As those who attended the finale of the 24th International Passive House Conference yesterday observed, the Scottish city of Glasgow is taking major strides in transitioning into a 21st century city after nearly 40 years of post-industrial dereliction. Susan Aitken, the leader of the Glasgow City Council, made this case extremely effectively during her presentation. She showed that new life is being breathed into city through new businesses, innovations in civic planning, and a sustainable housing policy that will play a major role in Glasgow’s ambitious plan to become carbon neutral by 2030. This would make them the first major city in the United Kingdom to do so.
Glasgow is not alone in their aspirations. It seems that much of Scotland shares their determination to reduce emissions, especially in the building sector. The most recent case in point comes out of Dumfries and Galloway, which sits between Glasgow and the English border in the western Southern Uplands.
Loreburn Housing Group, which provides social housing throughout the region, announced an additional £20 million funding program with Royal Bank of Scotland to create 299 new units of social housing that includes Extra Care housing. Extra Care housing enables seniors to live independently for longer, thereby reducing the need to move into a residential care facility.
Loreburn also announced that many of these new properties will be built to Passivhaus standard. For seniors, this means an increased level of health and comfort, but, more importantly, significantly lower utility bills. “Fuel poverty is another challenge for the region, across Dumfries and Galloway, with higher than average numbers of people faced with fuel poverty,” said Lorraine Usher, Chief Executive of Loreburn. “Our Passivhaus program is a step towards addressing that challenge with quality homes and reduced heating bills for our customers.”
Usher’s remarks are a reminder of the tangible benefits of building to the Passivhaus standard that may occasionally get lost when looking to policy proposals that are more heroic in scope. At the end of the day, one of the most important benefits of Passivhaus is that it offers a superior level of comfort and reduces utility bills to the point of allowing occupants on a limited budget to not have to choose between groceries and keeping the heat on.
Scottish Construction Now has more.