In 2022, M-Four were appointed to conduct several feasibility studies for heating system replacements and energy efficiency improvements across four of Bield Housing Association’s sites.

As part of this project, we have also assisted Bield HA in business development and funding applications. Our primary considerations on this contract are demand reduction, as well as using combinations of low carbon heating technologies which would enable on-site electricity generation and storage.  

Who are Bield HA? 

For over 30 years, Bield HA have been providing Housing and Services to Scotland’s older people, with their priority being to enable them to live the life they want. This is reflected in their brand promise, ‘Free to be’. 

Bield HA are a not for profit Scottish Charity, as well as a Registered Social Landlord. They provide housing and support services to older people across 5,400 properties in Scotland, with experienced, dedicated, and passionate staff who uphold their tenants’ right to live as independently as possible, with the freedom to make their own choices. Their housing stock is exclusively retirement developments, which consist of single buildings with multiple dwellings, communal areas, and on-site support staff.  

Through the feasibility studies, Bield HA’s priority was to develop a pathway to reduce running costs for their tenants. To assess the suitability of technology options identified in the studies, M-Four took into consideration the associated reduction in carbon emissions, the impact on EESSH2 compliance, and capital installation costs including any potential grant funding streams to reduce investment required. 

Feasibility Studies  

We are undertaking feasibility studies across four of Bield HA’s sites: West Lothian, Edinburgh, Fife, and Argyll & Bute. As each site is unique, with differing heating systems and fuel sites being used across the sides, the considerations for ways to reduce running costs and carbon emissions is equally as varied.  

West Lothian  

At Bield HA’s West Lothian site, their water heating is supplied by communal gas boilers, with space heating inside the dwellings, and electric storage heaters supplying the communal areas. These energy methods means that the residents have high heating costs, with many of the residents not using their heating efficiently or at all, as there are concerns over receiving high bills.  

Through M-Four’s feasibility studies, we have deduced that the site has a very large south facing roof with huge potential for Solar PV, which will provide a communal heating solution to supply water, dwelling, and communal areas, as well as provide energy storage and substantially reduce carbon emissions.  

Edinburgh  

In Edinburgh, the retirement accommodation is currently supplied by gas boilers for communal heating & hot water. The building is well-insulated building, meaning that heating costs are relatively affordable to heat at present.   

Our feasibility studies are taking a focus on moving off away from this gas boilers which is currently a low-cost fuel for the residents, while still achieving running cost savings to tenants and carbon emissions reduction.  Alternative energy sources for the communal heating will be a focus of the study.  

Fife 

The site in Fife is connected to the Dunfermline District Heating Scheme which provides space and water heating to the building.  The Heat Networks utilises waste gases from the breakdown of food and garden waste from a local processing centre.  These gases are used to fuel Combined Heat and Power boilers which produce heat, which is then distributed around the network and electricity generated is exported to the grid.   

As District Heating Networks are a key tool in the path to net zero, our feasibility study is likely to focus on reducing demand, including potential design opportunities to increase efficiency of distribution of heat within the building, the beneficial impact of Heat Interface Units and Heat Meters, and on-site electrical generation and storage.  

Argyll & Bute  

At Argyll & Bute, the site is fully electric, with all dwellings and communal areas being heated via aged electric storage heaters.   

As this site has the least efficient heating system, there is ample potential for reducing tenant heating costs and carbon emissions.  

Want to know more?   

For more information on our feasibility studies or stock condition surveys, click here or contact our consultants directly at endfuelpoverty@m-four.org.