design consisting of a highly insulated roof and floor slab, along with highly insulated exterior walls, keep the desired heat in the house or unwanted heat outside.

  • A ventilation system provides fresh air at all times, for superior air quality without unpleasant drafts. A highly efficient heat recovery unit allows the heat contained in the exhaust air to be reused.

Councilor Stephen Curran, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “I welcome the start of construction work on these new passive houses, which coincides perfectly with the COP26 conference currently being held in Glasgow. This project demonstrates how the latest design and construction standards can help reduce energy costs and reduce 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 home construction program. The houses were designed by architects Smith Scott Mullan Associates and the contractor is Morris and Spottiswood. The total cost of development, including residential and business premises, is around £ 2million.

Brian Pettigrew, Director of Entrepreneur Morris & Spottiswoode, added: “We are delighted to be part of the Midlothian Council’s very first Passivhaus project and its December 2019 climate change motion to ensure that the Council’s activities are net zero carbon by 2030. Not only does this support the Council’s net carbon agenda, it fits well with our own approach to sustainability.

The passive house project in Dalkeith is expected to be completed by December 2022.