Sustainable Renovation Guide

Why is the Sustainable Renovation Guide important?

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 looks at a more balanced approach that values energy efficiency equally with the health of occupants and the long-term durability of buildings. Putting these principles into practise also saves you money- poor renovations can result in expensive rework and reduce the value of the property.

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.

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.

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.

How can I get a copy?

“... an incredibility important publication and my highlight of the year. “ Dan Gates, Lùths Services

"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

See full reviews and case studies 


Sustainable Renovation - Improving Homes for Energy, Health and Environment
Sustainable Renovation - Improving Homes for Energy, Health and Environment
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Sustainable Renovation - Improving Homes for Energy, Health and Environment£13.25

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 or download a free copy of the pamplet.

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