Retrofit project helps Drumchapel residents reduce energy bills by more than half

Chris Cogan and Ian Halliday

A smart home project has seen residents in the Drumchapel area of Glasgow have their energy bills reduced by more than 50%.

Properties at Linkwood Avenue underwent a £1.7 million retrofit project carried out by Union Technical in what has been described as ‘one of the most significant’ changes to the local housing landscape in decades.

Ian Halliday, who has lived in Drumchapel his whole life, said he has seen major changes in the area over the decades, but none more so than the transformation of his home in recent months.

The 69-year-old moved into Linkwood Avenue in 2011, inheriting the challenges that come with an older property. The Drumchapel homes were constructed in the 1950s, with original storage heaters still in place until Union Technical began making upgrades.

Now, Mr Halliday’s two-bedroom, semi-detached home has been fully retrofitted. Union Technical has fitted solar panels and an air source heat pump, as well as fully insulating the property and installing new windows throughout. He said traffic noise from the road outside is now a thing of the past, but the most significant improvement is to Mr Halliday’s energy bills.

“The work Union Technical has done has just been amazing,” he added. “Before all the work started, I was spending £36 a week on my fuel bills, and that’s now down to around £12-£14 a week. I’m easily saving £50 every month, because the house just keeps heat in now, like it never did before.

“I’ve got a smart heating control panel now, which I can just set to 20C and it keeps the temperature consistent day and night.”

Glasgow-based Union Technical said that helping tenants like Mr Halliday make substantial savings on their energy bills is a founding principle of the company. The business was established by Owen Coyle and Michael Sweeney in 2013, who recognised a gap in the market for an all-encompassing service to make energy efficiency renovations.

Linkwood Avenue is the first smarter homes project for Union Technical, which aims to provide whole house retrofits that prioritise the needs of homeowners, tenants, local authorities and social and private landlords throughout the UK.

Chris Cogan, head of construction at Union Technical, has been overseeing the initiative. He said, “Social responsibility is key for us. We don’t want to knock down and rebuild, as has been the case throughout so much of Glasgow, not least Drumchapel. The smarter homes project is focused on carrying out meaningful work which brings real benefits to the community and helps to provide homes which are safe, warm and comfortable.”

Suzanne Coyle, director at Union Technical, added, “The completion of such a major project in our home city is a significant milestone for us. Our team has been working tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure all installs are completed to the same high standards we would expect in our own homes, and we’re so pleased to see first-hand the benefits that our work is already bringing to residents like Mr Halliday.”

Mr Halliday commented, “The guys from Union Technical who were working on the install have all been great. My home was one of the first to be completed, and it only took five weeks from start to finish. No mess, no hassle and it was all very quick.

“In fact,” he added, “the main worry I had was keeping an eye on my wee dog Ozzie, to make sure he didn’t escape out the door while all the work was going on!”