Community eco home scheme is Scottish first


THEY are the stuff Grand Designs are made of.

Now work has begun on the first “passivhaus” properties set to be owned by a community in Scotland.

Featured on architecture shows and utilising the best in eco-friendly materials, homes built to passivhaus standard use far less energy than standard properties.

The concept began in the 1980s and more than 25,000 have been built internationally, most of which are in Germany and Sweden.

The Nith Valley Leaf Trust (NVLT) hopes the three it is building in Closeburn, Dumfries and Galloway, will help keep young families in the village because the very low power bills expected will keep living costs at a reasonable level.

A register of interest for prospective tenants will open over the summer, with construction due to complete by December.

And according to the specialist UK Passivhaus Trust, the homes will be the first of their kind in Scotland.

Funded by the Scottish Government’s rural housing and land funds, as well as a loan from the Ecology Building Society, the scheme has been three years in the making and involves specialist construction firm Stewart & Shields, from Helensburgh.

It is hoped that other community trusts will now follow NVLT’s lead “because of the obvious benefits for tenants, including low heating bills, higher air quality and healthier homes”.

Mike Steele, director of NVLT, said: ‘We are very keen to keep our young families in Closeburn by providing affordable community owned and managed state-of-the-art energy-efficient homes. We think this is one big step towards achieving this aim.”

The organisation has worked in partnership with the Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust (DGSCHT). Its chief executive Mike Staples hailed the “amazing” progress, commenting: “We’re really excited to see community-led passivhaus come to fruition in Dumfries and Galloway and can’t wait to see tenants move in later this year.”


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Artist Impression of Closeburn