Case studies and reviews
Old and cold - what can be done?
Read our blog post by Pebble Trustee Nicholas Gubbins who takes us on a step by step guide to retrofitting underfloor insulation in his old (and cold) house in the Highlands - an invaluable guide, complete with photos and costs.
Historic Environment Scotland Refurbishment case study - thermal upgrade works to a 19th century lodge house
This Refurbishment Case Study, available to download, describes the repair and upgrade works carried out at Holyrood Park Lodge in Edinburgh, currently a visitor centre for Holyrood Park. The works focussed on improving the thermal performance of the building with appropriate materials that preserved the character and appearance of the listed building and minimised disruption to the remaining original fabric.
Consideration was given to wider issues of sustainability, such as the durability of the measures and their embodied carbon. An important part of the project, in addition to the thermal improvements, was to retain or reinstate some of the traditional finishes and details that had been lost and are often overlooked in conventional refurbishments.
Dan Gates, Lùths Services
“There is no doubt that this is an incredibility important publication and my highlight of the year. This Design Guide is aimed at everybody in the retrofit sector from Policy Makers and Housing organisations, to Architects, Builders, Surveyors and those simply interested in upgrading their own homes. It has had enormous interest from the grass routes public which is encouraging. The current new build rates is so low (under 1%) it will take 100 years to improve our stock. So if we have any hope of meeting the net zero targets we have to look at major retrofit programs. In the absence of any government initiatives this guide will allow concerned citizens to undertake their own projects.”
"When we bought our timber-frame house – a bungalow built in 1980 - we knew that we wanted to make it energy efficient and to look after our investment. We found The Pebble Trust's Sustainable Renovation Guide a very good primer for our project. Some of the concepts we were aware of already but plenty were new. The book is easy to read, and having a physical copy, we could flick through it at will. The free digital version is great for searching for keywords and for sharing the book with others. Ideally we'd like a Passivhaus but that's not an option at the moment. The Sustainable Renovation Guide helped us set realistic expectations and to figure out what would be worth the investment compared to the energy we would save over time. The book's emphasis on balancing energy efficiency with good airflow to maintain health was very interesting. It is also a good introduction to natural building materials and why they are preferable. When you see buildings under construction you often see sheets of shiny solid insulation and plenty of expanding foam which conditions us to think this the best way to insulate. We now know why to avoid both and how, by doing so, we will keep our timbers from rotting and maintain the quality of our renovation. Our house came with double glazing, but the frames are hollow aluminum. We were wondering how to avoid thermal bridges around the windows without buying expensive replacements. A solution suggested in the book worked well for us and we probably wouldn't have thought of it otherwise. We've loaned the book to a number of friends who, I believe, have also found the guide helpful as well.
After using the guide to insulate the floor, walls, window frames and loft we noticed a major improvement in warmth.
We had tremendous help from the supplier listed in the guide, Ecological Building Systems, with advice about which is the best insulation to use and how to apply it. We highly recommend them.”