HOMES UPGRADE: Work begins to retrofit homes in Portree 

Colin Caitens, Bailey McMillan, Steven Montgomery, Stuart Winton and Ryan Donnelly from Union Technical, part of the team working on the Shulishader Beag retrofit. Pic Andrew Woodhouse, Skye Commercial Photography

Glasgow-based energy services firm Union Technical has started work to retrofit 18 homes in Skye in a bid to help address the island’s ongoing housing issues. 

Work has begun on a £540,000 upgrade of the 18 terraced and semi-detached bungalows at Shulishader Beag in Portree, which were constructed in the 1980s.  

Union Technical is working to install new cavity wall insulation, solar panels and battery storage systems, air source heat pumps and ventilation upgrades, to improve thermal efficiency and help tenants make substantial savings on their energy bills. 

The properties are managed by Trust Housing Association, one of Scotland’s largest housing support and care providers. 

The energy efficiency upgrades at Shulishader Beag are due to be completed on Wednesday 12th July. 

Owen Coyle, Director at Union Technical, said:  “Union Technical has a wealth of experience working in Skye, and within the Highland and Islands area more widely, and our current project in Portree is a major milestone for us.  

“The cost-of-living crisis is having a significant impact in the islands, where food and energy prices are typically higher than on the mainland. Reducing energy bills and allowing that saving to be distributed in the community can only have a positive outcome.”

The work follows the publication of a report by Citizens Advice UK which found that 15 million British homes, housing 31 million people, are poorly insulated with energy performance ratings of level C or below.

The report, published in June, estimates that upgrading 13 million of these energy inefficient homes would deliver benefits of nearly £40 billion by 2030, saving consumers up to £24 billion on energy bills and saving the NHS £2 billion by preventing 6,000 excess winter deaths and cutting childhood asthma cases by 650,000.