The Green Room – why is it warm and toasty?


The Green Room has been built with a strong focus on very high levels of insulation and air-tightness in an attempt to reduce the running cost and our reliance on fossil fuels to an absolute minimum

The building utilises Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) as the main structural elements for walls and roof.


A SIP panel comprises Polyurethane Foam Insulation sandwiched between two layers of Orientated Strand Board (OSB). The resultant material is both very rigid and highly insulating. It is a development of an idea originally proposed by the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. To supplement the already high insulation values of this material we have added a further 50mm of urethane foam insulation inside the building to make it really cosy.

Set up

The floor is also highly insulated with urethane materials and is finished with a self-levelling screed that contains hot-water pipes forming a large heat-store and radiator combined. Heat energy is supplied by storing water heated overnight by off-peak electricity, in a 300 litre insulated tank with an ordinary programmer that calls for heat and a thermostat that regulates the room temperature. The windows are low u value and the best we could afford.


Because we have made the structure air-tight to a very high level we have fitted a ventilation system that introduces fresh air from outside to make the room comfortable. This system captures heat energy from the outgoing stale air to pre-heat the incoming fresh air at an efficiency of over 90% and in summer it allows cool air to enter without any pre-heating to maintain maximum comfort levels and avoid over-heating.


There is a 4.0 kW Solar Photovoltaic system on the south facing roof that we hope will generate enough electricity to make the building self-sufficient in energy for both heating and lighting over the yearly cycle. Electricity from our panels is sold to the grid, but only after we have satisfied our needs in running the building. We will measure this energy use and report on the balance achieved between use and production at the end of the first year.


The outside of the building is clad in natural Larch planks that have been purposely left “as-sawn” so that they hold a very high coat weight of paint for maximum long-term durability. The roof is made of stainless-steel that is “roll-bonded” with a zinc surface that prevents it from being too shiny on a sunny day and allows the material to be solder-joined when necessary.

Throughout the design of this building we have attempted to use sustainable methods of construction that minimise the embodied energy in the materials and, at the same time, deliver a building with low maintenance costs and a minimal carbon footprint..

We have tried to incorporate as many good ideas as we could, but there is always room for improvement. Please feel free to let us have you suggestions and ideas for the next one as well as improvements we may incorporate to refine this one.

Stewart McKenna Jan 2014


The Kirknewton Green Room to open Tuesday 4th February at 10am

the green room logo

The Green Room, a zero energy development and social space built by the community, for the community of Kirknewton, opens its doors at 10am on Tuesday 4th February.

5 years work, 400+ volunteer hours worth nearly £8000, a KCDT and community contribution of £30,000 and a Leader contribution of nearly £121,000 has gone into your new build at 12 Main Street (you can see some of the original discussions going on at the former site on google street view!)


The Green Room will be open weekdays from 9am til 1pm. Pop in for wifi, a cuppa, home baking, meeting friends, a chat, reading a newspaper or book. You can hire a tablet/laptop/e reader or for people who work from home to have a space ‘out of the office’ with printing facilities if required. If it’s raining you can also wait for the bus! It really is a community space and hours of opening will increase with volunteer help and your ideas!

The build will also be available for meetings, state of the art training facilities, parties and family events.

This zero energy development was built by the Kirknewton community for the community, co-ordinated by the Kirknewton Community Development Trust. The build was one of the objectives identified in the Kirknewton Community Development Plan 2012 – 2014. You can read the whole Development Plan at

The new build minimises use of energy by incorporating very high levels of insulation and air-tightness into it’s structure.

With the generation of electricity using photo-voltaic cells on the roof and the recovery of heat from ventilated air we hope to make the building carbon-neutral over it’s life.

Set up

This building is part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community West Lothian Leader 2008 – 2013 programme and the Kirknewton Community Development Trust.


The project is also supported by the Big Lottery Scotland. Project aims inlude the creation of employment and provide volunteer opportunities for experience required to get back into employment or education. The aim is also to provide more opportunities for young people in the West Lothian village.


Future funding is dependent on use and the £100,000 per year community benefit plus investment in the EFRG Fauch Hill windfarm, if it goes ahead. The majority Kirknewton view of support for Fauch Hill (gathered by independent survey) was represented at the recent public inquiry (you can find the results of the Kirknewton survey at )
We hope the result of the public inquiry will be known soon.

Meeting set up

The build is available to hire any day from 9am til 9pm for £10 an hour – telephone 01506 883988, e mail

You can also book the Village Hall at the number/email above or contact Gill Greaves on 07816 880175 for either the Village Hall or the Green Room.

Volunteer for the new Kirknewton building, built by the community for the community

Hi all,

We at the Kirknewton Community Development Trust are getting very excited because we will be opening the doors of the new building on the Kirknewton Main Street on Tuesday the 4th of February.

I am currently looking for keen volunteers who would be able to:

•Offer a few hours of their time during the week to provide a friendly face, and warm welcome to members of the community who would drop-in to use the Centre. Perhaps by making a cup of tea, keeping the place clean, helping community members to log onto the wifi, borrow laptops, tablets, e readers or assist them with printing. There will also be ‘old fashioned’ newspapers and board games! Ideally we would like to be open during the day and the evening so I am hopeful that we can find times that fit around existing commitments.

•We are also launching a Youth Club for young people of secondary school age from Friday the 7th of February 6pm-8pm. This will be a weekly group promoting fun and engaging activities for the young people of the village. I am looking for volunteer youth workers who enjoy working with teenagers, and creating engaging groupwork.

If you have a skill or interest which you would like to share with others, I would love to hear from you. We are so grateful to the various community members who have already offered to run workshops or information sessions next year. I understand everyone is busy so feel free to get in contact even if you have limited availability

If you are interested in volunteering please send me an email: and we can arrange a meet up in the new few weeks

Jennifer Ba
Youth and Volunteer Co-ordinator