Partnership project looks to improve energy efficiency of Dundee properties

Abertay Housing Association and Robert Gordon University (RGU) have teamed up in a bid to upgrade around 100 of Abertay’s properties to meet new energy efficiency legislation coming into force in 2020.

The Dundee-based housing association has recognised that its steel-framed properties will fail to meet the new Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) and requires major investment to allow the homes to meet the standard.

Andrew Kennedy, Michael  Dignan, Derek BlackAs a result, the organisation has embarked on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with staff at RGU’s Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment (Building Performance Team) in a bid to find a sustainable solution for enhancing the thermal performance of the buildings, while also preventing the stock from further deterioration by controlling and managing moisture within walls.

The project, which has received over £90,000 of funding from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, will aim to develop innovative low energy solutions using a ‘fabric first’ approach to improve energy efficiencies within the properties.

These measures will then be monitored after installation and recommendations made as to the best way to proceed.

Bob Sander, Operations Director at Abertay Housing Association, said:

“The issues that we face with these steel framed buildings affect several thousand other properties throughout Scotland so the project has the potential to have a meaningful impact on the country’s housing stock.

“We quickly realised a thoroughly considered solution would be fundamental, and this could only be realised through close collaboration with experts in the field, who are not a commercially driven consultancy. It could also not be based on untested manufacturer’s claims for a solution to such a specific problem.”

RGU Built Environment lecturer, Michael Dignan, will be supervising the project at the Scott Sutherland School and said:

“We are delighted to be working alongside Abertay Housing Association on this project, which will hopefully improve the comfort of tenants currently in the properties, as well as reducing their energy bills.

“Partnership projects such as these are a great example of the way that industry and academia can work together to tackle difficult issues.”

Around 3,000 steel-framed homes were constructed in Scotland between 1926 and 1928. 

The project will take a holistic consideration of how a building and its components work together, as well as building up an understanding of the specific life patterns of tenants and occupants.

RGU’s building performance team is also currently working on another KTP project with Grampian Housing Association to develop retrofit insulation solutions for hard-to-heat granite buildings.

Illustrated above is (l-r) Andrew Kennedy, Michael Dignan, Derek Black 

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