Sustainable renovation & build

December 2021

CAT whole house eco-retrofit information

The Centre for Advanced Technology has published a detailed article on retro-fitting existing houses to reduce heating energy demand by measures such as improving insulation and draught-proofing.

In CAT’s Zero Carbon Britain report, we promote a mass retrofit of all existing buildings, to greatly reduce heating  demand. Renewable energy can then meet our heating needs as well as the energy demand of electricity use, transport, and industry.

We target a 50% reduction in heating demand in the Zero Carbon Britain scenario. This is the average reduction, and will involve a mix of measures for new and existing buildings. For some homes we can do much better, but some will be more difficult to retrofit to a high standard.

Read the article
The AECB referred to in the article  is the Association for Environment Conscious Building.

There is a strong argument for this work to be undertaken and financed by government as an urgent nation-wide project, as proposed by 'think and do' tank Common Weal in their 'Our Common Home' plan for Scotland published in 2019, rather than being seen as something to be undertaken and largely paid for by individual householders.

'Our Common Home' plan on buildings  (extract)


November 2018

Improving Homes for Energy, Health and Environment

The Pebble Trust has produced a guide to the sustainable renovation of existing buildings, which was launched in Inverness and Stirling in November.

From the Pebble Trust website

"For the past year we have been developing a guide to the sustainable renovation of existing homes in partnership with John Gilbert Architects, the Scottish Ecological Design Association (SEDA), Historic Environment Scotland and the Existing Homes Alliance Scotland.  In the guide, we describe ten ways in which those involved in the retrofit and renovation of Scotland’s homes can improve upon current practice, achieving better energy performance while simultaneously gaining wider sustainability benefits.  We look at a more balanced approach that values energy efficiency equally with the health of occupants and the long-term durability of buildings, and that considers the reality of buildings as built, rather than the theoretical models which tend to inform policy and practice.  We look at how we can better engage with people, and learn from established conservation practice to help with the practicalities of working with older buildings.

"The work is based heavily on BPE (Building Performance Evaluation) studies in which investigators study the actual performance of buildings once built, rather than the calculated predictions routinely used, and the real experience of people within these buildings. 
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"This guide will be of interest to anyone working with existing buildings, including those working in central and local government, housing associations, architects, surveyors, builders and homeowners."

The book is free to download as a PDF, or printed copies are available, priced at £10 (the cost of printing) plus UK P & P of £3.25, from the Pebble Trust. 

TBI has obtained a number of copies, which will be on sale at the next Fortrose, Cromarty and Kessock markets.


From Changeworks /Home Energy Scotland  July 2019 newsletter

Making a house an energy efficient home

Who among us hasn’t fantasised about building our dream house, overlooking the beach, and cutting our carbon footprint at the same time? Well for Changeworks’ Jo Hobbett, Change Works in Burntisland Senior Project Officer, she and her partner Alan made that a reality.

Over the past three and a half years, Jo and Alan have been pouring all their spare time into a new home. Built in the garden of their previous house, an old Victorian tearoom, their new home is an energy-efficient oasis of calm down by the beach on the Fife riviera.

Read the full story


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