In 2011, the Departments of Architecture, Physics and Engineering began the development of a small Passivhaus standard, renewable energy self-sufficient studio at the University Botanical Gardens in Dundee. The prototype was conceived as an experimental, integrated technical platform to monitor the performance of an ultra-low-energy consumption, energy positive building in the Scottish climate, and understand user behaviour in relation to managing energy in-use and reducing occupant’s energy consumption. The building fabric has been constructed using regional sustainable materials, including a low-thermal bridging timber kit relying on Scottish small cross-section timber and a novel foam concrete (air entrained) slab foundation. While further work is required to complete the installation of the renewable energy system, predictive modelling indicates that energy autonomy can be largely achieved. With the recent introduction of the new Passivhaus 2009 criteria in October 2015, this project provides an insight into the practical application of an autarkic energy system in a northern European climate. The following paper describes the research rationale, the processes and decision making in the development of the formal and technical design of the building and discusses our current thinking in the design and quantification of the energy system.
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