28th of September, 2021

We are delighted to announce that Finderne Development Trust has received an enablement grant from the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) * to contract with Locogen, a renewable energy consultancy company, to carry out a comparative evaluation of the various renewable energy options available in the vicinity of Rafford Village Hall.

This enablement project is part of FDT’s much larger project to develop community-led affordable housing in Brockloch, Rafford. The outcome of this enablement project will steer the development of appropriate renewable energy and energy efficient factors in the final design of the 12-unit affordable housing proposal at Brockloch.

The renewable options to be considered by Locogen include ground sourced energy from vertical boreholes in the development site itself or via a horizontal heat collection matrix from the recreation ground adjacent to Rafford Village Hall, and air source heat pumps.

During FDT’s initial community consultation in 2018 affordable housing was identified as being key in growing a vibrant, sustainable, and balanced community. FDT anticipates that the provision of community led affordable housing in Finderne will make a significant contribution to the community’s ability to attract and retain the economically and socially active families needed to support local services and businesses, and thereby act as a catalyst for rural regeneration within Finderne.

* “The Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES)was established by the Scottish Government to encourage local and community ownership of renewable energy across Scotland and to help maximise the benefits to communities of renewable energy systems – whether commercial or community-owned.

CARES aims to accelerate progress towards the Scottish Government’s target of 2GW of renewable energy to be locally or community owned by 2030, and to assist with delivering the Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy through the provision of loan finance, grant funding and specialist advice. CARES is managed by Local Energy Scotland, a consortium made up of Energy Saving Trust, Changeworks, The Energy Agency, SCARF and The Wise Group, with support for delivery from Ricardo Energy & Environment and QMPF. For more information, visit www.localenergy.scot

Renewable Heating Systems

  • Air source heat pump
  • Ground source heat pump
  • Biomass boiler
  • Solar thermal

Air Source Heat Pump

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Typical costs: £6000-£11000

Air source heat pumps are becoming very popular and are being installed in many newbuilds and existing homes around the country. They are extremely efficient and produce more units of heat than they consume units of electricity. Air source heat pumps extract heat from outside air and concentrate it through the refrigeration process to heat your home. Heat pumps produce low grade heat (35 – 50 degrees centigrade) which is low than gas/oil central heating systems which usually flow at 60- 80 degrees centigrade. This reduction in heat requires greater surface area of radiation. Often households install underfloor heating and/or larger surface area radiators in order to maximise radiation of heat into the home. It is recommended that the building is well insulated and draught proofed before installing heat pumps as to prevent heat loss and gain their best efficiencies.

Ground Source Heat Pump

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Typical costs: £8000-£18000

Ground source heat pumps use the same principles as air source heat pumps, except they use the ground to source the heat. Ground source heat pumps use underground tubing to extract heat from the ground which is then concentrated through the refrigeration process. Underground heat is more consistent year round compared to air temperature which drops in winter (when you need your heating most). The ground heat extraction can be laid horizontally if space is available at a depth of 1-2m or straight down a borehole if space is more limited. Ground source heat pumps cost more to install than air source heat pumps due to the groundworks and particularly where a borehole is required as specialised machinery is involved. The extra cost does offer efficiency gains over air source heat pumps and the government pay higher Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) tariffs per kWh which can help combat the extra expense.

Biomass boiler

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Typical costs: £7000-£18000

Biomass heating systems generate clean, green renewable heat by burning wood in the form of pellets, chips or logs. Burning wood in biomass boilers releases the same amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as was absorbed while the plants or trees were growing. This makes biomass technology a carbon-neutral form of renewable energy.

A biomass boiler does exactly the same job as a conventional heating system – providing central heating and hot water – they just do so by burning wood or biological materials. There are 2 types of biomass boiler which are differentiated by whether the fuel is fed to the boiler manually or automatically. Manual models will mean that you have to feed the fuel into the boiler yourself, and also clean out the ash each week. Automatic biomass boiler on the other hand, take care of the cleaning and refuelling themselves. However, biomass boilers take up much more space than conventional boilers so aren’t the most suitable renewable technology for all homes.

