Making small changes to your office space and business practices can make a huge difference in the productivity and wellbeing of your employees. And as it continues to be proven time and again, one of the best ways in which to improve the profitability of your company is to have employees work more effectively and efficiently, rather than expecting working hours to increase. So here are a few things that you can do in the workplace that will improve employee productivity and lead to greater profitability for you.
1. Embrace natural lighting
Not only is fluorescent lighting a major cause of headaches and eye strain, it has also been shown to cause depression! No one enjoys working under fluorescent lights, so wherever possible, stick to natural daylight and watch you employee productivity soar. If you can’t go all the way with day light, then consider encouraging employees to take regular breaks outside, and consider installing energy efficient (and healthier) LED lighting for a softer and less detrimental artificial light.
2. Get into Goal Setting
Nothing focuses people like knowing why they are working for something and what the ultimate outcome is going to be. Make sure that you give your teams goals and objectives to meet, with a robust system of measurement in place in order to ensure that your employees know how to continue to move forward. Making your office goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reasonable, Time-limited) will ensure the best outcomes for you and your colleagues.
3. Reduce noise pollution
We have already blogged about the ways in which noise pollution can affect your employee productivity, but it really does bear repeating! Overcome the niggles, and often more serious health concerns, associated with noise pollution by investing in quality secondary glazing such as Glaze & Save InvisiTherm to reduce noise pollution by a minimum of 48%.
4. Ensure good air quality
It’s equally important that you ensure the air quality of the office is good. Ill-fitting windows can increase the influx of pollution from outside to inside, so it is important to invest in a secondary glazing product that effectively seals the area such as InvisiTherm. Then, in order to improve indoor air quality, invest in pollution catchers to clear pollutants from the air.
5. Reward a job well done
Making sure that your employees are well paid with good incentives is just the tip of the iceberg. Reward teams for good performance; invest in company nights out and events to reward staff and boost morale; consider other perks of the job that will make your employees healthier, happier and ultimately more productive. Healthcare, childcare, gym memberships and cycle to work schemes are just some of the extra rewards that will encourage employee loyalty.
6. Keep your office comfy
Well not too comfy! But having a comfortable work station with ergonomically designed desks, chairs and computer stations will make your employee’s day more comfortable, and greater comfort means greater productivity.
7. Or offer home working instead!
Allowing remote working is not only cheaper and more energy efficient for your business, but it can also boost staff morale; allowing for more time with family or pets. It also allows your employees to avoid the dreaded rush hour commute, meaning that as soon as your employee clocks on, they are fresh, raring and ready to go- instead of dealing with the stress of an hour on the train or a walk in the rain! Home workers might even be more willing to convert some of those saved commuting hours into some extra working hours for the business. However…
8. Set out clear and defined working hours
Everyone needs to pull a few extra hours out of the bag at the office from time to time. However, it is important to establish a culture of defined working hours: the old adage of “first in, last out” is really an example of presenteeism (i.e. being at work but not necessarily doing anything useful!) and most studies show that staying late at work is subject to the law of diminishing returns. Set clear hours and get the most out of your employees between those times.
9. Invest in draught proofing
There can be few things more off putting in the workplace than dealing with a cold draught on the back of your neck! Not only that, but draughty workplaces can lead to staff illness and discomfort. It can even be a source of noise pollution! A well draught proofed office will ensure comfortable, predictable air flow and a higher level of comfort for staff. If you have metal windows, rent your office space or simply want a non-invasive draught proofing solution, consider Glaze & Save InvisiSeal; rubberised liquid silicone draught proofing that creates a complete seal around windows and doors without causing any damage to your original windows.
The Scottish House Condition Survey 2016 report was published yesterday (5 December 2017) and found that 26.5% (or around 649,000) households in Scotland were fuel poor and 7.5% (or 183,000 households) were living in extreme fuel poverty in 2016.
This demonstrated a decline of around 4 percentage points; equivalent to around 99,000 fewer households living in fuel poverty compared to 2015. This is the lowest rate recorded by the Scottish House Condition Survey since 2005/6 and the same level as 2007.
While almost two thirds of the reduction in fuel poverty has come from a drop in the price of domestic fuel rates over the period of 2015 and 2016, a third of the drop can be attributed to improvements in energy efficiency.
In 2016, 39% of Scottish homes were rated as EPC band C or better and half had an energy efficiency rating of 66 or higher (SAP 2012). This is similar to 2015 but an increase from 35% in 2014, the first year in which data based on SAP 2012 is available.
This study demonstrates that energy efficiency can have a massive effect on a household’s ability to get out of fuel poverty. The steps that households can take do not need to be expensive or impractical.
As we have previously discussed in our blog on fuel poverty, there are several things that individuals can do to to tackle fuel poverty in their own households.
While the main causes of fuel poverty, rising fuel costs and lower wages, isn’t necessarily something we can do much about individually, there are still several steps you can take to tackle fuel poverty:
For a handy guide containing dozens of home energy improvements that cost very little (or are completely free) you can check out Glaze & Save’s free Home Energy Hacks Guide , where you can get the details of a plethora of tips, tricks and products to reduce energy consumption in your home.
