Mears is a trusted provider of a wide range of specialist housing services in Scotland, working across a number of local authorities and employing a total of 1,300 people.
Mears has been caring for residents’ homes for more than 25 years and delivers a range of property services, including reactive repairs, housing and facilities management, as well as planned and cyclical maintenance services to local authorities in Scotland. We hugely value our workforce and are proud to pay all of our employees the Living Wage alongside running a successful apprenticeship programme.
Mears is three years into a four-year contract with Aberdeenshire Council where we are, alongside other partners and the local supply chain, improving the local authority’s social housing with a focus on energy efficiency. This is part of the council’s 30-year business plan for improving council houses and flats.
Our initial work focused on kitchen and bathroom refurbs along with gas and quantum installs but has since pivoted to decarbonisation. Now in the third year of our contract, we are working across Aberdeenshire to adapt the housing stock, with a focus on energy saving measures.
Mears is installing Photovoltaic (PV) systems, also known as solar panels, on home roofs in Huntly, Inverurie, Kemnay and Turriff. We recently passed the milestone of 500 homes with solar panels installed in these areas. As well as the well documented environmental benefits, these will reduce the cost of energy throughout the day for the council, thus reducing tenant cost. Affordability and the reduction of fuel poverty is a significant priority at Mears, and we are proud to play our part in this by supporting the council.
Insulating Aberdeenshire’s homes is another sizeable element of our energy efficiency work. Mears fits existing homes in the area with External Wall Insulation (EWI) as well as installing Cavity Wall Refill in new buildings. Other carbon reduction schemes which we are implementing include
the installation of energy efficient electric heating systems and high specification window and door replacements.
Energy Efficiency in Aberdeenshire
Scotland has an ageing housing stock, with many older homes plagued by poor energy performance. According to the Scottish Government, heating our homes and buildings produces around a fifth of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Much of Aberdeenshire is remote and ruraland dwelling characteristics associated with lower energy efficiency are disproportionately represented in rural areas, meaning that the average energy efficiency profile of rural properties is lower than that for urban. In addition, fuel poverty is higher in remote rural areas, with fuel poverty rates between 2018 and 2019 increasing in remote rural areas (from 33% to 43%), increasing the gap when comparing overall urban (24%) to overall rural areas (29%).
Mears is supporting Aberdeenshire Council’s objective of delivering “high quality, energy efficient affordable housing”, as set out in the Council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan 2022-27.
Improving energy efficiency and making homes more cost-effective to heat will not only reduce carbon emissions but also help to tackle fuel poverty. According to Scottish Government statistics, fuel poverty is affecting almost 25% of the population including 12.5% of households who are in extreme fuel poverty.
Not only do fuel poverty rates increase in rural areas, a key issue for a number of Aberdeenshire communities, but there is a stark difference in fuel poverty rates in private sector housing (20%) versus social sector housing (37%).
Working in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council, Mears has adapted and shifted work towards energy efficiency across the social housing stock, which is home to 15% of Aberdeenshire’s population – making it the second largest tenure in the region after owner-occupied.
During summer 2022, we will reach the mark of 600 homes with solar panels installed by Mears across Aberdeenshire. It is expected that we will see 1,000 roofs adapted by next year.
We look forward to continuing to play our part in Aberdeenshire’s drive towards energy efficiency in social housing and addressing fuel poverty.
If you would like further information about how Mears is working to improve energy efficiency across Aberdeenshire, please get in touch.