Solar Thermal

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Typical costs: £4000-£6000 (2-4 panels)

A solar thermal heating system uses the sun’s heat to warm water for your home. This hot water can be used to supply your wet central heating system, taps and showers. So you won’t be using your boiler so much which will save you money. However, solar thermal alone is unlikely to be able to meet your total hot water demand. On average, solar thermal owners find they get between 40-70% of their hot water with free solar energy. The rest needs to be topped up by the boiler. Solar thermal panels look very similar to solar PV panels but they turn the sun’s energy into heat rather than electricity. They are usually fitted to a roof where they will absorb the most sunlight. And each panel includes tubes of fluid which, when exposed to sunlight, absorb the sun’s heat. This fluid travels down into your home where the heat passes through an exchanger coil to heat water in a cylinder.

Get in touch with Finlay to learn more.

Email: finlay@findernedevelopmenttrust.com

Phone: 07483136538

Cavity Wall Insulation

Cavity Wall Insulation Explained

Many cavity walls can be insulated by injecting insulation material into the cavity from the outside. A specialist company will drill holes in the outside walls, inject insulation through the holes and then seal them with cement. The insulation material is usually either mineral wool or polystyrene beads, but polyurethane foam may sometimes be used instead.

To insulate your cavity walls, the installer drills small holes around 22mm in size at intervals of around 1m in the outside wall of your home. The installer then blows insulation into the cavity using special equipment. Once all the insulation is in, the installer fills the holes in the brickwork so you’ll barely notice them.

Filling cavity walls is not a job you can do yourself, you will need to employ a registered installer. A professional can do the job in around two hours for an average house with easily accessible walls. It shouldn’t make any mess.

Costs and savings

Typical installation costs of cavity wall insulation vary depending on the size of your home. But whether you live in a large detached house or small flat, you should be able to make back the installation cost in five years or less due to the yearly energy bill savings you will make. As a rough guide, £800 is what you can expect to pay to install cavity wall insulation in a detached house. Annual energy savings could be as much as £200/ year on a detached home (EST).

You might be able to reduce these costs by carrying out the work at the same time as other home improvements or by not tackling the whole house at once.

Is cavity wall insulation right for your home?

If your house was built in the last 20 years or so, the walls are probably already insulated. To find out whether they are, you can do the following:

  • ask a registered installer for a borescope inspection. The installer will drill a small hole in your external wall to see if your walls are hollow or filled
  • check with your local authority’s building control department

Your home will be suitable for standard cavity wall insulation if it meets the following criteria:

  • its external walls are unfilled cavity walls
  • your cavity is at least 50mm wide, and is clear of rubble
  • the masonry or brickwork of your property is in good condition
  • the walls are not exposed to driving rain
  • your house is not at risk of flooding

You will need an installer to carry out a survey to check that your house is suitable. If so, they will then be able to insulate your walls using mineral wool or polystyrene beads.

If your house has narrow or uneven cavities, is in an exposed site or there is a risk of flooding, then it may be possible to fill the cavity with polyurethane foam. This is more expensive than standard cavity wall insulation but is a particularly effective insulator. You will need a specialist foam insulation installer to survey your home for this, and to carry out the work if suitable.

If you have any damp patches on your internal walls then they should not be insulated until the problem is resolved. Speak to a builder who specialises in damp prevention.

If your home’s external walls are joined to another house, the installer will need to insert a cavity barrier to contain the insulation so your neighbours aren’t affected.


The installer should be a member of one of the following organisations:

Check whether the installer is signed up to a code of professional practice and that the installation is guaranteed for 25 years by CIGA, or through an independent insurance-backed guarantee.

Get in touch with our Home Energy Efficiency Project Coordinator – Finlay McCulloch to find out more.

Email: finlay@findernedevelopmenttrust.com

Phone: 07483136538