This week we look at two Edinburgh
customers whose single glazed windows were causing them nothing but trouble!
Both customers lived in listed or conservation area buildings where replacement
double glazing would have been time consuming, costly and wasteful: Glaze &
Save to the rescue then!
The first customer lived in a listed flat with 9 original single glazed windows, some with working shutters. The windows were draughty and massively inefficient, leaking heat and leaving the property feeling cold. As is common in many Edinburgh flats, noise from street and surrounding areas was also an issue.
What results did we achieve?
All Glaze & Save installs allowed for complete use of the shutters: were the only secondary glazing on the market that allows for full use of your original shutters!
This Edinburgh maisonette was situated in a conservation area, and like so many of our customers, still had all of its original single glazed windows. Some still had working shutters too. These windows were exceptionally large for a domestic dwelling with the windows at the rear over 2.4 metres high. With the windows losing heat, draughty and with terrible condensation, the homeowners had installed 3 different kinds of secondary glazing fitted with varying degrees of success.
What results did we achieve?
This customer was particularly impressed with our results, stating “I’ve got my home back: no more ugly secondary glazing, no condensation, no noise and a lovely warm draught free home. Thank you Glaze & Save.”
Glaze & Save
can transform your single glazing into double glazing (or double into triple glazing!) without replacement of your existing windows, with no redecoration or planning permissions required. Contact us here
to arrange your free no obligation survey.
change and our over-consumption of resources becomes bigger news and a more
prevalent concern with every passing year, many businesses are asking
themselves how they can become carbon neutral, or at least reduce their carbon
footprint, in order to become more environmentally responsible while creating a
more sustainable and profitable business.
Indeed, the big players have been working on becoming carbon neutral for years now , with Microsoft announcing in 2012 its intentions to become carbon neutral at its data centres, software development labs and office buildings, and Google being carbon neutral since 2007; an astonishing ten years.
But what if you don’t have the resources of Microsoft or Google? In fact what is you are a small business…is it possible to become carbon neutral, or at least reduce your impact on the environment to a more sustainable level? Luckily, there are many things that you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. The added advantage, particularly for smaller businesses, is that they can save you money.
Now really is the time to start kicking your carbon reduction strategies into gear. According to The Carbon Trust, SMEs could collectively save nearly £400 million per year in energy costs , and over 2.5 million tonnes of C02, by reducing their carbon footprints, but a YouGov and Scottish Power survey of 1,000 small businesses showed that more than 60% of those surveyed did not regard energy efficiency in the workplace as a key priority.
What does carbon neutral mean?
Carbon neutrality , or having a net zero carbon footprint, refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered or offset, or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference. It is used in the context of carbon dioxide releasing processes associated with transportation, energy production, and industrial processes such as production of carbon neutral fuel .
Why reduce your carbon footprint?
The need to reduce our carbon footprints and become a more sustainable and environmentally friendly society is not a new concept and we are no doubt all aware of the eco-conscious reasons for turning our business focus to carbon neutrality. But in these economically difficult times, we also need to consider wider reasons for adopting a carbon neutral stance.
Co2Balance.com gives a list of six reasons why companies need to reduce their carbon footprint: for legislation and policy reasons; to reduce operational costs; to provide ever-more climate savvy customers with environmental data; to create a point of distinction against competition; to enhance the green image and brand of a company, and to increase investor potential. When taking all of these factors into consideration, aiming for carbon neutrality provides much greater potential benefits to businesses beyond the obvious environmental imperative.
So now that we have the preamble out of the way, let’s look at ways in which you can reduce your carbon footprint in your small business.
Changing the behavior of yourself and your employees is the cheapest and easiest way to start implementing carbon conscious practices into your business. For example, lighting a typical office overnight can waste enough energy to make 1,000 cups of tea . You can check out our blog on 6 Simple Behaviour Changes to Save Energy and Money for more great ideas that you apply to your business.
Introducing a robust recycling policy into your business is a sure fire way to reduce waste sent to landfill and reduce your carbon footprint. Getting your employees involved in activities such as Recycle Week can really help them make the connection. You can find out more about how much we love Recycle Week here .
Go Paper Free
Making a commitment to going paper free can make a huge difference to your carbon foot print. By reducing dependence on paper products and converting to a web-based communications such as email or cloud sharing, you can reduce your reliance on resources. We wrote a blog on creating a zero waste office that has loads of information on going paper free.
Reduce Commuting Emissions
The majority of people drive to work in their own cars, causing frustrating traffic jams, but also creating a vast amount of carbon emissions. Encouraging staff to car share or use public transport is a fundamental aspect of any strategy to reduce carbon emissions. Where practical, walking and cycling should also be encouraged. Staff can be encouraged to bike to work by implementing the Cycle to Work Scheme in your workplace.
