For a Fairer & More Sustainable World.

Sustainable Renovation Guide

We commissioned this work in association with SEDA (Scottish Ecological Design Association) and HES (Historic Environment Scotland) in 2018, and it was then created by Chris Morgan, an architect and a Director at John Gilbert Architects.

The Sustainable Renovation Guide describes ten ways in which those involved in the retrofit and renovation of Scotland’s homes can improve upon current practice, achieving better energy performance as well as gaining wider sustainability benefits.

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.

With the Scottish Government directing large amounts of money into the retrofit sector in an effort to combat climate change and fuel poverty, The Pebble Trust seized the opportunity to help ensure that this effort is as effective and sustainable as possible by commissioning this timely and insightful guide.


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Buy the Guide

The price quoted includes UK post and packing. Please contact us for postage outside UK. Payment processing is handled by PayPal – we have no access to card or bank account details.


View our introduction to the
Sustainable Renovation Guide

Who is the Guide aimed at?

Are you involved in the renovation of existing buildings? The Sustainable Renovation Guide is aimed at everybody in the retrofit sector from homeowners interested in upgrading their homes to architects, builders, surveyors as well as those working in government, housing associations and councils.

Who was involved in creating the Guide?

The Sustainable Renovation Guide was commissioned by The Pebble Trust – in association with SEDA (Scottish Ecological Design Association) and HES (Historic Environment Scotland) – and created by Chris Morgan, an architect and a Director at John Gilbert Architects with 30 years’ experience in ecological design and sustainable development.

“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. The 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“
M.K., Newtonmore
Ten ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home

The Guide is about improving energy performance and efficiency – but it differs from conventional guidance by also considering comfort, health, building fabric and people:

  • Seeking a more effective approach to energy efficiency
  • Taking account of the comfort and health of people who live in buildings
  • Avoiding problems which could lead to building fabric decay and deterioration
  • Favouring details based on real, measured performance, rather than modelled predictions
  • Highlighting the need for more co-ordination and inspection, and for better workmanship
  • Integrating considerations of moisture in buildings
  • Proposing a much closer of engagement with people, particularly occupants
  • Acknowledging the different construction principles and materials found in older buildings
  • Placing value on maintenance
  • Suggesting that the ‘significance’ of individual buildings should be integrated into routine retrofit assessment.

The guide discusses these aspects before providing detailed examples of how to apply the ideas in practice.


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.

Historic Environment Scotland Refurbishment case study – thermal upgrade works to a 19th century lodge house.

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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.

“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“

Dan Gates

Supporting Policy

Based on the success of the Sustainable Renovation Guide, the Pebble Trust commissioned John Gilbert Architects to produce a policy pamphlet, putting forward ideas for policy, financial and regulatory changes to support the practical improvements proposed in the guide. Find out more.

Penny Edwards

Trustee

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

Trustee

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

Trustee

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.

Sarah Allen

Trustee

Sarah began her career as an Adviser with the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), Scottish Natural Heritage (now NatureScot) and Highland Council. She also worked in a self-employed capacity producing short broadcasts for BBC Radio Scotland on rural issues, and as a consultant for Rural Analysis Associates.

From 2002-09 Sarah was appointed to the board of the Crofters Commission (now Crofting Commission) and subsequently chaired the Scottish Government’s Review of the Bull Hire Scheme. She also worked as a Regional Assistant for a Highlands & Islands MSP, managing constituents’ casework.

More recently Sarah was Head of Tenant Farming at the Scottish Land Commission which focussed on promoting good relationships between agricultural tenants and landlords. To assist this, she set up a mediation scheme which subsequently led to her becoming a Trustee of Scottish Mediation.

Currently Sarah is a consultant at BiGGAR Economics helping to deliver their ethos of “meaningful impact” in their increasing portfolio of innovative community and rural projects.

Catriona Mallows

Trustee

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

Administrator

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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