Scotland to pilot £10m loan scheme

Scottish_thumbThe Scottish Government has made it possible for more people to make their homes warm and water-tight through a new £10 million fund.

The pilot scheme in Glasgow, Argyll and Bute and Perthshire will provide equity loans of up to £40,000 to home owners on low incomes to help them make essential repairs to leaking roofs and building structures – work which is often necessary before energy efficiency measures like EWI can be installed.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart announced the pilot, commenting:

“Making sure everyone has access to a warm and affordable home is a priority for this Government which is why we have committed half a billion pounds over the next four years, meaning over £1 billion by 2021, to tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency.

“We know leaking roofs and poor building structures can drive up energy bills and make them more difficult to heat, but for low income households they can often be too costly to repair. 

“This £10 million scheme will provide households with loans to carry out essential repair work and install energy efficiency improvements. 

“This will help us make homes warmer and easier to heat, with our record investment already resulting in two fifths of Scottish homes now being in the top three energy efficiency ratings – an increase of 71% since 2010.”

David Bookbinder, Director of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations, said:

“It has always been clear that equity loan schemes offered by commercial companies won’t be attractive to owners. We therefore warmly welcome this Scottish Government pilot initiative which offers a really good deal for owners who have some equity in their property but can’t afford to pay regular loan interest.

“As well as facing the challenge of dealing with energy efficiency and other works in mixed tenure blocks, a number of community based housing associations would also like to work with their local council to tackle fully private tenements which are in poor condition and an increasing blight on the area. Widening the range of financial options for owners can only increase the chances of making this happen.

“GWSF very much hopes that the scheme can be expanded across Scotland after this pilot in three council areas.”

For more information on SEEP (Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme) Equity Loan Scheme , visit the Energy Savings Trust website.

Westdale Services win Insulation Installer of the Year

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Alumasc would like to congratulate registered installer Westdale for winning Insulation Installer of the Year at this years National Energy Efficiency & Retrofit Awards.

The National Energy Efficiency & Retrofit Awards were launched in July 2015 following the changes in Government Energy Efficiency Policy. Previously known as the Green Deal & ECO Awards, these awards were set up in 2014 to help motivate the energy efficiency sector in their delivery of the Green Deal Finance Initiative and Energy Company Obligation Scheme.

The aim of the Energy Efficiency & Retrofit Awards is to provide public recognition for the excellent work the Energy Efficiency sector is doing in implementing these schemes. And to help encourage best practice within the Energy Industry as it works to improve UK housing stock.

Alumasc has enjoyed a successful relationship with Westdale Services for many years, the award is richly deserved for their outstanding work installing high quality EWI systems.

Alumasc Achieves BBA Approval for U-Value Calculations

BBAHaving boasted a BBA Approved product portfolio for many years, Alumasc has further strengthened its service offer by gaining BBA Approval under the U-Value and Condensation Risk Competency Scheme.

The Scheme seeks to promote and assist accurate, objective and consistent calculation of U-Values and condensation risk within buildings.

To gain the Approval, Alumasc completed four separate stages, in which the appropriate technical competency and in-house procedural controls had to be demonstrated to ensure that calculations offered under the scope of the scheme will be accurate. Those stages were:

– an initial screening
– an office inspection
– validation and conclusions
– ongoing surveillance

Registration under the scheme provides reassurance to any specifier or user that the services or data being provided are supplied by an individual or company that has been subject to a rigorous independent assessment process. They can therefore be assured that this output is representative and reliable.

Alumasc also now have the facility to overwrite default u-values, which is particularly relevant for funded schemes where the carbon capture score is crucial. These calculations are obligatory for every funded project in Scotland.

For full details of the scheme, click here or download the Scheme Document

For more information, call Alumasc Facades on  +44 (0)3335 771 700 or email 

Zero Carbon Homes Amendment Replaced

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 15.42.34The House of Lords have accepted the Government amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill which sets a duty on the Secretary of State to review minimum energy performance requirements. It replaces the Lords’ amendment to reintroduce the central, carbon compliance element of the Zero Carbon Homes standard.

The review is described as “a full and comprehensive review of energy standards based on cost effectiveness and the impact on housing supply”. A briefing prepared by the House of Commons Library on the Housing and Planning Bill has been published which includes information about carbon compliance.

On publication, the Government said the Bill would kick-start a “national crusade to get 1 million homes built by 2020” and transform “generation rent into generation buy.”

The supply-side measures in the Bill are primarily focused on speeding up the planning system with the aim of delivering more housing. There is also a clear focus on home ownership, with measures to facilitate the building of Starter Homes; self/custom build housing; and the extension of the Right to Buy to housing association tenants following a voluntary agreement with the National Housing Federation (NHF).

View the bill in full here, or click on the image

Alumasc & Cornerstone Help Lift Residents Out of Fuel Poverty

An innovative scheme to install energy efficiency measures at a park home site in Elton, Cheshire is lifting vulnerable residents out of fuel poverty. The scheme is being managed by Cheshire West and Chester Council, part funded by National Energy Action. Approved installer Cornerstone have installed the Alumasc Swistherm EWI system improving thermal performance and providing an aesthetic transformation to the homes.Park Homes EWI

On average, park home residents are older and on lower incomes than the general population, and as a result, are more likely to be in fuel poverty. Due to technical challenges and a historical lack of funding, this is the first significant subsidised energy efficiency scheme in Cheshire West and Chester to target park homes.

