Archives for category: Sustainable Architecture

Our Isle of Harris House features in the June edition of BuildIT Magazine. The article looks at 10 Things you Need to Know About Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). With our expertise in designing specifically for SIPs when required, we advise self-builders to choose an architect experienced in designing with SIPs for their project as they will know the optimum dimensions to allow best and most cost effective use of the SIP building system. By designing for SIPs at the outset, kit costs can be reduced by several thousand pounds.Caber Harris House

We have designed numerous houses using SIPs with the architecture reflecting the build system by often including vaulted ceilings, for example. As Low Energy Architects, we find SIPs provide excellent energy efficiency and airtighness, with the outerface of the OSB of the SIP panles being suitable as the airtight layer, avoiding the requirement of taping awkward floor junctions.

In recognition of our sustainably driven approach to the built environment, Architeco are very excited to be finalists in the 2016 VIBES Awards for ‘Scotland’s greenest businesses’.

The VIBES Awards are a partnership between Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), The Scottish GovernmentEnergy Saving TrustHighland & Islands EnterpriseScottish EnterpriseScottish WaterZero Waste Scotland and the 20:20 Climate Group.

We are looking forward to welcoming the judges to our studio in the next few weeks to discuss our environmental commitment in more detail.

We were awarded Runner-up in the Archicad BIM New Practice, Project of the Year category at the ARCHICAD conference in London on Tuesday for our Passivhaus Development on the Isle of Bute.

Having recently implemented Building Information Modelling (BIM) into our practice, we are really pleased to have received this.Bute Passivhaus Development

Architeco have joined the Passivhaus Trust.


The Trust aims to promote the principles of Passivhaus as a highly effective way of reducing energy use and carbon emissions from buildings in the UK, as well as providing high standards of comfort and building health.

When combined with renewables, our standard house designs can achieve a SAP rating of 100+, making the houses carbon neutral.SAP Rating 100plus

This makes them suitable for self-build mortgages from the ecology building society.

Now the most Northerly Passive House in the UK, our Orkney Passivhaus Project has recently been Certified to the Passivhaus Standard, making it the world’s smallest retrofit to obtain Passivhaus Certification

The project has been added to the Passivhaus Database, ID Ref: 4466

Our very cost-effective and energy efficient SIP standard house types are now available!
The 2, 3 & 4 bed standard house types have been developed for the SIP system, which is inherently airtight and has negligible thermal bridging. By using the optimum SIP dimensions and designing for Passive House suitability, the resulting house designs are extremely cost effective, super energy-efficient, and can achieve Passive House standard.

Please contact us for further information.

ARCHITECO have been trained to carry out the thermal bridge modelling of building components using THERM. This allows us to carry out appraisals of our details in relation to potential thermal bridges and evaluate their energy and condensation implications. We can then ensure that the effects of cold bridging are minimised and that the potential for condensation is eliminated.

Thermal bridge modelling also increases the accuracy of our building energy models.

We attended the External Timber Cladding Masterclass from the Forrest Products Research Institute and Napier University.

The masterclass included the findings of durability testing of Scottish grown timber, including Scots Pine, Douglas Fir, Larch and Sitka Spruce, along with the best methods of detailing for durability.

We will continue to design and detail this low impact finish in line with the latest research.


SSA Design Awards 2012


Architeco won the ‘Best Use of Wood’ Award in this year’s Stirling Society of Architects Design Awards for our Low Impact Artist’s Studio.

The studio is built almost entirely from wood, from the railway sleeper foundations to the timber floor and frame, softwood rain-screen cladding, and cedar shingles on the roof.

Efficiency, affordability, sustainability and low-key design are emphasised, to suit the communally shared multi-use site within a patchwork of small back gardens. Timber was chosen for its practicality as a highly flexible, easy-to-work-with, economical and sustainable material; as well as for its aesthetic quality, which ties in well among the existing patterns of wooden fencing and sheds on the site.

The wood used was local, and much was reclaimed, including some sourced from the Glasgow Wood Recycling Scheme.

Architeco attended Historic Scotland’s recent conference on ‘Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings’ where several case studies were presented. These illustrated enhancing traditional buildings energy performance through fabric improvements whilst, in some instances, retaining the existing plasterwork and other features.

All methods of insulating traditional buildings used materials that were permeable and therefore compatible with the concept of the building breathing. In many instances, these were natural materials such as sheeps wool, cellulose, hempboard and clays for example. Moisture monitoring has provided preliminary indications that the thermal upgrading will not cause moisture problems in the existing walls.

When considering insulating a historic building, it is of utmost importance to primarily ensure that the building fabric is in good repair. This is especially critical when considering the potential solution of insulating between existing plaster and lath and stone walls.

If you are looking to improve the energy performance of your traditional building, it is imperative that you use methods appropriate to the age and construction method of the building. We have a good understanding of the pathology and idiosyncrasies of traditional buildings and can offer suitable advice to those wishing to carry out thermal upgrades. Please contact us to discuss the most appropriate solution in more detail.

Colin Potter recently attended the Scottish Lime Centre’s ‘Making, Pigmenting & Applying Limewash’ course, gaining detailed knowledge of this historic finish.

Applying limewash on exterior stonework, either directly or onto lime render, allows the moisture in the stone to escape whilst at the same time preventing wind driven rain from soaking the wall. It can be pigmented to provide colour to building exteriors and has even been used to provide detailed finishes on sun-dials and coats of arms.

Modern paints are often not sufficiently permeable to allow plaster walls to breathe. Using limewash internally can help prevent problems associated with this, including aiding the prevention of mould growth. Limewash does not off-gas and contains no VOCs and can therefore be suitable for use when creating healthy interiors.

Using limewash both internally and externally allows stone walls to maintain their natural ability to control moisture.