Ethical Supply Chains
Although potentially costly to set up, an ethical supply chain can save you a huge amount of carbon emissions while becoming less expensive in the long run. Glaze & Save has made it a priority to operate an ethical supply chain since the inception of the company. Check out Acre’s blog on the benefits of an ethical supply chain .
Draught proofing your workplace can save around 15% on energy costs, while increasing productivity and employee satisfaction. It’s also one of the quickest energy efficiency improvements you can add to your premises, and is a requirement of the Scottish Government under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act. You can read more about the benefits of draught proofing your office in our blog, where we list five benefits of draught proofing your workplace .
Ensuring that you and your employees are energy conscious can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint, as well as saving your business money. Check out our 8 Tips to Make Your Employees More Energy Aware as well as our 12 Quick Tips to Save Your Business Energy and start reducing your energy consumption today.
Choosing an ethical energy supplier will ensure that the energy you do use comes from sustainable sources. You can find out more about choosing an ethical energy supplier in our blog .
Sometimes producing carbon emissions in the course of your business is unavoidable. However, you can reduce the environmental impact by offsetting your carbon emissions. This is most frequently done through tree planting projects and forest creation or by purchasing carbon dioxide credits and not using them. For a more thorough guide to carbon offsetting check out the guide at Duport .
Glaze & Save’s bespoke magnetic secondary glazing and innovative liquid draught proofing products are easily applicable yet powerful ways to increase the energy efficiency of your commercial premises, helping reduce energy bills, increase employee productivity and tackle your carbon output. Contact us here for your free no obligation survey or call on 01738 562 068.
Properly maintained Crittall or metal-framed windows can last
for decades if not centuries and have the potential to create a stunning façade
in historic buildings. However, to ensure that your metal-framed windows stand
the test of time it is important to understand the best way to maintain and
care for them. Luckily, we have some handy tips to help you maintain your metal
windows to keep them efficient, in-tact and looking good for years to come.
Metal-framed windows date from the mid-16th century and were popular until the 18th century until they experienced a resurgence in popularity during the Victorian age. Prior to the 18th century, metal-framed windows were individually crafted, usually in wrought iron, cast iron or mild steel, and required an intense amount of skill on the part of the craftsman to create each window.
However it was with the pioneering technology of Sir Henry Bessemer , who innovated a process for producing cheap mild steel in the 1850s, that metal windows became a commercially viable product to produce en masse in a factory setting.
The market for steel windows came to be dominated by the main manufacturer of the time: Crittall Windows Ltd . The origins of Crittal Windows Ltd go back to 1849; however, it was not until 1884 that the company began to manufacture metal windows, they’re name becoming synonymous with metal framed windows whether produced by Crittall or not!
With proper maintenance and care, metal windows can last for centuries and often remain as the most prominent sign of a buildings history and original fabrication. However, when protective coatings are not tended to corrosion of the fabric of the window can occur. This is particularly true in the case of pre-1950s ungalvanised steel windows, where corrosion and rusting can be seen mostly frequently, although wrought iron and cast iron frames can also be affected. The Society for the Prevention of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) details the effects that this corrosion can have on the integrity of the windows:
“Corrosion leads to the loss of original material, staining on adjacent surfaces and, as the metal expands, cracked glass and split masonry at fixing points (the latter being termed ‘rust jacking’).Other potential problems include the fracturing of cast iron because of impact or casting flaws, and the distortion of wrought iron or mild steel following forcible closure of casements where there is paint build-up.”
Corrosion and degradation of metal-framed windows can be avoided by engaging in regular routine maintenance of your windows. The following work should be carried out on a regular basis:
· Opening Casements should be regularly checked to ensure they are free of grit, dirt, insects and paint flakes;
· Hinges and pivots should be lightly lubricated on an annual basis to ensure their smooth operation, although it is worth bearing in mind that lubrication is not recommended for friction-type hinges which may swing too freely if lubricated;
· Weatherseals should be inspected to ensure unfettered operation, and any traces of paint removed as this is the most common cause of failing weatherseals;
· Putty, mastic, etc should be inspected on an annual basis and removed and replaced if required.
Dealing with Rust
Homebuilding.co.uk provides a handy step by step process to dealing with remedial rust issues, where full restoration is not required. Where the rust only affects the surface of the window this can be removed with a wire brush; however it is important to take precautions where it is suspected that red lead may have been used as a primer. If the rust is superficial and easily removed with a brush then it is important to apply a good quality zinc primer to the frame. Stripping multiple layers of old paint from your metal windows may also help increase their functionality, but again, caution is advised where there is a possibility that lead paint may have been applied to the window in the past.
In the event that rusted sections are corroded through, wrought iron window sections can be cut out by a professional and welded back in. However, cast iron is almost impossible to weld and may require cold-metal stitching.
