Tenants give top marks for house improvements

Council tenants Evelyn and Gordon Smart have given Midlothian Council “ten out of ten” for improving their cottage as part of a major programme to bring existing housing stock up to energy-efficiency standards.
​The Smarts with maintenance manager Jim Ross and Andrew Robbins.​The Smarts with maintenance manager Jim Ross and Andrew Robbins.
​The Smarts with maintenance manager Jim Ross and Andrew Robbins.

In the past year, Evelyn, Gordon and nine neighbours, have seen their homes transformed thanks to new windows and doors, underfloor insulation, solar panels, external wall insulation with new harling and an air source heat pump.

The 10 homes are among 31 council properties in Cousland, North Middleton, Temple and Carrington recently extensively upgraded to meet the Scottish Government’s Energy Efficiency Social Housing Standard (EESSH) by 2032.

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The EESSH aims to encourage landlords to improve the energy efficiency of social housing supporting the aim of warm, high quality, affordable, low carbon homes across Scotland.

In total around 5000 Midlothian Council homes will require some work to meet the 2032 standard but the majority won't be on the scale of the work done on the Smarts’ home. Evelyn said the improvements have made a “vast difference”, not just to their comfort but their bills too.

She said : “We’ve been here for 54 years, our daughters were born here.

“It used to take an hour just to get hot water and you’d be sitting with your jumpers on. Now you can get up in the morning and not be freezing. It has made a vast difference.

“And our electricity and heating bill is also reduced.”

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Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member for housing, Councillor Stuart McKenzie commended the council’s building maintenance service.

He said: “There are less stringent energy-efficiency standards to meet by 2025 but, like all the homes in Cousland, Evelyn and Gordon’s now meets the 2032 Energy Performance Certificate Band B rating so thanks to our teams, we’ve basically future-proofed their house.”

Evelyn also said that she cannot thank Clerk of Works Andrew Robbins and Maintenance Manager Jim Ross enough.

She added: “I’d give them a ten out of ten. I was dreading it, to be honest, but I needn’t have. It was not bad at all and everyone cleared up after themselves. It’s been a really positive experience, I can’t fault it.”

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