Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CASE STUDY: How Garden Rooms Help Scotland Achieve Sustainability

By Jewel Gallagher

It is always enlightening to hear what other cities are actively doing to promote sustainable life choices and improve their environments. During my research on Scottish cities, I have found deep resolutions concerning improvements to the built environment.

Building plays an important role in people's lives affecting their quality of life at home, at work and leisure. Buildings have impacts on the environment and health and these can be substantial because they are a legacy for a future generation. This is what sustainability is concerned with - the decisions we take in environmental, social and economic terms having a long-term impact on the future of our cities.

Far from a whimsical recommendation to car-share the work commute, the City of Edinburgh Council's Commitment to sustainable development agreed this vision in 2003: "To lead the most successful and sustainable city region in Northern Europe by 2015 and sustain the highest quality of life of any UK city."

Using sustainable transportation seems to be less successful in Edinburgh, with 2006 figures increasing to 43% car or van commuters and a lowly 4% using bicycles. Here we have a highly educated population of which 29% of residents have degree equivalent qualifications. To place this in perspective, only Cambridge city in the UK has a higher statistic (32%). What other measure can be easily implemented which will aid the council's recommendation, sustain the highest quality of life and improve the city's sustainability?

Planning and constructing sustainable buildings is viewed as a crucial element in the pursuit of this vision and the 2015 target is a challenge not just for the Council but also for Edinburgh and its communities. Applying these policies to the design of buildings involves the following objective: to provide buildings that use materials and adopt forms of design and construction that minimise environmental impacts, conserve natural resources and enhance and protect the natural environment.

Having taken these elements back to source and responsibly upgraded our structure and materials, we are delighted to be able to provide a sustainable lifestyle choice which ticks all the boxes. Home working has an organic history but is being extended throughout the corporate world in the name of sustainability and positive environmental and accommodation policies.

Desk orientated jobs have the facilities to work remotely using communication technologies and home office pods. Sustainably sourced garden offices provide the perfect, professional working environment - with a crucial separation from the home. The work commute becomes cost and carbon free and the building itself has a low energy and carbon commitment for its entire life.

With a solid duty to improving the quality of living in Scotland, by providing this and future generations with smart and sustainable home offices in places people want to work, we aim to create an environment in which the home business industries can prosper and make a significant contribution to the social, environmental and economic well-being of Scotland.

The home office industry endorses the Scottish Government's aspiration for a wealthier, healthier, safer, smarter and greener Scotland.

Jewel qualified with a honours medical degree in 2003. She is passionate about environmental matters and currently works from home as a company director. For more information on garden offices visit our feel-good website Free advice and free garden site survey via Or call 02890 425538 / 0044 2890 425538

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