North Lanarkshire Council identifies innovative solution for cold homes
North Lanarkshire Council has identified an innovative tool in the fight against cold homes, saving people from unnecessarily cold winters and safeguarding tenants against the threat of fuel poverty for years to come.
The local authority is addressing the energy efficiency of its older, harder-to-treat solid wall properties through a new and unique insulation system called Matilda’s Blanket, which has already proved highly effective in combating cold and damp in social housing across England, as well as recently helping the occupants of a tower block at Anniesland in Glasgow.
The solution is helping the council bring over 200 properties up to the new Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH), at the very start of the Scottish Government’s program, which sets 2020 as the deadline for all such work to be completed.
North Lanarkshire Council’s announcement comes shortly after an alliance of over 50 civic organisations called on the Scottish Government to take a long-term approach to address the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes. Facilitated by the Existing Homes Alliance Scotland, the alliance has called on the Scottish Government to commit to bringing all homes in Scotland up to a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘C’.
Des Murray, head of housing property with North Lanarkshire Council, said: “We want all our tenant’s to live in warm, affordable and energy efficient homes.
“Our energy team work tirelessly to find a range of products and solutions suitable for homes here in North Lanarkshire, and the Matilda’s Blanket system is at the cutting-edge of wall insulation techniques.
“People already staying in our homes fitted with this product have noticed a significant difference in both warmth and lower fuel costs and we are looking forward to expanding this programme to other suitable locations.”
While traditional internal wall insulation (IWI) systems are not recommended in the guidelines for EESSH, because of the potential for disruption to households, Matilda’s Blanket can be fitted without wet trades or associated upheaval, removing the need to displace tenants during works.
At the recent Glasgow Anniesland project, all tenants remained in their homes during the installation of Matilda’s Blanket and gave a definitive 98 per cent positive response when asked if they would recommend the solution to friends and family.
Matilda’s Planet, the company behind the Blanket system, has undertaken detailed computer modelling to demonstrate the clear opportunity for larger Scottish housing providers and their tenants, by addressing their energy inefficient properties.
The company’s SAP modelling of a variety of Scottish housing types has shown that energy usage in gas-heated flats can be reduced by between 33 per cent and 43 per cent by using Matilda’s Blanket, with electric-heated properties in line to save 50 per cent or more on energy bills. Solid-wall tenement buildings could expect to achieve similar energy savings, with houses and office buildings equally suited to the solution.
Sean McLaughlin, managing director of Matilda’s Planet, said: “The civic alliance statement last week touches on real human issues. I’m delighted to see forward-thinking housing providers in Scotland like North Lanarkshire Council being proactive in finding solutions to address the energy inefficiency in their older housing stock, helping their customers to battle the cold.
“This is a big issue and about more than just hitting regulators’ targets. It’s about the health and wellbeing of people who live in cold and damp houses and it’s about reducing the damage we are doing the environment by wasting energy.
“Although Scottish social housing providers have until 2020 to bring their properties up to the new EESSH standards, I’m delighted to see North Lanarkshire Council rising to the challenge and moving quickly to address problems in their stock, so that their customers don’t need to wait longer than necessary to escape from excessive energy bills.”