Orchard Park is situated in a rural off-gas area within Cheshire and contains 109 privately owned park homes. All residents with non-insulated properties expressed interest in the scheme, with those living in the oldest park homes prioritised for works.

Site surveys and consultations with residents commenced in late 2015, with all measures on course to be completed by the end of April 2016. 48 propertiPark Homes EWI 2es will receive external wall insulation, with loft and underfloor insulation also installed where possible, along with heat recovery units fitted in 15 of the properties.

Monitoring of the thermal performance of the park homes before and after the installation of insulation and heat recovery units is being undertaken by National Energy Action. The installation of a range of product combinations will enable National Energy Action to make direct comparisons between the solutions, which will inform best practice in park home retrofit on a national basis.

All properties receiving insulation will feel considerably warmer. Residents will therefore use less energy in heating their homes, and will enjoy significant reductions in their fuel bills. The insulation will also refresh the external appearance of each park home.

Spending Review is Missed Opportunity for Energy Efficiency says INCA

INCA_logoThe joint Spending Review and Autumn Statement lacked ambition in its support for energy efficiency for both the existing housing stock and new homes the Insulated Render and Cladding Association (INCA) have stated.

The Chancellor announced that the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) will be replaced from April 2017 with a cheaper domestic energy efficiency supplier obligation which will run for five years and upgrade the energy efficiency of just 200,000 houses per year.

Any new scheme must be focused on those households in greatest need and there are more than seven million households in Britain living in draughty and expensive-to-heat solid wall properties, including almost half of the country’s fuel poor. In order to effectively tackle fuel poverty, the Government will need to go further than its commitment to help one million homes and make a meaningful start on addressing the solid wall housing stock. With the latest statistics from the ONS showing that there were almost 44,000 excess winter deaths in England and Wales last winter, the highest since 1999, the need for home insulation has never been more serious and the Government has missed a critical opportunity to prevent cold homes and unnecessary deaths.

Whilst INCA welcomes the announcement of around £7 billon of funding for new homes, the Government has scrapped plans to make all new UK homes carbon neutral from 2016 and there will be no incentive for these properties to be energy efficient. Irrespective of the lack of ambition from Government, as the leading trade association for external wall insulation (EWI), INCA remains committed to supporting its members to deliver both high-quality refurbishment projects that transform local communities and innovation and design in the new build sector.

INCA Chairman Pádraig Barry said:

“The evidence is clear that investing in energy efficiency measures such as EWI reduces carbon emissions and fuel poverty, creates growth in the UK economy and supports community regeneration and the new domestic energy efficiency scheme must deliver where it is needed most. EWI is an effective solution for all types of refurbishment and new build projects and INCA will continue to work with industry partners to promote the uptake of this innovative and vital energy efficiency technology.”

For further information, contact INCA on 0844 249 0040 or

For more information on energy efficient External Wall Insulation systems from Alumasc, visit, call +44 (0) 3335 771 700 or email

Scottish Government make energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority


The Scottish Government has announced a new raft of measures to tackle climate change, including a promise to make energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority.

The pledge which has been championed by 200 members of the Energy Bill Revolution means that Scotland will become the first national in the world to make this breakthrough.

Following a visit to a housing energy efficiency project in Dumbiedykes in Edinburgh (which has utilised Alumasc Swisslab EWI System), Climate Change Minister Aileen McLeod revealed the Energy Efficiency Programme will provide an offer of support to all buildings in Scotland – domestic and non-domestic – to help them achieve a good energy efficiency rating over the next 15-20 years.

One measure that both domestic and non-domestic properties could implement is External Wall Insulation (EWI) which totally encapsulates the building structure which is the most effective way of insulating a building, with least risk of cold bridging and interstitial condensation.

The Scottish Government recently announced the next phase of the HEEPS: Cashback Scheme and a new HEEPS: Loan Scheme to tackle fuel poverty. Homeowners, private tenants and for social landlords can apply for 75% of the cost of Solid Wall Insulation SWI up to a maximum of £4,500 and/or up to £1,200 for a range of other recommended energy efficiency measures.

Park Road Flats – West Lothian

Swisslab from Alumasc is the market-leading direct-fix EWI insulated render system for overcladding existing properties. It is extensively used to upgrade housing and strongly contributes to urban regeneration.

A number of refurbishment projects in Scotland have already benefited from the Alumasc Swisslab EWI system, including The Devonway Estate in Clackmannan and Park Road Flats in West Lothian.

Swisslab is a BBA Approved, fully warranted system with an effective life in excess of 30 years. Swisslab is fully weather resistant whilst remaining vapour permeable and allows the fabric of the building to act as a heat store, increasing thermal efficiency.

