Energy Efficiency refurbishment,

Land, Sea & Islands Centre,


Thanks to a Climate Challenge Fund grant the Land, Sea & Islands Centre, in the centre of the West Highland village of Arisaig, was made much more energy efficient during the first half of 2015.

The need for the work was driven by the inability of the existing heaters to keep the building warm during the winter, leading to a loss of valuable revenue for building owners Arisaig Community Trust.

While the main focus of the work included replacing windows with high performance timber-framed triple-glazed units and the addition of a continuous internal layer of woodfibre insulation, a lot of effort was put into passive moisture buffering to ensure appropriate conditions for the wide range of historical exhibits on show.

Before undertaking the refurbishment of the existing building MEARU (the Mackintosh Environmental Architecture Research Unit, from Glasgow School of Art) carried out Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) and occupant surveys . This was used to establish the thermal performance of the building and find out what volunteer staff liked and disliked about the building.

This identified a number of issues, including a pre-works airtightness value (Q50) of 18m3/hr/m2 - very draughty indeed!

MEARU’s work was also used to help develop the technical design proposals for the building, with some areas of insulation increased and others reduced to reflect areas of the building with greater or less heat loss.

Following the refurbishment MEARU carried out the same exercise, establishing that draughts had been reduced by nearly 90% (to 2.1m3/hr/m2 @ 50Pa), heat loss reduced by nearly 60% and that volunteer staff and visitors were much more comfortable.

Thermal imaging showed significant reductions in heat loss at tricky junctions and corners. The work was carried out by local contractors Knoydart Construction, who did a great job of exceeding the fitting the insulation and airtightness sealing measures.

The improvements have reduced the annual heating costs, allowing the Trust to use the building throughout the year and to better use funds for other community projects.

More details can be found here:

Contemporary Ecological ArchitectureHome.html

Thermal imaging BEFORE refurbishment

Thermal imaging AFTER refurbishment

Some of the work that was carried out

Re-fitting existing glasswool insulation in existing timber frame and roof; removing polythene sheeting to inside of timber frame; fitting 100mm rigid woodfibre insulation to inside of wall framing and roof to create a ‘tea cosy’!

Nice work by the contractors using twisted sheepswool to seal between new insulation and stone - an old boatbuilding technique!

Our fantastic team of contractors - Knoydart Construction Company