Fuel Poverty is a serious problem in Scotland. As energy
tariffs get higher and wages stagnate, more and more households find themselves
struggling to cope with the monthly or quarterly utility bills and can end up
in fuel debt, ill health, or living in homes which are just too cold. Inspired
by some great training and advice from Home Energy Scotland Strathclyde and
, today’s blog takes a look at what Fuel Poverty is, what causes it,
what its effects and impact is across the country, and what we can do to stop
The U.K as a whole is the “cold man of Europe” , where we rank 14th out of 16 for fuel poverty in Western Europe, and a worrying 16th out of 16 for the proportion of people who cannot afford to adequately heat their homes.
What is Fuel Poverty?
It’s easy to talk about “fuel poverty” but what do we actually mean by the term? Energy Action Scotland , which Glaze & Save is a member of, uses the Scottish Government’s definition:
A household is in fuel poverty if, in order to maintain a satisfactory heating regime, it would be required to spend more than 10% of its income on all household fuel use.
A household is also said to be in extreme fuel poverty if it is required to spend more than 20% of household income on all household fuel use.
As of 2015, there were 748,000 households in fuel poverty with 203,000 households identified as being in extreme fuel poverty.
What is a “Satisfactory Heating Regime”?
To maintain a satisfactory heating regime, the Scottish Government states that the following conditions must be met :
The currently accepted, satisfactory heating regime means achieving for elderly and infirm households a temperature of 23°C in the living room and 18°C in other rooms, for 16 hours in every 24. For other households a temperature of 21°C in the living room and 18°C in other rooms should be achieved, for a period of 9 hours in every 24 (or 16 in 24 over the weekend) - with 2 hours being in the morning and 7 hours in the evening.
Does your household meet the satisfactory heating regime?
Of course, the actual heat of the household, real and perceived, will depend on many different factors such as the preferred thermal comfort of the home; the make-up of the household (babies, the elderly, working adults, etc.); the type of heating available in the household; the weather; the number of occupants of the household; the energy efficiency of the property and the affordability of the available heating methods.
Although official figures are lower, the End Fuel Poverty Coalition puts the number of ‘fuel poor’ households in the UK at 4.5 million. Many people are spending more than they can afford, or going without what most consider a basic human need.
Fuel Poverty is about more than just feeling the cold. Ongoing fuel poverty can lead to a host of negatives issues arising, such as householders need to make the choice between heating and eating; the accumulation of fuel debt; physical and mental health issues; disrepair of properties and householders and their families being forced to make other sacrifices (such as going without holidays, new clothes, etc.). In all, an existence in fuel poverty is not a happy or healthy one. In fact, there is a proven link between fuel poverty and cardiovascular, circulatory and respiratory diseases .
What causes Fuel Poverty?
While many people would automatically blame ever-rising fuel prices as the main cause of fuel poverty, there are actually several other factors that contribute to the incidence of fuel poverty. These other factors are arguably more easily tackled than rising fuel costs!
Other factors that influence fuel poverty include:
· Lower incomes
· Poor energy efficiency of properties
· Under occupancy of homes
· Aging population who generally require warmer household temperatures.
· Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency and fuel poverty are inextricably linked. According to the End Fuel Poverty Coalition , 96% of fuel poor homes in the U.K are poorly insulated, and there are 21 million homes in the U.K with poor energy efficiency (defined as being below a Band C on an Energy Performance Certificate. You can find out more about Energy Performance Certificates here ).
The Energy Saving Trust estimates the percentage of heat lost from various areas of a house as follows:
· Walls 33%
· Roof 26%
· Windows 18%
· Doors 3%
· Floors 8%
· Draughts 12%
Of course, these figures depend on the type of property you live in and the type of energy efficiency measures you already have installed, but it is easy to see how important retrofitting energy efficient measures to your home can be for tackling fuel poverty in the home.