Dealing with Draughts
With corrosion, warping and generally inefficiency of older glass technologies, metal-framed windows can be extremely draughty. SPAB recommends that in draught proofing metal framed windows the opening casements require to be eased and adjusted to ensure that the window is optimally positioned for draught proofing. If draughts are still an issue this can be remedied by applying a silicone draught proofing product in the gap. This is where a product such as Glaze & Save’s InvisiSeal™ comes into its own, as its non-invasive liquid silicone fabrication means that it can fill any gap in the frame, creating an air tight seal while remaining virtually invisible.
Crittall windows are also especially well served by secondary glazing, as the application of a supplementary glazing system can tackle the draughts, energy inefficiency and noise issues that are characteristic of older metal-framed windows. While traditional secondary glazing would require a clunky frame to be constructed around the outside of metal frame, Glaze & Save InvisiTherm™ is a discrete design that can be installed inside the window frame, or when in conjunction with InvisiSeal™ draught proofing, can be applied directly to the glaze, keeping your metal-framed window entirely in-tact and colour matched so as to be virtually invisible.
Living in a historic building can be loaded with challenges, but energy efficiency needn’t be one of them. In fact, whether your building is listed, in a conservsation area or built prior to 1919, retrofitting energy efficiency improvements can be done without disturbing the historic character or aesthetic of your property, and in some cases may not require planning consent.
A key component of historic building construction is the use of breathable materials which absorb atmospheric and environmental moisture into the fabric of the building and release it again without detriment to the building.
Maintaining the building's ability to control moisture levels in this way is fundamental to its effective thermal performance. When looking after or making changes to your home you therefore need to use materials that are compatible with it.
It is therefore important to bear in mind that the additions and changes you make to your historic building will be quite different to those that you make with a modern building where the building construction and materials are usually designed to keep moisture out.
Assessing You Historic Property
It is important to take a holistic view of your historic building in order ensure that the energy efficiency measures carried out are adequate and thorough.
The first step is to ascertain how you use energy in the property. A family home will have a quite different energy useage to a commercial premises and this must be considered before making energy efficiencies. Examine how rooms are heated, and when they are heated; look at the use of appliances, the energy awareness of the people using the building, etc. Once you have an understanding of how energy is used in the property you can then move assessing its performance.
It’s also worth looking at the construction and condition of you historic building, fixing any issues that may cause energy inefficiency prior to investing in additions. For example damp walls, exposed roofing, and ill-fitting windows are all structural issues that can affect the thermal efficiency of you historic property. Now is also the time to track down sources of draughts, condensation and cold spots.
One of the main things you can do to increase the energy efficiency of your historic building is to invest insulation, as around 35% of heat can be lost through a building’s roof and a further 25% lost through the walls.
However there may be access issues in insulating older buildings; for example loft space may be restricted and underfloor insulation may not be possible. Added it this is the importance of ensuring that air flow and breathability is preserved to reduce the likeliehood of condensation and rot.
It is therefore important to choose natural and breathable materials when insulating your historic property. For example, sheep’s wool is a great choice for loft insulation, and wood fibre and cork are suitable for wall insulation.
Historic properties have a reputation for being draughty, and draughts in themselves can be a huge source of discomfort and thermal inefficiency. For example, older buildings can lose around 15-20% of their heat via draughts alone. Added to this is the need to ensure adequate ventilation to avoid damp and condensation; therefore draught proofing an older property is something which requires a degree of consideration.
Draught proofing is certainly one of the least expensive way, save for behavioural change, to improve the energy efficiency of a property, and usually has a compelling payback time. Simply caulking obvious gaps, electrical outlets and cracks can reduce draughts for virtually nothing, and an old fashioned draught excluder by the door can do much to improve thermal comfort.
However some improvements require a professional solution, particularly with windows. From Historic England:
“About one fifth of a home's heating is lost through windows. Most of that escapes through air gaps rather than through the glass. Research has shown that air infiltration through a sash window in good condition can be reduced by as much as 86% by adding draught-proofing. And it has the added advantage of reducing noise and dust.”
Glaze & Save invisiSeal is a liquid draught proofing product that effectively creates an air tight seal around windows and external doors, giving exceptional energy savings with a great payback time. Perhaps best of all, unlike draught proofing brushes, it is completely non-invasive leaving your original windows entirely intact.
Improvements to your Windows
Heat loss through windows can represent anything from 19% to 30% of the heat loss from you property, particularly in the case of original sash and case windows. Their high U-Value and single glazing make their construction particularly inefficient. Using heavy curtains, closed an hour before sunset, utilising shutters and investing in insulating blinds are all temporary measures to increase the thermal efficiency of your window area.
For a more lasting solution to inefficient windows, without resorting to wastefully replacing your windows (and going through planning permission hell!) it’s worth considering secondary glazing, particularly one as discrete and effective as Glaze & Save InvisiTherm.
Secondary glazing traditionally gave great noise and draught reduction benefits, with some effect on thermal comfort. However, for a long time the only secondary glazing products on the market where those that threatened to compromise the aesthetics of traditional window aspects. It tended to consist of bulky metal frames with heavy glass units which were difficult to move and clean, as well as posing safety issues. It’s no wonder secondary glazing had such a bad name!
