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South Greenfield, Glasgow

South Greenfield, Glasgow

Extensive retrofit works to poorly insulated and neglected 1960s tenement flats. 


South Greenfield is a development of two, three and four bedroom tenements flats which were built in the 1960s. The homes were poorly insulated and public areas were neglected and vandalised. The Retrofit works entailed overcladding and environmental improvements. The thermal performance of the homes have been greatly improved and a bright modern appearance has helped to regenerate the area. 


The buildings are overclad with 80mm of expanded polystyrene insulation using the Alumasc ‘Swisslab’ system. The mineral wool loft insulation was increased to a minimum of 300mm and it is estimated this will improve the wall U-value to 0.25 W/m2K and the roof to approximately 0.2 W/m2K. One tenement of six flats has photovoltaic (PV) panels installed on the roof. These generate a total of 7.2kWp (1.2kWp per flat). This is the first time Shettleston Housing Association has used PV and is a pilot project involving their new in-house branch – Shettleston Energy Advice (SEA) – which will be monitoring the building's performance. Initially the design included PV panels for every close, but these were omitted due to cost considerations following the feed-in tariff reduction.

The area has suffered greatly from flooding in recent years, due to the area being at a natural low point in the landscape. Although not on a natural flood plain, the site suffers from poor drainage, both from the dense ground and the faulty road drainage.

While overcladding the buildings we have added periscope-type extensions to the solum vents, raising the vent terminals above floor level. This should provide greater resilience to any minor flooding in future.


Prior to work starting, the buildings were surveyed with infra-red thermography (IRT), primarily to discover areas of boss or delaminated render, but also to give useful information about the buildings' performance. As part of the programme to improve post occupancy evaluation, IRT images were taken after the overcladding was completed. These images show good results for the improved thermal performance of the buildings. 


When overcladding, quite a lot of contracts have simply left the external gas pipes in place and formed ducts either side of the pipework. It makes the work easy to arrange but it does mean there is a cold bridge at that location. Also, Scottish Gas Networks don't accept such work any longer unless there is sufficient space for them to get spanners in to uncouple couplings and advised that for this project that they would not accept ducts at all. In this case John Gilbert Architects had to arrange a separate contract to have all the gas pipes moved away from the wall so that the insulation could be installed behind them. The gas pipes were then painted to match the render finish.

 As most flats these days are heated with gas combination boilers overflow pipes connected to each boiler penetrate the outer wall. According to bye laws the end has to be formed into a return gooseneck so that any boiling water spills onto the wall and not directly down where it might, possibly, scald someone. The result is that many buildings suffer massive staining to their detriment. To avoid this, John Gilbert Architects designed a small metal plate that clipped over the overflow pipe and protected the wall surface where the outlet would spill any overflow in the hope that this will reduce the effect of staining caused when overflows run- see image below.

Detail Image Edit

South Greenfield has been prone to flooding in the past, so periscopic vents from low level to a higher level had to be installed and the Architects ensured that a higher density foam insulation was used at low level. Both these implementations reduce the risk of solums being flooded, or insulation being damaged should there be a flood.

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