The Government’s Role in Tackling Fuel Poverty
According to the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 , the Scottish Government is was required to eradicate fuel poverty as far as reasonably practicable by November 2016. That target has not been met and a new target is to be announced in autumn 2017. http://www.eas.org.uk/en/target-to-eradicate-fuel-poverty-in-scotland_50553/
Local authorities also have a duty to tackle fuel poverty through their Local Housing Strategies .
What can Individuals do to Tackle Fuel Poverty?
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.
· Contact Home Energy Scotland for a Home Energy Check During the Home Energy Check, the staff at Home Energy Scotland will make you aware of energy efficiency measures that you can carry out, changes in behaviour that could save you money, and link you up with potential funding options to help make your home more energy efficient.
· Adopt more energy efficient behaviours For example, making simple behavioural changes such as turning off appliances and closing curtains before dusk can save you £130 per year.
· Consider retrofitting energy efficient technologies in your home For example, Glaze & Save InvisiTherm reduces heating bills by 22.5% in rooms with treated windows.
· Maximise your income Contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau to find out which benefits you may be entitled to.
· Switch you energy supplier Using a comparison site makes it easy to find the best energy deal.
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.
It’s never too early to ensure your stately home or historic property is ready for winter: and October is certainly not too early! Stately and historic homes are part of our built heritage and deserve to be kept in the best of conditions for now and for future generations. A little bit of care and attention now can ensure that these beautiful buildings stay in picture perfect and energy efficient condition for years to come.
Speaking in Country Life magazine , former Chief Executive of the World Monuments Fund, Dr. Jonathan Foyle, drives home the importance of maintenance in stately homes. He explains: “Our culture of throw-away convenience has made maintenance a dirty word. It shouldn’t be! Maintenance enables us to take our own preventative and remedial action. Repair encourages owners to make a gentle, hands-on contribution to their buildings with the glow of satisfaction at having added a complementary layer to their history. I repair and repaint my own windows, and enjoy the feeling of having understood better, and properly looked after, the house that shelters my family.”
According the Historic England, regular ongoing and small-scale maintenance can be the key to ensuring your historic building is kept in shape. By keeping on top of smaller maintenance tasks, much larger repair bills can be avoided.
There are a number of organisations, such as the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings , that give practical advice for the upkeep and maintenance of historic buildings, and also offer face to face training and have developed a number of useful guides and prompts to help remind you to do maintenance safely.
The Architectural Trust also gives full details of developing a maintenance plan advising that “developing a maintenance plan—and committing to stick with it—is an effective way to manage the routine maintenance tasks that are essential to extending the life of your historic property. Not only does maintenance preserve the integrity of your property’s original historic and character-defining features, but it also prevents major building system failures and provides a safe environment for the occupants.”
Measures to increase energy efficiency
Not only is it important to develop a maintenance plan for the coming winter months, equally it is important to looks at energy efficiency measures that can be implemented before the temperature really drops. Perhaps the most obvious measure that would benefit stately homes in their pursuit of greater energy efficiency is properly insulation of the walls and roofs. Due to the age and vast size of many of these buildings, proper insulation throughout stately homes is usually lacking, particularly where the buildings have uninhabited wings.
Beyond the obvious, however, it has been found that most stately homes would benefit from having a combination of two or more energy saving measures installed, along with alternate fuel sources. This may seem like a vast undertaking, and it is, but it is not impossible.
There are other measures that have been employed by the National Trust for Scotland , who have installed InvisiTherm secondary glazing in several of their properties, most notably in Drum Castle and Castle Fraser. The installation of polycarbonate secondary glazing can make a five degree difference in unheated rooms; but even in rooms that are heated, a reduction in energy costs of 22.5% minimum can be expected.
The National Trust for Scotland have also tackled the issue of draughty old buildings, and their associated energy inefficiency, by installing InvisiSeal liquid draught proofing in Drum Castle. Draught proofing alone can reduce energy bills significantly, for a relatively small outlay, meaning that it has a compelling payback time. The difference it has made to the National Trust for Scotland shows that stately homes, however grand and imposing, can be made to be more energy efficient, cheaper to run and will be around for much longer for us all to enjoy.
