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published: 5/9/2012
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Alex Neil MSP opens BRE Innovation Park@ Ravenscraig

Scotland’s long established tradition of innovation is being used to shape future housing on a new demonstration park at the heart of the Ravenscraig Regeneration Project. As well as driving positive change in the Scottish built environment the project aims to create global markets for the country’s construction supply chain.

The BRE Innovation Park @ Ravenscraig, launched today by Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment, Alex Neil, showcases the future of Scottish construction. Featuring ten full scale homes and buildings, the Park demonstrates indigenous designs, materials, techniques and technologies that will address the major challenges faced by the local and global built environment – not least the drive to reduce carbon emissions.  

Inspired by the BRE Innovation Park in Watford, which pioneered zero carbon housing not only in the UK but around the world, the goal for the Innovation Park @ Ravenscraig is to have a similar impact in Scotland, creating growth opportunities for the construction sector and its supply chain at home and internationally where the global market is estimated to grow in value from $7.5 to $12.7 trillion in the next decade.

Alex Neil said 'This Park is testament to our long and continuing tradition in innovation - it’s in the Scottish DNA. The fantastic homes about to be built here will be prototypes for new house designs across Scotland and on this former steelworks site which is currently undergoing a radical transformation. Our commitment under the Climate Change Act to reduce greenhouse gases by 42% by 2020 is challenging but projects like this will drive the necessary changes in a sector that accounts for over 40% of our total emissions. It will also create new international markets for the Scottish construction industry and its supply chain. I’m delighted to launch the first project on the Park today.’

The first completed building on the Park is the Visitor Centre. Designed by BRE Scotland and delivery partners including CCG OSM (CCG Scotland’s Off-site Manufacturing Team) and Kraft Architecture, the carbon neutral, closed panel timber frame building represents the latest thinking in off-site manufacture, integration of technology and building management.

Designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating, the cost effective, super insulated building features zoned lighting and heating systems, an air source heat pump, solar water heating,  an array of photovoltaic panels to satisfy other energy demands and an extensive building management system to monitor and manage the building’s performance.

Director of BRE Scotland Rufus Logan said: “The Park is all about innovation and applying this to the challenges we face as a society, not only around reducing carbon emissions but creating a better quality of life for our people. Scotland has the highest proportion of households in fuel poverty in the UK – almost one in four homes are spending more than 10% of their total income on energy to heat and run their homes. We need to address this in the construction and refurbishment of our new and existing homes and the Park will provide the catalyst to make this happen.”

Scottish Enterprise has provided financial support to the project under the Low Carbon Building Technologies Gateway Project, which includes investment from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund.

Speaking at the launch, MD of Scottish Enterprise, Jim McFarlane said: “Scottish Enterprise is pleased to be associated with this project which resonates so well with our own business objectives of supporting innovation, business growth and internationalisation by seeking to develop low carbon markets for Scottish industry.’

The next phase of buildings to be constructed on the Park this year include:

  • The Applegreen Home - an offsite manufactured volumetric steel frame system house with integrated renewables manufactured by Applegreen Homes. The project has significant potential to deliver an affordable, high performance, high quality solution for the volume housing market.


  • The Zero Waste Scotland House - a demonstration of how the latest principles in resource efficiency and waste reduction can be applied in house building. As well as facilitating sustainable living for occupants, the design of the house will ensure maximum recycling and re-use of products at its end of life.


  • Homegrown Timber House -  created by Anderson Bell and Christie Architects, in partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland, this house will showcase the use of innovative homegrown timber products to deliver an affordable,  low embodied energy, healthy and thermally efficient dwelling. It will also explore key issues of developing in a denser, more ‘street friendly’ way in line with Scottish town character.


  • The Curriculum House -  designed and constructed by pre- apprentice and apprentice students, this demonstration home will provide a live learning environment for Motherwell College’s CADD, Architectural Design and Construction courses.


  • BRE Refurbished House - using historical design information and traditional materials, BRE Scotland will recreate a full-scale ‘four-in-a-block’ typical Scottish dwelling. Each of the four compartments will be refurbished using different approaches, materials and technologies, and will be monitored over time to provide real performance data.

Further partners are being sought to develop a Passivhaus, a concrete home, a traditional brick and block house and a retail building for the Park.

Mr Neil will officially open the BRE Innovation Park at Ravenscraig, Motherwell at 10.30am today, Wednesday 5th September.

For more information, please contact Linda McKeown at BRE on 01923 664569, mobile 0777 2228768, email mckeownl@bre.co.uk.

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