The Resource Efficient House demonstrates how the latest principles in resource efficiency and waste reduction can be applied in house building. Currently, an average three-bed home built in Scotland can produce as much as 13 tonnes of construction waste. The Resource Efficient House produced less than five tonnes of construction waste, with less than one tonne going to landfill. As well as facilitating sustainable living for occupants, the design of the house ensures maximum recycling in-use and re-use of construction products at the end of life.

The Resource Efficient House has been designed to meet the Scottish Platinum Standard in Building Regulations Section 7: Sustainability. The house is one of the first projects to be delivered by the Scottish Government’s Resource Efficient Scotland programme, managed by Zero Waste Scotland, and built in partnership with Tigh Grian Ltd.

Resource Efficient House: BRE Innovation Park @Ravenscraig

A short film highlighting some of the features of the Resource Efficient House at the BRE Innovation Park @Ravenscraig


The design concept is a 3 bedroom family sized home 136m2 in floor area. The accommodation is mainly open plan with kitchen, living and dining on the ground floor connecting via a double height space to the gallery and home office space. An open terrace is provided on the South-West corner as a private sheltered space.

The Resource Efficient house is a modular design, formed of four ‘pods’ which were constructed off-site using a SIPs (Structural Insulated Panel) System to achieve high thermal performance, reduced build times and minimal material waste. Insulation materials are made from recycled glass and plastic.

The foundations consist of concrete pads formed in a grid, each with a steel column bolted to the upper face which supports the steel frame of the pods. The concrete was mixed on site, with 100% recycled aggregate used in the mix.

This steel sub-structure is bolted together for ease of deconstruction. This allows it to be taken apart and the building moved, or materials recycled elsewhere. The concrete pads can also be broken down and the rubble recycled.

Three cladding solutions are demonstrated on the Resource Efficient House. Locally-sourced larch, reconstituted stone and lime based render. The timber cladding was installed within the factory to ensure a quality finish.

Two photovoltaic arrays are installed; one of traditional panels and one a semi-transparent thin film PV sheeting, which covers the balcony area. A stove, using a waste-by-product formed into wood pellets, provides space heating and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery ensures sufficient air quality is maintained in the airtight home. Water conservation is also addressed with a grey-water recovery system and low water use appliances and fittings installed.

Materials & Technologies

Materials with recycled content, reclaimed and recycled products and low carbon technologies have been included in the Resource Efficient House.


The performance of the Resource Efficient House will be measured in a number of ways.

The ESRU (Energy Systems Research Unit) department at University of Strathclyde, in conjunction with BRE are to conduct a full building dynamic simulation modelling process using ESP-R which will help determine the performance of the building. The simulation is able to invoke different occupancy patterns on the building and establish how the building reacts.

The simulation is supported by a full range of post-construction building tests including air tightness and co-heating.

In addition, energy monitoring and internal environmental condition monitoring is taking place.

To identify how the building design performs, a series of short-term occupancy periods will be undertaken. This will establish how the layout and service provision performs and will also provide ‘real’ data with which to corroborate the simulation results.