‘Affordable and desirable’ zero carbon home to be showcased in Glasgow

A zero carbon home which demonstrates how ‘affordable and desirable’ properties can help tackle environmental challenges will open its doors to the public in Glasgow for two weeks from Monday, 1 November.

COP26 House was built by Glasgow-based regeneration specialists Urban Union for the UN climate summit, taking place in the city. The zero carbon timber frame building was developed by Beyond Zero Homes. Created and led by Peter Smith of Roderick James Architects, Beyond Zero Homes is comprised of over 20 organisations from across the housebuilding industry who want to show how homes can be constructed with ‘minimal’ impact on the environment, using standard materials and skills available today.

The house has been built mainly using locally sourced homegrown timber provided by the BSW Group, and natural materials provided by the different organisations that make up Beyond Zero Homes.

It has been designed to store more carbon than is produced during its construction and will only require heating in the coldest times of the year due to high insulation levels. Heating is provided by infra-red panels which heat objects and people directly, rather than the air. This electric solution is described as being also almost entirely recyclable at the end of its lifecycle.

The COP26 house is a one-bedroom unit with mezzanine studio.  The estimated guide price to build a home like this is between £1,800 per square metre for self-build and up to £2,500 per square metre.

Unlike materials which are either incinerated or sent to landfill after use, the house has been designed so that it can be completely dismantled and recycled. This will be demonstrated after COP26 when the house will be deconstructed and rebuilt as part of a development of affordable homes near Aviemore.

During COP26, the house will be located on the Broomielaw. As well as hosting private events and tours for schools, COP26 House will be open to the public at various points throughout the two-week period. More information can be found on the Sustainable Glasgow Landing website.

Peter Smith, from Roderick James Architects, said, “It is vital that the houses we are building now are truly sustainable, being low carbon in construction and use. But with the COP26 house, I wanted to demonstrate that truly sustainable, ecologically responsible buildings can also be beautiful, comfortable to live in and low cost to build using locally-sourced materials.”

Pupils from a number of primary schools in Glasgow and Edinburgh have been invited for guided tours, hosted by Urban Union. Neil McKay, MD of Urban Union which is part of the Robertson Group, said, “The construction industry has a central role to play in helping to reduce the world’s carbon emissions and the COP26 House demonstrates that many of the solutions needed to fight climate change already exist, we just need to put them into practice.

“Everyone wants a comfortable home and by building the COP26 House we’ve shown they can have that while protecting the environment at the same time. Together with our Beyond Zero Homes partners, we want to welcome as many people as possible to the house so they can see this for themselves. And school visits will play a part in hopefully inspiring the next generation of architects and construction workers needed to help our industry achieve its sustainability ambitions.”

The members of Beyond Zero Homes who worked to build COP26 House include: Roderick James Architects, Home Grown Homes, BSW, Robertson Group, Urban Union, MEDITE SMARTPLY, NorDan, National Timber Group, STEICO, Herschel Infrared, Fakro, Paul Heat Recovery, RothoBlaas, Ultimate Insulation, Ecomerchant, Circular Ecology, David Narro Associates, Roddy Clarke, IES, Radiator Digital, Orluna, Rainclear, Glenalmond Timber and Scottish Forestry.