InvisiTherm™ from Glaze & Save is a unique polycarbonate magnetic secondary glazing product that is discrete and almost completely invisible both inside and out. This innovative polycarbonate magnetic secondary glazing turns your single glaze windows into double glazing without replacement or redecoration; saving energy, reducing noise, and saving you money with a compelling payback time. Our invisible magnetic secondary glazing system has many benefits over traditional secondary and double glazing, including reduction in heat loss, reduction in noise pollution and no need for any permissions.
Have you signed up to receive our FREE Home Energy Hacks guide? Get it here and experience a warmer, more energy efficient home today!
kitting out a new office, or simply looking to become more environmentally
friendly, looking for ways to create a zero waste office not only boosts your
green credentials, but also is a great way to save money. So without further
ado, here are our five top tips to create a zero waste office that is as
professional as it is eco-friendly.
1. Unplug the printer
These days, documents can be shared instantaneously and numerously with email, cloud sharing, and easily read on phones, laptops, tablets amongst other devices. So why are you still printing things out? Make it policy to simply stop printing documents. If it’s necessary, then use recycled paper, and print on both sides. Also be sure to purchase refillable ink cartridges to save money and resources even if you do need to use your printer. At Glaze & Save, we only print out our guarantees and recycling letter for customers: everything else is stored electronically. The little we do print uses recycled FSC approved paper, using ink from refillable ink cartridges. Not only does it save resources, it saves a fortune!
2. Say goodbye to sticky notes
Those ubiquitous brightly coloured sticky notes might be good for catching your eye with must-remember details, but they can’t be recycled on account of the glue that is used to make them oh-so sticky. Use an app on your computer, invest in a corkboard to pin recyclable notes, or even a blackboard for the ultimate in reusability. If you usually use sticky notes to remember one specific thing, save it in the notes section of your phone or set labelled alarms.
3. Make a mug of yourself
No we don’t mean making a fool of yourself! Provide reusable ceramic crockery, cutlery and mugs for your employees and encourage using them over disposable alternatives. Encourage your employees and colleagues to give up their wasteful on-the-go coffee habit by providing good quality coffee at the office, but be wary of coffee pods. Not only are they extremely expensive, but they usually cannot be recycled. Stick to products in reusable or recyclable packaging, and provide a composting bin for used tea bags and coffee grounds.
4. Make do and mend
Instead of purchasing box fresh furniture, repair, repurpose or upcycle what you already have. Or if you need to buy new furniture, then check out listings for second hand furniture and office clearouts online or in your local listings. And don’t forget to donate or sell on your own furniture once it’s no longer needed!
5. Down with disposables
When purchasing supplies for the office, think reuse and recycle. Buy binders made from recyclable materials that are also sturdy enough to be reused over and over again. Use refillable pens rather than disposable and utilise paper clips rather than staples. You can also obtain good quality solar powered calculators, rechargeable batteries and a host of waste-free bits and bobs.
Glaze & Save are finalists in the 2017 VIBES Scottish Environmental Business Awards in the Environmental Product or Service Category. We are committed to reducing the waste in our installation process, where we recycle over 95% of the waste produced from our installation process. Reduce you’re the energy consumption of your office while dealing with an ethical small business by contacting Glaze & Save today for your free no obligation survey today .
Damp can be
a real problem in historic and older buildings and can render otherwise
beautiful spaces virtually uninhabitable and creating misery for homeowners and
tenants. While much is made of rising damp in historic buildings, it is often
misdiagnosed and ineffectively treated, causing further issues in the building.
As stated in Timber and Lime:
“Buildings don’t spontaneously erupt into a case of rising damp. Damp is a symptom (albeit an unpleasant one) of other problems. Quite often it is actually due to far simpler issues, such as interior or exterior modifications to a building.”
Symptoms of Damp
There are a variety of different ways that damp can present itself in older buildings, and this in itself can make the identification and treatment of damp in older properties more difficult. As the water moves through the building fabric, damp presents itself in different ways including but not limited to:
· Blistering of paint
· Salts forming on masonry
· Discolouration of paintwork
· Peeling wallpaper
· Mould, fungus and rot
· Wood boring insect infestation
· Increased levels of condensation on cold surfaces
· Musty odour and/or humid atmosphere.
Wherever damp is suspected, it is important to enlist the expertise of a professional who is familiar with historic buildings, who may utilise damp meters and thermal imaging to confirm the presence of damp.
Some of the most common weak points are succinctly summed up by Period Living:
“ Common weak points include:
There are a variety of different causes of damp in historic buildings including leaks in the roof, defects in walls and masonry, moisture from the ground and inadequate ventilation.
Perhaps the most common cause of damp in historic buildings is the failure of plumbing throughout the property. Even the tiniest drips from pluming can be the cause of intense and serious damp, particularly if it has gone unnoticed for several years. Hairline cracks in tiles when combined with high pressure showers can also create damp problems. Homebuilding.co.uk suggests to check for corroded water pipes concealed in the walls; new plumbing for central heating, kitchens and bathrooms which drips when first used; failing waste pipes in older bathrooms, and damaged seals around baths and showers as possible sources of plumbing leaks.
