Dundee housing association properties ‘future-proofed’ in energy overhaul

Callum Milne
Callum Milne

Almost ninety housing association properties in Dundee have been ‘future-proofed’ against changing energy legislation and price hikes, following a multi-million pound energy overhaul.

Dundee energy company GoSustainable has completed a £3.5 million upgrade of 88 homes which could see tenants enjoy annual energy savings of around £600. The properties also benefited from a full refurbishment.

The steel-framed properties are a combination of ground floor flats, upper flats, terraced and semi-detached properties, and are among around 3,000 similar homes constructed in Scotland between 1926 and 1928.

Abertay Housing Association had been experiencing damp and condensation problems within a number of these properties and were also required to find a solution that would ensure continued compliance with the existing Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) and the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) targets coming into force in 2020.

GoSustainable identified closed-cell polyurethane spray foam as the best insulation product. GoSustainable was also tasked with implementing a full and identical refurbishment of the properties including new kitchens, bathrooms, heating and triple glazing.

Taking a typical, top floor flat as an example, the Energy Performance Certificate prior to works commencing gave a rating of 60. The house was therefore failing the proposed EESSH (Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing) targets which stipulate a rating of 65. On completion, the property not only meets, but exceeds, EESSH guidelines for 2020, with its rating upgraded to 81. The Energy Performance Certificate predicts that estimated energy costs for the property will fall from £2,541 to £1,947 over three years, a saving of £594.

Callum Milne, managing director at GoSustainable, said: “We wholeheartedly applaud Abertay Housing Association for driving ahead with these measures which have ensured that their properties are not only meeting but exceeding guidelines when it comes to energy performance. They have not only made significant, sustainable improvements to what were very challenging properties but also made a huge difference to the lives, comfort and wellbeing of their tenants, protecting tenants from future price hikes to their energy bills and more money in their pockets.”

One couple who have benefited from the works are Tom and Joan Cunningham who have lived in their Abertay property for eight years. Describing their home before the internal wall insulation was installed as ‘draughty and cold’, the retired couple are now enjoying a significantly warmer home than they had in the past.

Financially, the couple had previously been ‘feeding the meter’ to the tune of around £120 per month, sometimes as much as £135, after which the property was still too cold for their liking. Now, the couple’s typical bill is just under £90 per month.

Tom said: “When we moved in, the house was cold, with draughts coming in the windows. You could even feel the cold through the carpet when you got out of bed first thing in the morning. Everything is so much better than it was – mainly the warmth and energy efficiency of course but also better sound protection from the property upstairs and no more draughty windows. Despite the house being stripped right back to a shell, we returned to a clean, beautiful and much warmer home.”

Derek Black, asset manager at Abertay Housing Association, said: “Abertay Housing Association is committed to making long term investment in its housing, not only to improve the lives of our tenants but also to ensure our stock remains both desirable and sustainable long-term. Our properties have gone from being some of our poorest performing and hardest to treat, to being ‘as new’, which has to be good for our tenants. By tackling this now, we have safeguarded these properties and ensured their long-term viability within our stock for up to 50 years.”

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