Draughty old buildings could be history with pioneering new system


CHILLY castles and palaces in Scotland could become a thing of the past thanks to a heating experiment at a historic cottage.

A revolutionary infrared heating system has been installed at Scotstarvit Cottage, Fife, which boosts temperatures without costing a fortune in heating bills.

The  property, which is owned by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) is located next to grade A-listed Scotstarvit Tower, which was built in the 14th century.

The heater cleverly disguised as a mirror will reduce fuel bills by 45%

The system uses far infrared light waves which are not visible to the human eye but which carry heat that is easily absorbed by walls and living creatures alike.

Installing the system at the cottage cost about £6,000 but reduces heating bills by around 45% , leading to long-term savings.

Another massive advantage of the technology is that the heaters can be cleverly disguised to look like mirrors or oil paintings, making it easier for them to blend in with historic surroundings.

The nine heaters in the cottage are virtually maintenance free.

The infrared system is efficient and reduces time heating needs to be on

Historic Scotland, which is funding the work, said it was a very exciting project and the first time the heating system had been installed in a historic building in Scotland.

If successful, the system could be installed at historic properties across the country.

Jessica Snow, Senior Technical Officer at Historic Scotland, said: “We’re carrying out a range of trials to traditional properties of all types in Scotland to develop simple and cost effective upgrade solutions that are suitable for older buildings including historic properties.”

Bryan Dickson, Head of Building at the NTS said: “As a conservation charity, the management of our large estate, held on behalf of the nation, is challenging and costly so we are always looking to ways to help improve our buildings efficiency.

“Scotstarvit Cottage had recently been vacated, after providing a home to a long term tenant and provided the National Trust for Scotland, with support from Historic Scotland, the opportunity to complete an extensive fabric upgrade to improve the energy efficiency of the property and bring it up to 21st century standards.

“The cottage is providing us with a test bed to explore a number of new innovative materials which will hopefully help lay the way for future upgrades across our building portfolio.”

The infrared energy is absorbed by all materials in a room, including the walls, ceiling and floor.

The heat is retained for longer compared with traditional heating, meaning the system does not have to be left on as much as traditional heating.

The Infranomic system was installed by Direct Savings.

Ged Smith, Managing Director, believes it will soon become popular in homes throughout the country.

He said: “I really believe these heaters can make a difference in both modern and historical properties.”


  1. How on earth is the heat “retained for longer”? If the building is draughty and poorly insulated it will lose heat no matter what heating system you use.

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