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Caledonia Road, Hutchesontown, Glasgow

Caledonia Road, Hutchesontown, Glasgow



This project entailed the refurbishment of four 1960’s tower blocks on the south side of Glasgow. As part of a major improvement package by Scottish Homes, the intention was to improve these blocks by thermally upgrading to improve living standards and to reduce energy consumption by installing a district heating scheme serving all 4 blocks. A detailed study of the internal and the external environments was undertaken, looking at microclimatic effects such as wind impact on the site as well as energy needs - in order to improve the environment generally.


Balconies were 'glazed-in' to form sunspaces or extended living rooms depending on occupant needs and preferences. As well as low running costs for heating, the flats are warmer due to improved insulation and double glazed windows, and have the added amenity of the sun-space which collects free solar heat.

Other Energy Efficiency improvements are shown in the table below.


Before refurbishment

After refurbishment

Flat Roof

25mm internal insulation

50mm glass fibre insulation laid externally over-sheeted with aluminium


In situ concrete frame. External walling of 75mmprecast concrete panels- cavity (50 to 250mm) -100mm blockwork inner leaf.

External overcladding fitted, including 150mm mineral wool insulation



25mm insulation below floors



Timber framed single glazing

Replacement timber frame windows with double glazing (12mm air gap). Buffer zone conservatories to living room with double glazed windows and triple glazed fixed light panels. All with low-e glass.


Mechanical extract to kitchen, bathroom and linen cupboards

Trickle vents installed to window heads. Windows and doors draught-stripped


Off peak electric fires, off-peak storage heaters

Gas-fired central heating with one room thermostat per flat. On-peak electric fires in some flats

Hot water

110 litre hot water cylinder with 25m thick insulation jacket. On-peak electric immersion heater.

125 litre hot water cylinder (pre-insulated with 25 mm rigid foam lagging) fed from district heating system.





























External insulation improved U-value to less than 0.3

Low air change rates delivered - of the order of 0.5 - 0.75 per hour at 50 Pa being typical


The analysis shows that good SAP ratings were achieved. The estimated annual space and water heating costs were shown to reduce by 62% for the top floor 1-bed flat and 56% for the mid-floor 2-bed flat. The corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions are estimated at 49% and 33% respectively.


Estimated SAP ratings, and CO2 emissions before and after refurbishment:


Top floor mid-block 1-bed flat

Mid-floor gable 2-bed flat





SAP rating





CO2 emissions (tonnes/year)






Unfortunately due to the high capital cost of the full package of works around £25,000 per flat (around £3.5 million per block excluding external works and district heating system infrastructure), only two of the four blocks were completed and the other two were demolished.

However, tenants in the two completed blocks - in 1996 - reported heating costs as low as £1.50 per week - in line with the predicted costs.

These flats had already been internally insulated and as a result the addition of external insulated cladding and improvements to the communal areas served to enhance and consolidate work already done. By working with the community the solution has delivered real positive benefits, turning unpopular accommodation into a highly desirable community.

The fact that the external drying areas were available for pipework distribution meant that there was no need to decant tenants as disruption by the works was minimised. In addition, pipework sizes were reduced by using a medium pressure system for all external pipework. Pressures were then reduced at the point of distribution to the dwellings and all systems within the flats utilised conventional, well understood technologies which can easily be serviced by local tradesmen.

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