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Families move in to eco homes

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By Donald Turvill
Dumfries and West
Families move in to eco homes
Left to right: NVLR director David Dick, NVLT community development and housing officer Jakob Kaye, NVLT director Mike Steele and chief executive of DGSCHT Mike Staples

THREE newly-built Passivehaus-standard properties in Closeburn have welcomed its first tenants.

The three structures are the first community-owned affordable Passivehauses to be built in Scotland, fitted with intricate heat recovery ventilators, meaning 90 per cent less energy is required to heat the homes.

Developed by Nith Valley LEAF Trust (NVLT) and Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust (DGSCHT), the project was launched in 2017 to address fuel poverty in Upper Nithsdale, where many residents are reliant upon solid fuel, electric storage heating or other inefficient heating sources.

Following their completion this year, NVLT offered tenancies to three families meeting a criteria developed in line with identified needs and demands.

Gemma Harvey, one of the eleven new residents of the Passivehaus homes, said: “We have been really excited to be involved with this project with NVLT and feel like it has been a good thing for our community as it has provided more housing to keep people within the area and making use of space that was otherwise wasted. The houses are really lovely and so far appear to have been energy efficient and cost effective as we were told they would be.”

A few doors down, Samantha Austin added: “We love our new house, we are so happy. It has been amazing to finally have somewhere secure after being given 28 days-notice twice last year and being made homeless with two young children by private landlords

“To finally have somewhere we can call home and know we are safe is amazing.

“I definitely think if there is the opportunity for the trust to build more house they should as bringing more people to the village and community is always a positive.”

Jakob Kaye, project officer at NVLT said: “Working on the Closeburn Passivhaus project has been an incredibly positive experience on so many levels. There is a real sense of pride amongst the community that we are able to provide environmentally friendly and economically warm homes to local families at affordable rents.

“We hope that this project will prove to other similar rural communities that this is a game-changing solution to various issues. “The fact that these homes owned by the community trust not only gives a sense of security to the families living there but bolsters the sustainability of the local amenities such as the primary school.”

Annan and Eskdale, Be

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