Welsh Railway Cottages Benefit From External Wall Insulation

25 October 2013

A group of railway cottages in north-east Wales have benefited from External Wall Insulation fitted as part of a Government energy efficiency initiative.

Dee Cottages – a collection of 42 cottages in Flintshire – were recently fitted with External Wall Insulation to help reduce the amount of energy lost through their walls. Funding for the scheme came from energy giant NPower as part of the Energy Company Obligation.

Originally built in the 1920s to house railway workers, today the cottages are home to elderly residents, one of the ‘at risk’ groups the Government hopes to help counter increasing fuel bills. Like many homes built in the early 20th century, the cottages had no form of wall insulation, meaning energy was being lost at an alarming rate.

To counter this, a decision was made to fit External Wall Insulation, despite it posing a number of obstacles. Firstly, the heritage of the cottages meant it would be necessary to preserve the historical appearance. Secondly, because the inhabitants were elderly, entrances and exits could not be blocked with scaffolding and building materials.

Project managers the Wales Co faced these obstacles head on. Together with HSE Utility Care, a local company selected to work onsite, the Wales Co chose to use cherry pickers instead of scaffolding, while the bricks selected to finish the insulation created a replica of the original. Furthermore, the project also saw the fitting of Rockwool, an alternative insulation material that also serves as a sound-proofing agent. Upon completion, residents found they were no longer subjected to noise from the nearby railway.

All of this was completed with Energy Company Obligation funding from NPower. The Energy Company Obligation provides non-repayable grants to low-income and at risk households that are used to make energy efficient home improvements, including home insulation.

Wales Co project manager Richard Evans said: “The money from NPower, ensured that the cottages were properly insulated and that a small, local business was able work on the project, when normally this would be impossible.”

“This is a great example of a tricky energy efficiency project, where the improvements have been made without any damage to the overall design,” NPower’s David Titterton followed up.

“If these historic cottages can be improved in this way, it shows that almost any house can have energy efficiency improvements.”

100% ECO grants are available to households in Wales whose main heating is electricity or solid fuel, while those not qualifying for a 100% grant will qualify for a grant of up to 50% towards External Wall Insulation.

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