Homebuilding.co.uk advises that when gutters at the eaves leak, the outside wall will come into contact with water for a short distance. However leaks in other gutters can leak directly into the roof space which can be difficult to track down. Common signs include splattering from gutters which then splash water onto the walls, or tracks of water in the roof which may follow roof timbers.
Condensation is simply moisture that collects on a cold surface in a home, ordinarily the windows but sometimes on the walls as well. The air cannot hold the water and therefore droplets or a fine mist is deposited on the cold surface. The damp caused by condensation often ends up developing into a spotted black mould, but is usually easy to spot as it will be in a cold spot and will display surface moisture.
The worst offenders for condensation is the moisture we produce in our homes through day to day living. Cooking, boiling kettles, air drying laundry, baths and living with pets all produce excess moisture that can manifest as condensation.
Rooms that’s have been heated after lying empty for some time can experience damp on the surface of the plaster. This is due to previously damp plasterwork retaining salt residue from earth and masonry which then reabsorbs fresh moisture in the air causing patches of damp on the plaster. According to Period Living:
“Salt can normally be brushed or vacuumed off, but shouldn’t be washed as it can seep back into the wall. Where plasterwork is heavily contaminated, the only remedy may be to hack off the affected area and replace it with new lime plaster. But first rectify the source of damp and give the wall time to dry out.”
One of the most important things you can do to stop damp from being an issue in historic buildings is to ensure that the breathability of the walls is not compromised. Old buildings were built to allow the building to “breathe”, that is to say they allow water to pass through them with the assistance of temperature and air pressure. As explained in Heritage House:
“The ‘breathing’ analogy is a convenient way of understanding frequent exchanges of air from masonry to atmosphere and back again. If air drawn into the wall is humid, and the wall cools below dew point then water vapour in the humid air condenses as water droplets in the pores of the masonry, though the wall will still appear ‘dry’. During warmer and drier times, some of this water will evaporate and leaves the wall as it breathes out. Even walls which seem dry will contain water, the amount varying with changes in the season and climate. If there are salts or other hygroscopic (moisture-attracting) materials in the masonry, the amount of water drawn into (and retained in) the wall can be sufficient to make the wall visibly damp, even in dry weather.”
Ensuring that old walls are treated with breathable materials both internally and externally will allow the natural cycle of water ingress and expulsion to continue, thus reducing the chances of damp forming.
Balance Insulation and Ventilation
While it is important to have a well-insulated home to stay warm and protect against the elements, historic buildings require insulation to be balanced with ventilation. In past times, our chimneys would have provided a fair bit of ventilation, but with the advent of central heating and the tendancy to over insulate homes, ventilation can be a real issue in older properties.
“Try opening windows across opposite sides of rooms to allow cross ventilation. The other issue is with insulation - with high fuel costs we are keen to use lots of insulation to keep heat locked in and reduce our energy bills. Unfortunately, by doing this, we hinder the required ventilation, which leads to condensation issues. Installing extractor fans, drimaster eco systems or heat recovery units will help increase much needed ventilation and reduce condensation. Install extra air bricks to allow ventilation.”
Changing you behavior is one of the best things you can do reduce condensation. You can read more about condensation in our blog post here . But consider small changes such as producing less moisture by drying washing outdoors; avoid using paraffin or bottle gas heaters which produce a lot of moisture; cover your pans when cooking and close internal kitchen and bathroom doors when steam is being produced to stop moisture spreading to the rest of the house; and using trickle vents properly.
You can also consider InvisiTherm bespoke magnetic secondary glazing as a means to reducing condensation on your windows. You can read about how we cured condensation in an Edinburgh listed flat here.
Unlike other secondary or double glazing options,
Glaze & Save InvisiTherm
can actually eradicate condensation from your windows. Call now on 01738 562068 to arrange your free no obligation survey, or email
for more information.
changes, evolves and improves, and it almost goes without saying that the savvy
consumer looks to keep abreast of the latest in advances in order to increase
thermal comfort, energy efficiency and hopefully even property value. So one
cannot fail to notice that little by little, the glass and glazing industry has
been compelling consumers to trade in their double glazing for triple glazing,
often under the guise of improving energy performance.
And yet, the uptake of triple glazing has been slow to say the least. This is a technology in its adolescence; lauded in developments such as Passivhaus, and the building standard in Scandinavia.
“Yet, years down the line from that, from what I can see, we are nowhere near triple glazing taking off in any meaningful way. And when I mean triple glazing, I mean the stuff with units that make a tangible difference i.e. TGUs that are 44mm or wider. Anything less and there’s no point.”
