Renfrewshire retrofit project tipped to radically reduce heating bills

A Renfrewshire housing project has been tipped to help tackle climate change and dramatically reduce annual heating bills.

Renfrewshire Council’s housing investment team will deliver a £4.5 million retrofit of 75 terraced council houses. The 1960s-built Paisley crosswall construction properties will undergo work to reduce their carbon emissions and improve their energy efficiency.

Together with a team from John Gilbert Architects, the council has developed a package of works said to ‘radically reduce’ the amount of fuel being burned. The completed works could enable carbon dioxide emissions to drop by almost 100 tonnes per property over the next 25 years.

Each property’s energy efficiency could rise from Band D to Band B, bringing the houses in line with most new-build properties.

Councillor Marie McGurk, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s communities, housing and planning board explained, “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.”

Councillors have approved project plans and a consultation will now get underway with tenants before work is scheduled to start this summer.

New external wall insulation, roofing, solar panels, windows, external doors and underfloor insulation are all included in the package of works, with offsite construction utilised to streamline the process.

Lori McElroy, director of housing and energy (Scotland) at the Building Research Establishment added, “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.”

Sarah Buchanan, innovation manager at Construction Scotland Innovation Centre said “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 whilst 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.”

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