Scotframe, one of the UK’s most technically advanced timber engineering companies, has been chosen to supply the main structural components of the first fully certified PassivHaus (Passive House) building in a Scottish university.
The leading full kit manufacturer and supplier was asked to provide the wall and roof solutions for the University of Aberdeen’s showpiece Rocking Horse Nursery in the Powis Gate area off College Bounds.
It supplied Val-U-Therm® panels, which helped create a class-leading energy performance, for the newly-completed £2 million building, which is the first pre-school facility in Scotland to adopt the demanding energy efficient design concept.
The project, carried out by Hybrid Build Solutions, was a collaboration between Scotframe and Glulam Solutions of Inverurie, which provides solutions using Glulam/CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) engineered structures.
Philip Edwards, who has a sales and estimating role at Scotframe and is also a director of Hybrid Build Solutions, said: “BMJ Architects contacted us when this exciting project was first proposed. We supplied factory insulated Val-U-Therm® exterior wall panels and roof cassettes which are well in excess of most existing thermal performance standards. The wall panels were 235mm and the roof cassettes were 300mm deep. One of the most significant keys to PassivHaus standards is the level of airtightness, which requires a continuous, tight building envelope. The Scotframe panels achieved a figure considerably lower in terms of air changes per hour than those actually specified for PassivHaus projects.”
Syd Birnie, director at Glulam Solutions and Hybrid Build Solutions said: “It was always going to be a very challenging, but notable, project. We worked with the architect/contractor to offer the most cost-effective thermal solution. “This allowed us to use the Val-U-Therm® system alongside the supporting Glulam frames, which helped substantially in achieving the extremely high levels of thermal and airtightness performance necessary for the PassivHaus accreditation. Hybrid Build Solutions worked closely with the design team to engineer the best overall solutions and, with careful installation of the systems, handed over an already high performing structure to the main contractor who carried out additional cladding works internally and externally as well as the fitting of high specification glazing systems. Hybrid Build Solutions is very proud to have been involved in such a ground-breaking project, which has achieved an excellent performance, reduced the on-site programme and is an aesthetically pleasing finished building.”
Calum Proctor, project manager at Aberdeen University, said: “This was an exciting project to work on, and required great teamwork from our design and construction partners and all our suppliers. Together we’ve delivered a building of very high quality which meets the challenging PassivHaus standard. The children and staff are very much enjoying their new home, and that is thanks to all who were involved.”
The Rocking Horse Nursery building, which will cater for 78 children in the University community, used more than five kilometres of specialist tape. The glue on the tape is the same strength and quality as that used on aircraft wings.
The university building is the latest prestige project for Inverurie and Cumbernauld-based manufacturer Scotframe, which has a track record in PassivHaus-standard projects.
It is the largest timber frame manufacturer in Scotland and the third largest in the UK. It marked its first quarter century last year with a record 160 employees and annual sales in excess of £35 million.
The company has supplied more than 25,000 homes and commercial buildings across Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. It has also developed a strong global presence with sales in Denmark, France, Cyprus and the Falkland Islands.
It has taken a leadership role in the sustainable construction sector with consistently innovative thinking and practices which are helping to map out the future of environmentally friendly building methods.
The PassivHaus standard was developed in Germany in the early 1990s by Professors Bo Adamson of Lund University, Sweden, and Wolfgang Feist of the Institute for Housing and the Environment in Germany. The first dwellings to be completed were constructed in the German town of Darmstadt in 1991.
The building is designed to use minimal energy through the design of the internal fabric. Heat will be provided by solar gain, heat radiated from the occupants and internal equipment (eg IT). An integrated Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) unit will work alongside Air-Source Heat Pumps to recover internal heat and pre-heat incoming air to reduce the amount of energy required.
This recycling of heat will help to maintain a constant, comfortable temperature. The building is designed to function without a heating system. Underfloor heating has been installed but should be used only in extreme cold weather. Other sustainability features include grey-water harvesting for toilet flushing, solar panels to heat water and LED lighting throughout.