Scotframe’s timber frame kits help Cairnrowan build design-led, bespoke sustainable homes with exceptional thermal and environmental performance
Scotframe has been working with Cairnrowan, based in Aberdeenshire, since 2015, providing timber frame kits for the latter’s design-led sustainable homes.
In life, the most rewarding relationships are between people who truly understand and communicate with each other. This leads to trust and mutual respect.
It’s exactly the same in business. Organisations that share a common vision often form effective commercial relationships which can enhance each other’s business goals, and where the customer experience is seamless.
That ethos is one of the reasons that timber frame manufacturer Scotframe has become one of the most respected in the UK. And one of its most successful partnerships with Cairnrowan Customer Homes.
Scotframe and Cairnrowan
Scotframe has been working with Cairnrowan, based in Aberdeenshire, since 2015, providing timber frame kits for the latter’s design-led eco homes.
A building company that specialises in bespoke houses, Cairnrowan helps their clients to build dream homes tailored to their own requirements. The focus is not only on inspirational designs, but also on ensuring that the properties are A-rated in terms of energy efficiency.
Gregor Davidson, managing director of Cairnrowan Custom Homes, says that the relationship with Scotframe is so successful because Scotframe has taken the time to understand their business to the smallest detail.
“Scotframe are quite simply the best in the business. The team understand and share our ambitions to create beautiful, sustainable homes. We problem-solve together and we trust them to deliver. There is no other timber frame provider in the UK delivering kits of such quality.”
Case study: The Black House
The Black House in Udny, Aberdeenshire, is a high-spec, bespoke sustainable home with Scandinavian and west coast influences, and a 100% energy efficiency rating.
The house boasts the key attributes of modern living – intelligently laid out open spaces, bold materials, solar and battery technology inside a thermally efficient structure with an estimated running cost of £32 a month.
It is designed to allow the internal spaces to flow outside into the patio. A wood-burning stove provides a focal point in the spacious open plan kitchen/dining/living area along with underfloor heating, which works in tandem with an air source heat pump – and which also provides hot water.
Timber frame construction meant it was built in just 14 weeks.
Cairnrowan selected the Scotframe Val-U-Therm PLUS® closed panel system, which results in homes that are warm and draught-proof in winter, cool and well ventilated in summer. The system can provide walls with U-values from 0.15 to 0.08W/m2K, one of the best in the world.
This remarkable performance is achieved by injecting the insulation in an offsite factory under quality-controlled conditions. The foam expands into every available space inside the panel, providing a best-in-class BR443 U-value correction factor of zero.
Using the Val-U-Therm PLUS® closed panel system for the wall and roof cassettes has contributed to a house which is A-rated for both energy efficiency and environmental impact, it also has a built EPC of 100% and an airtightness of 0.8 air changes per hour.
The chosen 140mm wall panel (average U-value of 0.14 W/m2K across the build) offered the best solution for thermal performance and cost-effectiveness without any detrimental effect on the size of the overall footprint.
The insulation in the panels also has excellent green credentials; fully recyclable and with a BRE Green Guide A/A+ Rating – the same as straw bales or sheep’s wool.
Malcolm Thomson, sales director of Scotframe, said: “EPC ratings are given on a scale of one to 100. The Black House has an Energy Efficiency rating of 100. Other than the cost of fuel for electrical appliances and for cooking, a building with a rating of 100 costs almost nothing to run.
“The Environmental Impact – CO2 – rating is also 100. This is crucial when you consider that one of the biggest contributors to global warming is carbon dioxide. The energy we use for heating, lighting and power in our homes produces over a quarter of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions. Different fuels produce different amounts of carbon dioxide for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy used. The calculated emissions for The Black House are just 1kg CO2/m2/yr.”
The estimated running costs for this house are less than £750 per year, according to the EPC. However, by installing solar photovoltaic panels connected to a Tesla Powerwall 2 battery to store the energy generated, together with a smart electric meter to harness cheap rate electricity, energy use is predicted to further reduce by up to 50% – bringing monthly running costs to less than £32.
“Having lived in the Western Isles of Scotland for four years, we had an idea for a house that would combine elements of rural Scottish living with modern Scandinavian design. We wanted a home that reflected what we perceive as the key attributes of modern living – intelligently laid-out open spaces filled with light and exterior views, bold materials/finishes and quality craftsmanship. The result is a beautiful, practical and environmentally responsible home which we absolutely love.”
Fabric first explained
Scotframe champions a “fabric first” approach, which can lead to significant energy cost savings over a home’s lifetime. This method of building prioritises insulation and airtightness over more costly renewable systems such as solar panels, or energy-saving technology such as smart home gadgets.
A fabric first approach is generally considered to be more sustainable than renewable energy systems, as it doesn’t require the occupant to master complicated new tech or adjust their energy consumption habits – the building does the work for them. Also, because a building’s fabric cannot be easily tampered with by occupants, it will continue to perform as intended for decades.
The average Scottish household produces about six tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. Based on the EPC assessment, heating and lighting, The Black House currently produces approximately 0.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
A well-insulated, airtight house is key to energy efficiency and this is where offsite systems really deliver. Scotframe’s Val-U-Therm Plus closed panel building systems are particularly effective, as the insulation is injected into the panels offsite, which expands to fill every nook and cranny. The panels allow the construction of sustainable homes that are likely to cost less than £95 a year to heat and are virtually zero carbon. Little wonder that the system is used in nine out of 10 of Scotframe’s self-build kits.
Scotframe Timber Engineering
Tel: 01467 624440
Please note: this is a commercial profile.