Carrying out a simple Google search, the Double Glazing Blogger was able to show that searches for double glazing still outstrip tripe glazing searches at a vast rate:
The results of that search term query are fairly conclusive. Search traffic for “Double Glazing” continues to far outstrip that of it’s triple glazed counterpart. There isn’t even a slight rise in that red line throughout the last 12 months. Most new products in our industry that I have done previous Google Trends searches on have shown at least some slight improvement since their introduction. Aluminium windows, timber doors, composite door, bi-folding doors have all shown good upward growth on Google Trends charts when I have featured them in previous posts. Triple glazing must be the worst performing one by far.
So why aren’t people going for triple glazing?
Consumers are becoming savvier all the time, and with triple glazing costing on average 30-50% more than double glazing , we expect to see results to match the price tag.
The Telegraph’s resident building expert had some scathing words about triple glazing marketing in response to a confused reader’s question on heat loss, saying:
“This firm appears to be using “technobabble” to confuse its customers – that is language which sounds scientific, but is meaningless.
As with most “double glazing” or “triple glazing” adverts, what is actually being sold here is replacement PVC-U windows, so a true comparison would need to include figures for the heat lost by conduction through the frames, compared with through existing timber window frames (if that’s what you currently have). Customers are often surprised to find that PVC-U is a worse insulator than timber.
If you look at glass on its own (without the frames), triple glazing is around 30 per cent better than double glazing. Even quadruple glazing is only 48 per cent better. And don’t forget that the more panes of glass you have, the less daylight will be able to enter your rooms. ” (Emphasis mine)
So triple glazing is around 30% better than double glazing? That must make it worth the money then, right? Erm, not necessarily. As referenced by the Double Glazing Blogger above, the triple glazing units that make the most tangible difference are of 44mm or above. Standard triple glazing units tend to be supplied between 28mm-44mm. As pointed out by Glass On Web:
“A 28mm unit with 1 low-e coating will achieve a centre pane u-value of 1.3, in this configuration, triple glazing would not be more energy efficient than a double glazed unit.”
In fact, Glass on Web states that the minimum standard for triple glazing ought to consist of a minimum overall unit thickness of 36mm (4-12-4-12-4) with 2 Low e coatings, Argon cavity gas and warm edge spaces used to join the glass panes together.
It would seem that, in order to get the best benefits of triple glazing, full window replacement with 44mm thick, Low E coatings and wood units is the only way to guarantee tangible results above modern double glazing, or even secondary glazing products like InvisiTherm. With potentially massive costs and long payback times to look forward to, it’s no wonder that consumers are looking towards alternatives to triple glazing.
So is there a way to get the benefits of triple glazing without buying into expensive and potentially ineffective triple glazing units?
If you have older double glazing and want to experience a lower u-value, greater thermal comfort and a reduction in noise pollution without the hassle, waste or expense of replacing your existing windows with triple glazed units, then InvisiTherm’s bespoke magnet secondary glazing is a great option.
InvisiTherm’s innovative polycarbonate secondary glazing can be installed on top of existing double glazing to achieve a lower u value and better noise insulation, while eradication condensation and increasing thermal comfort, all without the need to replace your existing windows.
It’s Halloween and it’s time to revel in all things spooky! So that means our love of all buildings listed and historic takes a darker turn as we look at Scotland’s top six haunted listed buildings.
Dare you spend a night in any of
Glamis Castle, Angus
Glamis Castle in Angus is a category A listed building , with ground that are included on the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland . It is also widely known as one of the most haunted places, not just in Scotland, but in the whole of the United Kingdom. Glamis Castle has numerous spectres and ghouls stalking it rooms and corridors.
The family chapel is said to be haunted by a Grey Lady. This sad apparition is said to be the spirit of Lady Janet Douglas, burned at the stake as a witch on fabricated charges of plotting to poison the King. Her ghost has been seen in the chapel on multiple ocassions. She is also said to appear above the Clock Tower.
The mutilated spectre of a women with no tongue is also said to haunt to
castle, where she has been seen running around the park or staring out of a
barred castle window, pointing to her tongueless face. A stone seat by the door
of the Queen’s bedroom is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a young boy;
a servant said to have been treated badly two hundred years prior.
Perhaps the most infamous ghost to haunt to grounds of Glamis Castle is Alexander, Earl of Crawford, better known as Earl Beardie. By all accounts, the Earl was a cruel and wicked man, and one night stalked the halls of the castle shouting and cursing for a partner to play cards with. Upon finding a partner, he excused himself from the game to poke out the eye of a servant peeping through the door. On his return to the game, he found his partner had been the Devil himself, and that the Earl had inadvertently sold his soul to the Devil as he cursed in the castle halls.
His spirit is said to wander the castle, and there have been reports of children waking to find the figure leaning over their beds. He is also said to be gambling for all eternity in a secret room with the Devil, people have reported loud swearing and the rattling of dice.
The Edinburgh Vaults is a category B listed structure consisting of a series of chambers in the nineteen arches of the South Bridge in Edinburgh. The Vaults were completed in 1788 and were initially intended to house taverns and tradesmen, but quickly degenerated into a place of ill repute housing brothels, illicit materials, and even said to be where notorious serial killers Burke and Hare hunted for their victims.
