Home Energy Scotland* has a team of specialist advisors that can come and visit properties which are classed as ‘hard to treat’, helping people to increase the energy efficiency of their properties and keep the heat in.
Ewan Fisher, Technical Manager at Home Energy Scotland talks about how we can help and what a typical visit to a ‘hard to treat’ property involves.
“Across Scotland we have a wide range of housing types and styles. Many of us live in historical homes that are built before 1919 such as Victorian tenements or Georgian Town Houses. Some of these are listed buildings or are in conservation areas which have stricter planning regulations. Edinburgh alone has 49 conservation areas with 23% of the population living in these areas. This mix of older properties provides challenges in terms of managing energy efficiency while conserving the integrity of the buildings and the areas we live in.
“Our team can help with these types of properties. We can arrange a home visit to provide tailored advice for your home and recommendations as to how to keep the heat in and improve the energy efficiency of the property.
“A home visit typically takes around an hour and a half. During the visit we would inspect the building to get an idea of the building fabric and find out what energy efficiency measures were already in place. This would include identifying the wall construction, looking at the heating system (eg a boiler, storage heaters or a heat pump and heating controls), insulation and glazing. The main purpose of this inspection is to identify the key areas of heat loss and where potential savings can be made. If the visit is carried out during the colder months, a thermal imaging camera can be a very useful tool to identify areas of heat loss. For example, the image on the right shows a heat loss image taken from the outside of a building. You’ll see the right hand window has had secondary glazing installed but the left hand one hasn’t. The red colour indicates a high level of heat loss escaping from the untreated window.
“The data we gather during our inspection is similar to what is used for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and we would use this to compile a report to send to the homeowner with recommendations for energy efficiency improvements that could be made.
“In older historical properties the key area of heat loss is through the walls but because standard cavity wall insulation is not possible there are a lot of other factors to consider. For example, if you are thinking about installing internal wall insulation, you need to consider the impact on room space, disruption, cost and the materials being used, these are all things we can advise on.
“Glazing options are another common area for concern in older properties however there are a number of different options that you can consider to suit your needs and budget. If the property is listed you may still be able to consider slim-line double glazing. A cheaper alternative could be secondary glazing or draught-proofing – we can advise on the many different methods. Some very straightforward methods, such as draught-proofing foam round the windows or thick thermal curtains, can have a positive impact on reducing heat loss.
“Another key energy measure to consider is the heating system and controls because even if the insulation is all in place, it will not be as effective if the heating system is inefficient. We would want to identify how efficient the heating system was and make sure it had a full set of controls. During the visit we would also discuss how to use the system most effectively.
“Finally we would advise on potential energy efficiency measures for the property, funding available and how you would access it. We can provide as much ongoing support to the householder as is required, such as looking over quotes for work being carried out.
“If you’d like more information on a hard to treat’ property visit contact Home Energy Scotland on Freephone 0808 808 2282.”
Ewan Fisher is Home Energy Scotland’s Technical Manager
*Funded by the Scottish Government, Changeworks delivers Home Energy Scotland advice centres in South East Scotland and Highlands and Islands on behalf of Energy Saving Trust.
Events: Restore warmth to you historical home
If you live in Edinburgh, the local Home Energy Scotland advice centre has organised two events in November which bring together specialists in the field to answer your questions.