Heating improved for housing tenants

Falkirk Council is looking to improve the way council tenants heat their homes.

In 2011, a project got underway to assess and improve the heating within social housing, in order to meet standards set by the Scottish Government.

New guidance for Scottish Housing Quality Standards (SHQS) published in March 2011 included clauses on energy efficiency, whilst the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 set a statutory duty on the Scottish Government to remove fuel poverty in Scotland by November 2016. With both these pieces of legislation in place, Falkirk Council decided to improve the way thousands of homes are heated, by installing new heating systems.

Falkirk Council wants to provide as much support as they can for social housing tenants, who can often be vulnerable, so it is looking at the future servicing and maintenance implications of provisions. In addition it is also arranging for in-house maintenance staff to carry out any necessary repairs.

Often using gas instead of electricity can help to save energy and make homes more energy efficient however there are some homes which experience difficulty with their gas supply. As it is not always viable to have a gas system, which would make meeting energy efficiency standards easier, alternative heating methods have to be considered.

In terms of efficiency, electrical systems are not always the best systems to use, so Falkirk Council has had to consider the proposed changes carefully.

After much consideration on what would be the best system, the heat store system has been chosen for the project, as this method includes a hot water storage component. Heat store systems are essentially a hot water cylinder with the abilities of a boiler, so they can provide hot water and heating simultaneously.

Another benefit of heat store systems is the maintenance implications. The maintenance of heat store systems are quite minimal, unlike boilers which rely on gas and electricity, and the majority of the electrical components are readily available and inexpensive.

In terms of implementing this improvement programme, Falkirk Council is looking to identify properties which are currently failing the SHQS energy efficiency components.

The current contract value for the project up to the end of this financial year is £6 million. After various tenders, the preferred contractor was Neat Heat.

The council is working on making up future investment programmes – essentially they are trying to tie in not only the Housing Quality Standard but also to end fuel poverty.

In terms of the community benefit, Falkirk Council is trying to provide the same level of controllability to the heating systems of rural communities as urban communities and also provide a reduction in fuel costs.

Neat Heat

With over 25 years experience in the industry, Neat Heat is a Cumbernauld-based specialist working on the installation and repair of gas and electric heating systems and boilers.

Neat Heat’s business has been built on reputation which has been achieved through their high quality, friendly and professional service and has provided many satisfied, returning customers.

Neat Heat is thorough in their delivery, making them an excellent choice as preferred contractor on Falkirk Council’s Framework Agreement for Electrical Energy Efficient Heating Works.

They provide fully qualified engineers and all necessary joinery, building, plumbing, electrical work and disposal of redundant equipment is part of the service.

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