Conditions in the Vaults deteriorated rapidly, and the businesses left, leaving the Vaults to become slum housing for the very poorest of Edinburgh’s citizens. Their lives were wretched, living in damp, dark conditions with poor air quality and no sanitation. Many people died in the squalor of the Vaults.
According the paranormal investigators, the Vaults is one of the most haunted locations in the world. The most famous ghost is “Mr. Boots,” an evil spirit who is said have been a murder in life, and kept the body of one of his victims in his vaulted home. This malevolent spirit attacks those who dare sit in the spot where he kept the dead woman, and can commonly be heard stomping the vaults in his thick, heavy boots.
The vaults are also
plagued with the ghost of a child who tugs on the clothes of women and children
visitors, and that of a well to do gentleman with a sinister presence.
Airth Castle, Falkirk
Airth Castle is a category A listed buildin g, largely of medieval construction, overlooking the village of Airth and the River Forth . The castle currently operates as a hotel and spa, but is said by many to be haunted: it even has Tripadvisor reviews complaining of how haunted it is!
Many ghosts and apparitions are said to haunt the castle and its grounds. These have included sightings of a nanny with two young children who are said to have died in a fire at the castle. It has also been widely reported that children can be heard playing in several of the rooms. Heavy footsteps can also be heard, along with the screams and cries believed to be those of a maid who was attacked by her master and left to die.
Not only that, but there is said to be the ghost of an ankle biting dog roaming the hallways! Quite the array of ghouls.
Ackergill Tower, Caithness
One sad ghost is sad to haunt Ackergill Tower, that of a beautiful young woman named Helen Gunn. Kidnapped to be the wife of the castle lord John Keith, she flung herself from the highest tower of the castle to escape the advances of her captor. Her spirit is said to still be seen on in and around the castle grounds.
Queensberry House, Edinburgh
Queensberry House is a 17th-century Category A listed building in the Canongate , Edinburgh , and now part of the Scottish Parliament. It has a somewhat macabre past, being the home of the apparently unpopular 2nd Duke of Queensberry.
The Duke’s son, James Douglas, was said to have been kept a secret for years and was chained up in the ground floor rooms as a “wild madman”. Legend has it that on returning from a night of canvassing, the Duke found to his horror that James had escaped his chains, and sat in the kitchen devouring the flesh of a young kitchen boy, the body still turning on a spit.
Unsurprisingly, given the gruesome nature of this story, the building is said to be haunted by the ghost of the poor kitchen boy, and James Douglas is better known as the Mad Earl of Drumlanrig .
Birkwood Castle, Lesmahagow
Birkwood House, affectionately known as Birkwood Castle to local residents, is a category B listed building an former psychiatric hospital in South Lanarkshire. It was built around 1860, making it the youngest building on our list. But that does not make it any less attractive for ghosts. Indeed the building has been designed with many hidden rooms that can only be accessed from the castle tower.
Apparitions include the smell of cigar smoke throughout the building, and footsteps heard in empty corridors. The former hospital is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a small boy riding a bicycle while clinging to a teddy bear. A sobbing girl can also be heard throughout the building.
Bristo Baptist Church is the second oldest Baptist Church in Scotland, founded in 1765. However, this long established church has a lively congregation who move with the times: a perfect match for Glaze & Save InvisiTherm™ .
The church is a B Listed church in a conservation area in Queensferry Road, Edinburgh, with nine 6.8m high windows. The church was suffering from a serious cold problem, resulting in serious under-use of the church halls and discomfort and chilly fingers for the congregation! Something had to give.
We installed our bespoke magnetic secondary glazing on all nine of the lead glass windows, splitting the systems at 3.4m to allow for easier handling and removal. At 6.8m high, these were easily the biggest windows we have installed on to date.
We achieved some great results for the parishioners:
· An average of 5 degree internal increase in temperature was recorded over a period of one month.
· The InvisiTherm™ install has taken the glaze area from 5.5 U-Value to 1.7 U-Value approx, the same as standard double glazing.
· Dramatically lowering the thermal conductivity due to the proportion to the wall area thus increasing the thermal insulation.
· Noise reduction is well over 60%, having a dramatic improvement on the ambiance of the sanctuary.
· Aesthetically very pleasing with parishioners having to be told about the install as it is virtually invisible.
Not only is the church experiencing fantastic thermal and noise reduction properties, it’s also had a knock on effect on the use of the hall. Previously, the hall was so cold that it was only used for services and one choir practice per week. Now, there are multiple clubs, activities and meetings in the hall every day of the week; giving this beautiful building a new lease of life and providing some extra revenue for the church.
All in all, a complete success! We have now installed in multiple churches across Scotland, remaining sympathetic to stained glass, leaded windows and crittal windows while providing an energy efficient near invisible finish. Contact us here to arrange a free no obligation survey of your church today.