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38 CASE STUDY


According to Julie, the decision to demolish Hanover (Scotland)’s original development was based on the advent of more stringent legislation for energy efficiency: “The properties were not meeting the new Energy Efficiency Standards for Social Housing (EESSH), and further improvements to EESSH targets would have been difficult to meet. Daily running costs for the electric heating systems was also proving to be very expensive for our customers.” As such, Hanover commissioned a feasibility study and it “soon became clear” that the most sustainable option was to demolish and rebuild the development with a new, low- energy design.


S


et to be the housing association’s first social housing development certified to Passivhaus standards, Hanover (Scotland) has received planning approval from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park for 15 ‘general need’ homes in the village of Drymen. The development will replace the original housing which was the first development that Hanover owned when it became independent in 1979 – 18 one bedroom – one and two person – cottages. The buildings have since been demolished with a goal of meeting new sustainability standards, and the existing residents will move into the new development once completed. The new homes will feature a mixture of terraced bungalows for returning residents, and two-storey semi-detached dwellings. Their Passivhaus design features and benefits include “optimal solar orientation,” as well as thermal comfort, excellent indoor air quality, but also wildflower meadow grass areas for increased biodiversity.


Among the first social housing developments in the country set to achieve the stringent environmental standard, the air-tight buildings will use “vastly less” energy for heating and cooling, complemented by MHVR technology, says the developer.


GOING GREEN


MANY OF THE HOMES HAVE AN OPEN PLAN LAYOUT IN THE LIVING AREAS, WHICH ALLOWS FOR CROSS VENTILATION


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Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association is one of Scotland’s largest housing providers for older people, with a portfolio of more than 5,000 properties located in over 200 developments. Originally part of Hanover England, the company became an independent housing provider in 1979, its aim being to “promote safe, secure and above all, independent living for its customers through modern and affordable housing,” says Julie McKinnon, projects manager at the housing association.


SITE


The development site lies between Conic Way and Montrose Way, to the north-west of the village centre. Its topography slopes from front to back, such that many of the previous homes had stepped access (or access ramps) and, in places, a retaining wall between themselves and the street.


The new development, designed by ECD Architects, ‘regraded’ the site’s levels, moving the retaining wall to behind the properties to create a separation from north to south, and provide the new homes level access from the street. On Montrose Way, a terrace of one- bedroom bungalows provides ‘amenity housing’ which will be offered to returning tenants. At the end of Conic Way and Montrose Way, the units proposed step up to two storeys, to provide greater diversity in the housing mix. The remaining units are two- bedroom (three-person) and two-bedroom (four-person) ‘general needs’ housing. “The new homes have been arranged to step in and out from the street line, which is in keeping with the uneven building line of the street, and reflects the plan form of the former properties on the site,” says Jennifer Rooney, project architect.


Small trees and shrubs have been proposed to the front of the units to enhance biodiversity, create ‘defensible space’ between the street and the housing, and generally enhance the spatial quality and visual aesthetic of the development.


PASSIVHAUS


Hanover looked at the Passivhaus design philosophy for Drymen at a very early stage in the planning process, according to Julie. “The idea was to reduce the impact on the natural environment, and most importantly to reduce the running costs as much as possible for our customers,” she says.


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