For more information, please visit, call +44 (0) 3335 771 700 or email

Government reaches one million home target for energy efficiency schemes

Energy efficiency measures have been installed in one million homes as a result of Green Deal Fund External Wall InsulationGovernment schemes, according to the latest figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

By the end of November 2014, the combination of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and Green Deal schemes had delivered measures to 1,021,000 homes – four months ahead of the March 2015 target DECC had set itself.

The large majority of installed measures (97%) were delivered through ECO.

Ed Davey, secretary of state for Energy and Climate Change, said:

“Helping to make one million homes in Britain warmer through energy efficiency is great news – and to hit our target early is even better.

One million extra homes already have permanently lower energy bills – whether that’s thanks to better insulation or more effective boilers. The challenge now is to continue this drive – and our next installment of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund is coming soon.”

Energy and Climate Change minister Amber Rudd

“More than one million homes across the country – including over 28,000 homes in rural areas – are enjoying a warmer, cheaper and greener winter thanks to our policies.

I want to see energy companies continue to deliver their obligations so more people can reap the benefits and stay warm this winter and every winter.”

However, following the Government’s announcement in December 2013 of proposed cuts to ECO, and an extension to its current targets, the number of measures installed under the scheme have showed month-on-month decline. November 2014 was no exception, with measures down 10% from the previous month.

The implementation of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) was intended to offset the changes made to ECO, but is only available for short periods when funds are released. The most recent phase of GDHIF saw £24m in funding for solid wall insulation – the sector considered most at risk from ECO cuts – swallowed in just over a day, with more funds to be made available in February 2014.

Up to a further £6 million is still up for grabs – homeowners can apply for up to £1,600 if they install two measures from a list of home improvements under the Fund.

If you require further information regarding the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund or ECO please contact Alumasc Facades on 03335771700 or visit our website


Government installs over one million energy efficiency measures


Over a million measures have been installed through the government’s various energy efficiency schemes since the beginning of 2013, according to the latest figure
s released by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Between January 2013 and the end of October 2014, 1,023,000 measures have been installed through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), Cashback, the Green Deal and the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF). Despite changes to the scheme meaning that it will have its targets significantly reduced, ECO has been responsible for 97% of these measures.

When last recorded by the DECC, over 819,000 properties had installed measures through the energy efficiency initiatives. DECC has promised to complete measures in o
ne million homes by March 2015; a target which it says it is “on course to achieve”.

DECC’s findings also show that despite the relatively low number of Green Deal Plans in use (just over 8,000, with less than half complete and therefore ‘live’), over 420,000 Green Deal Assessments (GDAs) have taken place since the scheme’s launch. Well over one million improvements have been recommended as a result of these assessments, however the majority of households are choosing not to pursue the Green Deal further.

However, in Foundations in Place, the first Annual Report for the Green Deal and ECO, the parliamentary under secretary of state for DECC, Amber Rudd, said: “Surveys consistently report that around 80% of those who received an assessment have said they have installed at least one recommended measure, or have active plans to do so.”

The most common measure to be recommended following an assessment was to improve a property’s loft insulation, which accounted for 14% of all recommended measures and was recommended in 45% of all GDAs. However, when taken together, almost 55% of recommended improvements were for some form of insulation. It is thought this is the reason behind the separation of solid wall insulation into its own fund within the second phase of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF).

DECC also published updated figures for the first version of the GDHIF, which closed after just six weeks when it was reported that the entire £120m fund was allocated. However, by the end of November 2014, there were over 20,600 active applications under the first GDHIF, totalling around £111m. DECC has yet to announce the allocation of the fund’s remaining £9m.

Ms. Rudd added that both the Green Deal and ECO will continue to undergo changes throughout 2015, with a reduction in ECO’s targets already confirmed for April.


If you would like any further information4 call (0) 3335 771 700 or email

GDHIF second release: funding fully allocated for solid wall insulation

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Up to £24 million worth of funding for solid wall insulation has been allocated to households in England and Wales through the second release of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) creating a pipeline of work for the industry to carry out over the coming months.

Applications for solid wall insulation have now closed, however, subject to terms and conditions, domestic energy customers can still apply for up to £6 million to make energy efficient home improvements through GDHIF, including:
– up to £1000 for installing two measures from an approved list;
– up to £100 refunded for their Green Deal Assessment if that recommends the measures applied for;
– up to £500 more if applying within 12 months of buying a new home.

Details of further releases of funding will be announced on a quarterly basis with the next release expected in February 2015. Funding is part of the additional £100 million for household energy efficiency measures announced in October 2014 which is in addition to the £450 million already allocated to household energy efficiency over 2014 – 17.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Amber Rudd said:

“The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund has been incredibly popular – it’s helping thousands of people have warmer homes and more control of their energy bills. Although the fund for solid wall insulation is fully allocated, there’s still money available now for a range of other measures and another release of funding is expected in February.

“More than three quarters of a million homes have already had energy saving improvements installed as a result of the Energy Company Obligation and Green Deal.”

Remaining funds are limited and DECC may vary the terms of the scheme (including the incentive rates) or suspend or close the scheme, with immediate effect, without notice and at any time.

If you require any further advice on energy efficiency or any more information regarding the Green Deal please contact Alumasc Facades on +44 (0)1744 648 400. Alternatively click here to visit our website.