In the midst of dark news regarding the global pandemic and climate change one can find some very good news too. Midlothian Council Councillors have agreed an action plan and strategy to become carbon neutral by 2030. As part of this process SSM are working on plans to deliver almost 100 Passive House social housing units over three sites in Midlothian. These are the first Passive House social housing projects proposed in Midlothian and to our knowledge the largest scheme in Scotland. Planning applications have been recently submitted for the sites in Dalkeith and Bonnyrigg.
The project at Dalkeith can be considered as an exemplar sustainable project. The existing historical building will be retained, repurposed and thermally improved. It will contain 2 retail units and 4 residential units. The remainder of the site will accommodate 6 new Passive House certified residential units. The design addresses a number of important aspects of sustainable design, including near zero carbon in operation of the Passive House units and the use of renewable sources of energy. Equally important is the carbon embodied in the retained and altered existing building. Additionally the materials from a demolished derelict workshop that stood on the site will be reused within the project. This is not only a prime example of circular economy but also of social sustainability. Retaining historical structures and materials, reinstating and modernising retail units, bringing new residents to the Dalkeith Town centre will all help in creating a good quality build environment for the local community to thrive in.
Working on any Passive House project is exciting and challenging and expands our understanding of energy efficiency, embodied energy and weight the building industry has on the climate. A number of our staff members have attended training by the Darmstadt Passive House Institute and West of England University to fully embrace the subject.