Retrofitting project turns 75 council houses energy-efficient

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AN INNOVATIVE housing project in Renfrewshire will help to tackle climate change and could slash tenant’s annual heating bills to £150.

Renfrewshire Council’s housing investment team has been given the green light to deliver a £4.5million retrofit of 75 terraced council houses.

The popular 1960s-built Paisley crosswall construction properties are being given a retrofit to reduce their carbon emissions and improve their energy efficiency.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Board, commented on the project: “These houses are very popular with tenants as they have a front and back door but unfortunately they weren’t built to meet modern energy efficiency standards.

“We’re very excited about this project which will improve the warmth and comfort levels for our tenants and ensure better ventilation all without the need for them to decant from their home, while at the same time tackling fuel poverty and making a critical contribution towards Renfrewshire being carbon neutral by 2030.

“Everyone should have homes to be proud of and this project will not only greatly improve the quality of Renfrewshire’s housing stock but has the potential to be scaled up and adapted to fit other types of houses, becoming the blueprint to meet the highest energy efficiency standards.”

Together with experts John Gilbert Architects, the Council team has developed ‘a specialist, cost-effective package of works to radically reduce the amount of fuel being burned.’

An Energy Performance Survey will benchmark each home’s efficiency before the works start.

Paisley crosswall property
Paisley crosswall property (Source: Renfrewshire Council)

New external wall insulation, roofing, solar panels, windows, external doors and underfloor insulation are all included, with off-site construction enabling the process at each home to be streamlined to take around 4-6 weeks.

Renfrewshire councillors have approved the project plans and consultation will now get underway with tenants before work is scheduled to start this summer, taking around 18-months to complete.

Lori McElroy, Director of Housing and Energy (Scotland) at the Building Research Establishment, said: “We’re pleased to help with the planning behind this project, which is taking innovative thinking to the next stage by demonstrating a clear solution to a complex issue.

“We are committed to supporting organisations to deliver the Scottish Government’s Energy Efficient Scotland targets and look forward to measuring and monitoring the project to ensure the best possible outcomes.”

The project is part-funded through £1.8million secured from the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Whole House Retrofit competition.

The completed works will achieve the EnerPHit standard, one of the highest energy standards in the UK for an energy performance retrofit.

They could enable carbon dioxide emissions to drop by almost 100 tonnes per property over the next 25 years, collectively preventing 7400 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide entering the environment.

Each property’s energy efficiency could also rise from Band D to Band B, the second highest Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, bringing the 60-year-old houses in line with most newly built properties.

Sarah Buchanan, Innovation Manager, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, added: “We are delighted to be working with Renfrewshire Council and other partners on this innovative project which will bring positive change to the lives of the tenants while also creating economic development for Scotland and of course improving carbon emissions.

“There are an estimated 250,000 crosswall properties across the UK and this pilot project creates an affordable solution for housing stock which can be rolled out at scale.”