Glaze & Save InvisiTherm is installed in National Trust for Scotland properties across Scotland and is installed in many stately homes. Our unique bespoke magnetic secondary glazing is perfect for stately and historic homes. Contact us here to arrange your free no obligation survey.
We’d like to thank Historic Environment Scotland
for providing such detailed and relevant
information for free as part of their Inform: Information for Historic Building
Owners series of leaflets and factsheets. For more information on their full
range of Inform titles go to the Historic Environment Scotland Publications Page.
Fire is the single biggest threat to the occupants, building fabric and contents of any building, but traditional buildings are particularly at risk. According to Historic Environment Scotland , between 2007 and 2009 there were over 900 recorded fire incidents in Scotland’s listed buildings. With listed buildings making up only a small fraction of traditional (classed as pre-1919) building stock, these numbers give a small insight into the scale of fire damage to traditional properties.
Traditional Building Construction
While fire safety is nothing new, traditional buildings tended to be built without any deliberate fire protection measures. As a result of this, traditional buildings tend to be particularly vulnerable to fire and its effects. This is due to a number of factors, including the heavy use of timber in construction of traditional properties; combustible linings; hidden voids; open roof spaces and previous uncontrolled building alterations.
Luckily, good housekeeping and placing fire prevention at the forefront of your mind can ensure that most fires are prevented. As long as one works to keep the three key “ingredients” of a fire from meeting (oxygen, heat, fuel) then maintaining a hazard free environment will become second nature. The main focus of any fire prevention plan should be to maintain a hazard free environment; keep fuel sources and potential heat sources separate from each other; and being vigilant of hazards and removing or controlling them.
Identifying potential heat sources
There are many potential heat sources that could potentially ignite a fire. These include, but are by no means limited to, faulty wiring, overloaded sockets and extension leads, defective electrical equipment, misused portable heaters, smoking, candles, cooking, open fires, and unswept chimneys.
Identifying Potential Fuel Sources
In a domestic setting, the potential fuel sources for a fire are numerous and can include furniture, textiles, paintings, carpets and rugs. Attics and roof spaces can be of particular concern since they tend to store an array of loosely stored household items that may include a mixture of ignition and fuel sources. It is therefore important to ensure that attics and roofspaces are kept well organised.
Furthermore, depending on the age and construction of the building, many of the building elements may also add to the overall available fire fuel sources, such as wall and ceiling linings, timber flooring and the supporting roof structure.
Identifying Oxygen Sources
Open windows and doors can often provide enough oxygen to feed a fire. That is why it is important to ensure that good compartmentation is practiced in buildings to create fire tight cells, redicing the amount of oxygen available to a fire. Within one’s own home, closing doors, particularly at night, can assist in cutting off oxygen supply to a fire.
While prevention is always the preferred course of action, once a fire is in effect fire protection measures are essential to ensuring the protection of building occupants in the event of a fire.
Creating Fire Compartments
As mentioned above, compartmentation contains the outbreak of a fire within the area of origin. Vast continuous spaces and voids typical of traditional buildings are the antithesis of compartmentation. It is therefore important to consider upgrades such as the application of fire retardant paints or varnish on timber elements such as doors, particularly internal doors; subdivision of roof spaces by inserting flexible or solid cavity barriers; inserting fire resistant materials into the void under floorboards.
Detection and Alarms
Fire detection is essential to life safety and should include standard battery smoke alarms, but also mains wired smoke alarms. Having both types will ensure you are protected in any eventuality. Heat detectors in kitchens can also be more beneficial over the issue of false alarms.
First Aid Fire Fighting
Including various extinguishers for relevant and likely types of fires, as well as ensuring building occupants are aware of fire extinguishing, protection and evacuation procedures can make all the difference. However, where fixing a fire extinguisher to a wall may be damaging to architecturally protected walls, free standing options are also available.
