Wyndford Housing Estate, a post-war housing scheme in Maryhill, Glasgow.

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Research Themes 
Sustainability
Architecture, Urbanism & the Public Sphere

Research Staff
Rosalie Menon
Professor Colin Porteous
Professor Tim Sharpe

Partner Organisation and Funding
Cube Housing Association

The Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit (MEARU) has built on years of research into energy-efficient housing to make a tangible difference to residents in aging housing stock in the west of Scotland. Research on housing at Wyndford has resulted in benefits to its residents as well as providing a viable model for helping to reduce fuel poverty in existing housing schemes elsewhere. 

Demolishing aging housing stock and replacing it with new affordable and energy-efficient homes is an intrinsically expensive strategy. Upgrading existing housing by providing modern fuel-efficient heating is a more sustainable solution. The housing at Wyndford was built in the 1960s and is made up around 2000 properties that were fitted with electric storage heaters. Current residents found these difficult to use and often supplemented them with other types of heaters that used a higher tariff of electricity, reducing energy efficiency and increasing costs fuel costs for residents. As a result, many residents experienced fuel poverty, either entering into debt to pay fuel bills or not heating their homes for fear of the cost.

An Options Appraisal undertaken by MEARU, building on years of research by the Unit on energy efficiency and sustainable housing, evaluated the available solutions at Wyndford. Its retrofit recommendations, implemented in 2012, included upgrading insulation and installing thermally enhanced window systems and external insulated cladding in selected housing blocks. MEARU’s recommendation of a new district heating system forms an important part of Cube Housing Association’s £27million regeneration of Wyndford and is leading the way in low-cost, environmentally-friendly energy. These measures have resulted in improved energy costs and comfort for the residents of this large-scale housing scheme, and enabled the Cube Housing Association to comply with the 2015 Scottish Housing Quality Standard and become a leading and innovative landlord and housing developer. Importantly, the Wyndford project also provides a business model for other housing associations and developers to upgrade to sustainable and energy-efficient heating in aging housing stock.