Whithorn Book Shop Owner Makes Energy Savings As She Starts a New Chapter

A Whithorn book store owner has successfully converted run-down commercial premises to create a new energy efficient home for her tomes.

When Julia Muir-Watt found new premises for Pend Books in George Street, she knew she was facing a challenge to make the property fit for purpose and keep it as green as possible.

Although the premises, which had previously been a butcher’s, offered all the space she needed to store her stock of around 8,000 titles, the building’s rubble-built stone walls were leaking and there was an old tin roof.

She said: “In terms of energy efficiency, the building was pretty disastrous. I needed to make it dry, with a good ambient temperature for storing the books.”

The building was stripped down to its bones and synthetic wall insulation was fitted throughout and the roof was replaced with composite insulated panels. New LED lighting was fitted along with secondary glazing. The final piece of the jigsaw came with the installation of a biomass pellet boiler.

She said: “As soon as the insulation went in, it was a hundred per cent better feeling inside than it had been before when there was literally no insulation. The place is now blissfully warm. The combination of the thick wall insulation and the boiler have hugely increased the usability of the building.”

Julia received support from Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service and took advantage of a Scottish Government SME Loan that came with a 15% cashback grant.

It is estimated that Julia will be saving around £4,000 a year on her energy bills compared to the consumption at similar retail buildings.

She added: “We did go for the SME Loan facilitated by Zero Waste Scotland and we had a lovely Energy Efficiency Business Advisor who supported us through the whole process.”

David Gunn, Zero Waste Scotland business support programme manager, said:

“In the year of COP26, it’s never been a more important time to collectively reduce our energy use and carbon emissions. The efforts of all the businesses supported by Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service helps Scotland to play its part in tackling climate change and achieve our net-zero targets.”

To find out more, visit www.energy.zerowastescotland.org.uk