Fire in any kind of building poses a serious threat to life and to property. Wherever possible, a robust fire prevention plan should always be in place.
Glaze & Save InvisiTherm bespoke magnetic secondary glazing is completely fire retardant to Fire Class YB54 76 Part 7 . Don’t take a chance with cheap alternatives: InvisiTherm’s fire proof rating means that it wont go up in flames, shatter or blow out, reducing the available fuel and oxygen sources for a fire. Contact us today to arrange your FREE no obligation survey.
Living in the heart of Edinburgh is certainly where the action is, but with a young family in a basement flat in a busy location, Eleanor was finding the noise a problem. On top of that, the flat had a terrible condensation problem, with water regular pouring down her son’s bedroom window.
Living in a listed building, Eleanor at first went with expensive replacement slimline double glazing. “It was such a hassle, it took months to complete!”
Her experience led her to seek out other options for the family home. After finding that traditional secondary glazing would not accommodate the working shutters, Eleanor turned to Glaze & Save.
“The huge advantage,” explains Eleanor, “was the cost. We were only going to get one window done, but because of the great value combined with the HEEPS interest free loan , we decided to get the whole house done”.
Compared to her encounter with the double glazing installers, Eleanor was in for a pleasant surprise. “I couldn’t believe how quickly the installation was carried out! The team couldn’t have been here for much more than half a day”.
Since the installation of InvisiTherm into her home, the condensation has completely disappeared from her windows. “It might have taken two or three weeks,” says Eleanor, “but the condensation is completely gone”.
Not only that, but she finally has some quiet
in the house. “There is a noticeable difference in the noise. The flat is so
much more peaceful now”.
Glaze & Save InvisiTherm bespoke magnetic secondary glazing eradicates condensation without compromising your original windows. Contact us here
to book your free no obligation survey today.
We start off a new series here on our regular business blog, responding to commentary and advances in the secondary glazing, glass and construction industries. We hope you find these new pieces interesting: feel free to let us know in the comments!
A blog post back in September from The Double Glazing Blogger asked the question of why the pool of talent in the glass and glazing industry appeared to be shrinking:
"A chat with an industry friend of mine inspired this post. It was about fitters and where to find them. Turns out it’s not the easiest job in the world to find a fitter these days. Who knew?
We agreed that the talent pool of available fitters in our industry is actually more like a talent bath, soon to become a talent bowl. There seems to be less and less skilled workers out there available to installers who are wishing to grow and push on…
We all know that our industry has a severe shortage of skilled people that is only getting worse. In fact I don’t think we’re that far away from full blown break down. The country has been promised a swathe of three million new apprentices, but even if that does happen, how likely is it that a big enough proportion are going to come the window industry’s way?"
It seems that one of the issues underpinning the shortage of skilled, enthusiastic and ambitious talent in the glass and glazing industry may be the fact that a huge proportion of fitters engaged in the industry are not employed. Self-employment of fitters in the glazing industry I rife and some might say it is a massive turn off to attracting new blood to the industry.
It’s something that we’ve been aware of and keen to do differently at Glaze & Save. Our team of installers are employed by the company, and fully trained and equipped at the company’s expense. Why? Well, in the first instance it guarantees the quality of our installations and conformity of customer experience. We can be assured of the level of knowledge, training and experience each of our installers has, because they have been employed for their previous skills before being trained to our high standards.
We offer pay that exceeds the Living Wage, and are Living Wage Approved employers, as well as paid annual leave and flexible working hours. Offering such pay, conditions and training allows us to attract the best calibre of staff.
As the gig economy continues to grow and freelance, contracted and self-employed work becomes more commonplace, we will always strive to ensure that our workers have the security of employment. It’s not only good for our staff: it’s good for our customers, good for the company and good for business.
Glaze & Save offers bespoke magnetic secondary glazing and draught proofing across Scotland. We specialise in historic buildings, domestic and commercial, but our innovative system can be installed over any type of glass. Contact us here to arrange your free no obligation survey today.