Archives for category: Sustainable Architecture

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.

Architeco have gained Listed Building Consent for the sensitive installation of a solar photovoltaic array at Queen’s Court, the Grade B listed former Queen’s Hotel, Helensburgh.

Colin Potter attended the recent ‘New Dimensions in Green Timber Design’ event at Edinburgh Napier University.

Architeco can provide suitable building designs for clients who wish to use green timber as a structural frame.  This traditional means of building allows large sections of timber to be used and offers a beautiful aesthetic when left exposed internally. The commonly used species is oak, however, Douglas Fir offers a more sustainable option as this can be sourced in the UK, as opposed to France. Use of native green timber can be a low impact way to build and gives a building immediate character.

Green timber frame can be used for traditional or contemporary designs.

Colin Potter has successfully completed a training course in Masonry Repairs in Traditional Buildings, run by the Scottish Lime Centre. Adding to his conservation experience, Colin has gained further detailed knowledge in the effective repair of masonry buildings along with an understanding of lime and lime mortars which allows suitable specifications for these to be determined.

Disused Lime KilnLime mortars can also be used for new buildings and are suitable for use in some breathing wall constructions. They also allow for easy recovery of building materials at the end of the building’s life and can therefore be suitable for the cradle to cradle approach to sustainable design.

Lime is an excellent and traditional material for construction, and can be used in place of cement in many situations. The material can be used for external renders and provides an attractive finish to masonry buildings at the same time as allowing the stone substrate to breathe, thereby protecting it from accelerated decay. Lime can also be used for wet plaster finishes internally. All in all, an excellent material when understood and used effectively.

Architeco have completed the design and PHPP calculations for the fit out of a disused boiler house to provide a one bedroom Passive House.
The design is predicted to have a heating load of just 10W/m2 annually – the equivalent of burning 16 candles to heat the whole house. This was tricky to achieve as the existing building is single storey and L-shaped, increasing the surface area available for heat loss, and located in Orkney, with negligible levels of solar gain in winter.

Architeco is please to announce that Colin Potter has gained RIAS Accreditation in Sustainable Architecture. Less than thirty Architects in Scotland  have this Accreditation, which recognises:

Architects who can demonstrate through a track record that they have delivered Sustainable Architecture and have communicated and promoted their understanding if it.