Council gets full marks for energy-efficiency improvements

Monday February 12th 2024

Smarts final

The Smarts are pictured with Clerk of Works Andrew Robbins on the right and Maintenance Manager Jim Ross on the left.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Council tenants Evelyn and Gordon Smart have given Midlothian Council “ten out of ten” for improving their cottage part of a major programme to bring existing housing stock up to energy-efficiency standards.

In the past year, Evelyn, Gordon and nine neighbours, have seen their homes transformed thanks to new windows and doors, underfloor insulation, solar panels, external wall insulation with new harling and an air source heat pump.

The ten homes are among 31 council properties in Cousland, North Middleton, Temple and Carrington recently extensively upgraded to meet the Scottish Government’s Energy Efficiency Social Housing Standard by 2032.

In total around 5,000 Midlothian Council homes will require some work to meet the 2032 standard but the majority won’t be on the scale of the work done on the Smarts’ home.

Evelyn says the improvements have made a “vast difference”, not just to their comfort but their bills too. She says: “We’ve been here for 54 years, our daughters were born here.

“It used to take an hour just to get hot water and you’d be sitting with your jumpers on. Now you can get up in the morning and not be freezing. It has made a vast difference.

“And our electricity and heating bill is also reduced.”

Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member for housing, Councillor Stuart McKenzie commended the council’s building maintenance service.

He said: “There are less stringent energy-efficiency standards to meet by 2025 but, like all the homes in Cousland, Evelyn and Gordon’s now meets the 2032 Energy Performance Certificate Band B rating so thanks to our teams, we’ve basically future-proofed their house.”

Evelyn says she can’t thank Clerk of Works Andrew Robbins and Maintenance Manager Jim Ross enough. She says: “I’d give them a ten out of ten.”

Despite the extent of the work, Evelyn says disruption was minimal. “I was dreading it, to be honest, but I needn’t have. It was not bad at all and everyone cleared up after themselves.

“It’s been a really positive experience, I can’t fault it.”

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