Sustainable Housing & Construction
Our whole ethos is built around sustainability. Being energy efficient is at the heart of everything we do from the design, construction, building materials and delivery of our houses, right through to our staff offices and fleet vehicles, everything is considered in our drive to be as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible.
Building a house is like embarking on any long-term relationship; the decision should be based on more than just good looks. We take aesthetics seriously, but we devote equal attention to the things you don’t see. We specify materials, components, and building assemblies that provide the highest performance, lowest maintenance, and longest service of any on the market, locally sourced where possible.
Energy Efficient Homes
R.HOUSE are committed to the highest standards of energy efficiency.
Underfloor heating in the house is provided by an Air Source Heat Pump system which also heats the water. This along with mechanical heat recovery ventilation and Photovoltaic solar panels make the R.HOUSE exceptionally economical to run. Factory construction is safer, cleaner and allows work in all weather. This ensures swift production and fixed cost pricing.
- 90% reduction in manufacturing waste achievable by off-site building
- Noise and disruption to neighbours of the development site greatly reduced
- Build quality greatly improved
- Speedy erection of buildings when delivered to site
- High thermal and acoustic insulation
- Responsibly sourced materials, FSC approved
- High performance double glazing (Standard Windows are Nordan N|Tech 1.2)
- Low energy lights
- PV panels to increase energy performance
- Reduced carbon emissions due to fewer deliveries
- Underfloor Heating
- Air Source Heat Pump
- Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery System (MVHR)
- Electric Car Charging Point
Building Sustainable Homes: Our Process
Sustainability is not just about the finished timber home. The fabrication and construction processes are as important. To truly build sustainably is to create a structure that’s environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout its life cycle, from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation — even demolition.
Our prefabrication process has been carefully developed to reduce manufacturing waste (by up to 90%) while maintaining a very high build quality.
Unlike other construction companies, who need to use a lorry and separate crane to deliver and erect panels on-site, our cleverly designed crane/lorry combo has increased our efficiency, reducing our trips to the site and thus reducing our CO2 emissions. We are the only construction company in Scotland with this capability.
The R.HOUSE range is designed to save money during prefabrication and on-site construction. Careful design, choice of durable materials, and high-performing, long-lasting components prevent major future renovations and reduce ongoing maintenance costs.
High levels of insulation and airtightness in combination with energy-efficient heating and ventilation systems reduce the energy running costs, making each R.HOUSE very economical to heat.
A key aspect of sustainability is enabling future societies to function and flourish, empowering local communities and revitalising the local economy.
We are passionate about supporting rural communities and have used our expertise in sustainable design and construction in several affordable housing projects to meet local community housing needs.Read more about our Community Projects
In the broad context, environmentally sustainable architecture aims to reduce the negative environmental impact of buildings by enhancing efficiency and moderating the use of materials, energy, and development space.
When we first decided to find a way to build affordable, sustainable houses, we wanted to source sustainable materials from within Scotland, thus supporting local businesses and reducing the transport distances and, in turn, carbon emissions. For example, we worked closely with Cromarty Sawmill to source Larch trees felled in the Highlands for cladding the outside.
Read more about our responsibly sourced materials and energy efficiency below.
Sustainable timber is harvested responsibly from well-managed, continuously replenished forests and ensures no damage to the surrounding environment or native flora and fauna.
In the UK, two main certification schemes, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), assure that all wood and wood-based products originate from sustainable sources.
Our timber is responsibly sourced and FSC approved.
Sustainable timber can also have an additional positive environmental impact because trees absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and lock it away as carbon, thus removing it from the atmosphere. This phenomenon is called sequestration and can offset the processing and transportation energy associated with timber products. Therefore, timber can be considered a carbon-negative material.
Trying to make buildings that are low maintenance and highly energy efficient is challenging in a harsh climate. High levels of insulation, excellent airtightness and good ventilation must go hand in hand to produce low-energy, sustainable homes.
R.HOUSE homes use materials, components, and building assemblies that provide the highest performance, lowest maintenance, and longest service on the market while achieving the perfect balance of insulation, airtightness and ventilation, making them energy efficient and economical to run.
On average, UK homes lose around 15% of the total heat produced through drafts. This represents an enormous waste of energy. But for a well-insulated home, losses through drafts are even more significant. Airtightness is a critical aspect to consider when building low-energy buildings, as the effectiveness of insulation is massively reduced by poor airtightness.
Our R.HOUSE homes are designed to achieve high thermal and acoustic insulation levels and airtightness. There are three layers of insulation in each wall, with one of the layers designed to achieve a high level of airtightness so that the heat energy stays in the house and drafts out.
Our airtightness rating is between 2-3m³/h/m².
The windows are Scandinavian (Nordan) high-performance double-glazed, pre-finished timber with a U-value of 1.2W/m2K and can be upgraded to an aluminium finish if desired. They offer long life expectancy (up to sixty years) and excellent characteristics in terms of airtightness, weather performance and thermal performance.
In the design stage, we maximise the solar gain from window/door placement to further reduce the need for heating.
We use a leading (Mitsubishi and Samsung) Air Source Heat Pump System that provides hot water and underfloor heating (excludes Bothy range and Pods). This award-winning system operates with minimal noise, has an extended warranty and achieves low CO2 emissions.
We also install an energy-efficient Passiv Haus Institute-approved Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery System (MVHR) in many of our R.HOUSE designs. Heat recovery is one of the primary benefits of MVHR. The system extracts stale air (and any pollutants) and supplies clean, filtered air that is warmed using the recovered heat from the extracted air. Up to 90% of room heat is recovered during this process, meaning less heat is needed to achieve a comfortable temperature in the home.
All R.HOUSE designs have photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to increase energy performance and reduce energy bills as standard.