For a Fairer & More Sustainable World.

Supporting Sustainable Renovation

Following the publication of our successful Sustainable Renovation Guide which discussed the principles of a more holistic approach to retrofit along with a number of practical examples, the Pebble Trust commissioned John Gilbert Architects to write a follow-up pamphlet.

The pamplet sets out a range of policy proposals which could be actioned by Scottish Government and other agencies to provide the wider context within which these efforts could be best supported.

The guide includes detailed information and drawings of exactly how parts of a building can be upgraded along with a commentary on practical issues to look out for.

Specifically, these measures would help:

  • Ensure Scotland meets its own targets for carbon reduction, health and well-being and economic development
  • More effectively achieve energy efficiency (reduce carbon emissions and fuel poverty)
  • Safeguard the comfort and health of people in their own homes
  • Safeguard the condition of building fabric generally, and Scotland’s built heritage

Within the current context of national infrastructure status and spending, these fifteen proposals would lead to a shift in focus from quantity to quality in retrofit practice, which may cost more in the short term in order to save disproportionately large sums in the long term.

This pamphlet complements the original guide and will be of interest to anyone involved in energy, health and housing / built environment at a policy or regulatory level, as well as those who procure and design retrofit projects in public and private section organisation.

Penny Edwards


Penny began her career in nature and woodland conservation, with an employment history spanning the Central Scotland Countryside Trust, Sussex Wildlife Trust, and the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Within the environmental field she has considerable experience of business and strategic planning, community engagement, volunteering and project and programme management, all of which were put to good use in her own environmental consultancy.

In her second career Penny established Falkirk Wood, a local timber processing company which provided characterful local hardwood timbers into local markets. This was sold as a going concern in 2008. She now runs Stoneybank Furniture Workshop, a small furniture and upholstery business.

Penny has worked in a voluntary capacity for a wide range of environmental organisations. She is a past Trustee of Transition Black Isle and is a past Chair and current Director of the Culbokie Community Trust which is working to develop a new community hub in the village.

Penny lives on the Black Isle and her spare time is spent in the garden and in the local countryside.

Martin Sherring


Most of Martin’s working life has been as a chartered accountant, including 9 years with Price Waterhouse (now PWC) in London and 12 years as Finance Director of Canvas Holidays. He also worked with Penny Edwards as a partner in Falkirk Wood, and when that was sold he retrained and briefly carried out consultancy work on domestic energy before putting his training to use in the construction of his and Penny’s new Passive House in Culbokie, one of the most northerly in Britain.

Martin is also a trustee of Transition Black Isle and The Highland Good Food Partnership, and a director of Scotland the Bread. He enjoys being outdoors, in the garden or the hills.

Nicolas Gubbins


Nicholas worked in the field for the Nature Conservancy Council for 10 years before joining Scottish Natural Heritage where he focused on policy and project development around the wide area of sustainable development. In 2000, he moved to Highlands and Islands Enterprise where he was Head of Community Regeneration, working on community development programmes and social enterprise initiatives.

He was the founding CEO of the Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company and then Community Energy Scotland which has supported hundreds of community energy projects of all sorts across Scotland. He retired from CES in 2021. Along with being a trustee of the Pebble Trust, Nicholas is a director of HISEZ & helps with the work of Community Energy Malawi.

Neil Sutherland


Neil is the business owner and Managing Director of MAKAR Ltd which delivers services in the built environment sector from design frameworks and master-plans to house design, manufacture and assembly. The company, employing around 25 people, focuses on locally sourced timber construction using progressive off-site techniques and aims to deliver high quality, healthy buildings along with environmental accountability.

Neil engages widely with the policy agenda on the build environment and has formal links with higher education establishments and the construction industry. Based on the family farm just outside Inverness, Neil spends his weekends working with his wife on their organic vegetable farm.

Catriona Mallows


Catriona grew up on the shores of the Cromarty Firth and has since returned to her Highland roots. After her undergraduate degree, she worked for several years in community development in Scotland and New Zealand and was a trustee for the 2050 Climate Group, Scotland’s youth climate group.

In 2018, she moved to Canada and completed a Master’s in Political Ecology at the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Whilst there, she worked for the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and also helped teach university courses in the School of Environmental Studies.

She currently works for Scottish Rural Action, campaigning for rural and island policy, and is also a freelance researcher and writer.

She loves running in the hills, climbing, and has a fascination with shellfish farming.

Julie Shortreed


After studying languages, Julie spent the first part of her career in the European travel industry working in France then for 9 years with Canvas Holidays as Contracts Manager. After returning to study in 1999, she spent her second career in Information Services at Abertay University.  Julie took early retirement and moved to the Black Isle in 2017.

She joined The Pebble Trust as administrator shortly afterwards. She spends most of her spare time in the outdoors, cycling, hillwalking or kayaking as well as trying to develop an edible and wildlife friendly garden.

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