designing for a more sustainable future
Carbon reduction is an integral part of building design and building standards legislation. Our unforgiving Hebridean climate and remote location also make energy performance especially relevant and we aim to guide our clients to informed and appropriate choices in this fast-changing field. Robert Fraser, Partner, has been designing buildings in the Western Isles for 24 years. Sustainability has always been central to his design ethos and in that time Robert has been responsible for many projects, large and small, utilising a wide range of renewable and energy-efficient technologies.
The right approach will vary from project to project according to the client's brief and budget - it's not all about outlay for expensive technologies - renewables can have an important part to play, but so too does the form of construction, detailing and choice of materials. Careful detailing and a high standard of construction can improve airtightness while designing for very high insulation levels can contribute hugely to reducing energy costs in use, without major increases in capital expenditure.
Berneray Houses - Outer Hebrides Design Awards 2012: Commended for Sustainability
our wind turbine
In 2012 we installed a 10kW wind turbine at our own home and office. Wind energy is ideal for the exposed conditions here with the highest winds generally occurring when most power is needed. Although well-established in use worldwide, our Aircon 10 turbine was just the second in the UK. We chose it for its robust and sophisticated German engineering - it can be remotely monitored by computer, it's very quiet and looks great! Having an established locally based installer was also an important deciding factor. The turbine meets all of our electricity demand and, being grid-connected, we export power when it's producing more than we need. With 4 years of generation now behind us we estimate that the turbine will have paid itself off in the coming year – thereafter Government Feed in Tariff incentive payments will continue to provide income for each unit of power generated until 2032.