Bryson Retrofit Scheme

Ms A has lived in her home for 27 years. It is the house in which her father had grown up, so she feels an attachment to it. She described it as being “an older house, so actually, yes, there was lots needed doing to it”.

Ms A first thought of getting loft insulation to improve her home, looked online for details, saw the Bryson website and contacted them. She found that she was eligible for loft insulation, solid wall insulation, a new oil boiler and radiators.  She was apprehensive about the solid wall insulation: “I thought, as a woman, when I started, “What am I doing?”, but post-installation felt “really delighted”. It was much less disruptive than she had anticipated. She said, “It all happened quite quickly. Just in a few days, they had all the re-plastering and everything done, so that wasn’t that much of a disruption. It was worth it”. She added, “Because I knew the benefits of it, I was quite happy”.  Just before the work commenced, her daughter had decided to redecorate, and was advised to wait until the insulation was installed – “it meant she had new walls to actually paint, so that was good”. In fact the re-plastering of the old and very thick walls made Ms A feel “that I’ve a new home. You know the way it’s an older house, I think it makes it look better because it’s new walls”.

The difference in heating the home was noticed immediately: “Massive. Before we got that insulation, at the top of our stairs when the oil was on, you never would have felt any heat at all, whereas now with the insulation in the roof and the walls, if you’re at the top of the stairs and the heat’s on, you actually can feel heat. Previously to that there wouldn’t have been any heat”. The new system also heats the house much more quickly and to greater effect: “We noticed the difference as soon as you put on the heat – within a matter of, like, minutes, it’s working, whereas before, it never really got to the heat that it gets now”. The boiler has been in place for about a year and a half.

The dual control system meant that, for the first time, Ms A was able to heat water independently of the rooms, as she has no immersion heater. She uses quite a lot of hot water: “Well, you know girls – quite a lot of baths and showers, and general”. The only other option had been to light an old stove, which blew out smoke through the house. Since this was unsuitable for a young family, it had not been used for years, and hence an immersion was something she might think of getting in the future.

With the new boiler and radiators, Ms A now spends half as much as she did before on oil, which she gets delivered to the house, considering oil drums to be “kind of inefficient”, as well as being too difficult for her to put into the tank.

Before the work was done, Ms A spent £100 a month on oil, which was not easy for her, being self-employed with a mainly seasonal income: “If you had to save the £100 you wouldn’t have had much money left for food”. Now, though spending half as much on oil, all areas and rooms of the house are comfortable. While one person might be studying in a particular room, the others can use a different room for their activities, instead of being “under each others’ feet” in the warmest room. Ms A feels that her general wellbeing has improved, partly because of feeling less stressed about having enough money for oil: “If I know myself now well, this month I have enough oil for next month, I’m less stressed”, and she also feels it is nicer now for other people to come to the house. She takes great pleasure in her home, and with the help of money saved on fuel, she has bought a wood burning stove for the sitting room – something she wanted for a long time – and also new bedroom furniture: “I needed that for storage, but because [the work] was done and I didn’t have to spend all that money on oil all the time, that it does leave you, you’re happier to do it.”.

Ms A commented on how everything was handled from start to finish, including:

  • the installers: “You knew they were professional people were doing the job… In the end, when they left it, everything was cleaned up. They were even very helpful even moving stuff back, you know, because carpets had to be lifted”;
  • the help with the paperwork: “It was quite simple. They were helpful, anything was easy enough”;
  • the after-care and checks: “They came back to check the work. It was checked a couple of times”;
  • the energy advice given by the Bryson project officer: “She is very, very good, and did a wee survey, you know, on areas where I could maybe save…  giving advice on even that electricity. Like, I pay by direct debit and she pointed out to me that that was the best way to do it”;
  • the Benefit Entitlement Check offered: “When you’re in business, you’re not really entitled to any benefits or anything… Possibly later on, rates – I possibly would be entitled to have it for rates, because I’m a lower income”.


She has recommended the scheme to her mother, who also got insulation installed: “She couldn’t believe they would come in and just do it so quickly and efficiently”.

Ms A has been putting her energy advice into practice in her business also, and saving on costs where she can. She is now looking into having solar panels fitted: “That’s the next plan of action. And I can see, when I do get them, it’s going to cut back on my electricity bills, so then it leaves me more money for food, etc.”. She sums up the whole experience saying, “I couldn’t have afforded it, like, so it was really good... At this stage of life it’s just nice to be comfortable in your home”.