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Zero Carbon House


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The Zero Carbon House is a low energy demonstration project to show how renewable energy can create a unique living experience on a remote island in a severe climate. A holistic approach has been taken to eliminating household carbon emissions that would normally result from heating and powering the home, running the family car and growing and transporting food.

The house is based on a standard design from a timber frame company. Timber is a low embodied energy, renewable material that will be sourced from Scotland to minimise transportation costs and impacts.

The house will be constructed to very high levels of energy efficiency. Heating will be provided by an air-to-water heat pump serving an underfloor heating system and providing domestic hot water via a heat store.

Power will be provided by two on-site wind turbines and can be stored in a Redox Fuel Cell system to even out fluctuations in generation and demand. Power can also be stored in the electric vehicle's battery system. A grid connection will be retained as backup but the power storage system will maximise the use of renewable energy on site rather than exporting power to the grid. This improves the project economics as well as minimising impact on the local electricity distribution network.

Zero carbon heat from the heat pump will augment passive solar collection in a doubly-insulated greenhouse to provide suitable growing conditions for a range of fruit and vegetables grown in a hydroponics system. The availability of fresh affordable food is a major concern on Unst and other remote islands in Scotland. The erection of the first greenhouse will demonstrate production of locally grown food to reduce food miles and to give the community fresh affordable produce to improve the dietary habits of the community in line with the Scottish Executive's objectives.

The project has been designed to be self financing after 3 years through establishment of a horticulture business, training and education facility. Real time monitoring of the system will be made available to the general public on this web site, including information on costs and pay backs.

This project is highly replicable and addresses social economic and environmental issues that are of relevance across the whole of Scotland, the UK and beyond. Support is being provided by Communities Scotland, EST Scotland and Shetland Enterprise.


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