A NEW development of energy super efficient homes designed to dramatically cut heating bills opens this week.

The homes in a converted church in the east of the city are the first social housing in Glasgow using the Passivhaus method, developed in Germany and used across Europe.

The design means that very little heating is required and bills should be as low as £50 a year.

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Shettleston Housing Association converted the Carntyne Old Parish Church on Shettleston Road into 12 flats and a three bedroom vestry conversion together with a new build five storey extension creating another five homes for over 55s.

The development has been named Cunningham House after the association's former long serving director, Chris Cunningham, who was behind the development before he retired two years ago to become an SNP councillor.

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Each of the homes has high performance glazing, and thermal insulation.

The new Passivhaus tower has five two-bedroom homes with the Passivhaus mechanical ventilation and heat recovery systems.

The Passivhaus Trust which certifies eligible homes state of the model: “The heat losses of the building are reduced so much that it hardly needs any heating at all.”

The Passivhaus model is planned for other developments in Glasgow.

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Plans for around 800 homes in Cowlairs in the north of the city announced earlier this month will include Passivhaus homes.

Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council said that the model helps reduce emissions and cuts bills for tenants.

She said: “Cunningham House is without doubt a landmark in how we build homes in Glasgow. These are the first properties in the city to use the Passivhaus design – a pioneering standard of house building used in parts Europe and North America which require very little energy for heating and cooling. The extremely high construction standards will bring a host of benefits to residents, including lower fuel bills, improved air quality, a more comfortable living environment and reduced C02 emissions.”

The development is exclusively for older people aged 55 and above with the church building chosen for its central location.

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Gillian Johnston, Chair of Shettleston Housing Association said: “Carntyne Church has been a prominent landmark in the East End for more than a century and the Association has been delighted to breathe new life into the building with this fantastic development.

“All of the new homes are built to an extremely high standard of energy efficiency and the Association is proud to deliver the first Passivhaus standard social rent homes in the city.

“Our tenants will reap the rewards of this through lower heating bills and improved comfort and we wish them all the best in their new homes.”