The subject of this article is a late 19th century detached cottage located adjacent to the historic site of Scotstarvit Tower, above the Scottish town of Cupar in Fife (see picture below).

Scotstarvit Cottage; source: Historic Scotland, Conservation Directorate

The property is surrounded on three sides by trees, but open to the sun on the south side of the building.

The cottage walls are built from roughly-squared sandstone rubble bonded with lime mortar. The roof is made of slate tiles. Inside it is lined with lath and lime plaster on timber battens with a timber suspended floor. Windows are single glazed with a timber sash and case.

Prior to the start of the refurbishment, the property was in a semi-derelict state. It had been  vacated by the previous tenant some time earlier, and suffered a leak in the building envelope which had caused the living room ceiling to collapse.

The original heating system consisted of an oil fired boiler with conventional waterborne radiators.

The cottage is owned by the National Trust for Scotland, and in collaboration with Historic Scotland a renovation case study was scheduled.  As part of the project, electric surface-mounted infrared heaters replaced the old waterborne radiators.

One of the goals of the case study was to demonstrate that a range of energy efficiency upgrades can be carried out in historic buildings, with minimal or no loss of the original fabric.


This is Part-1 of a 2-part article series on this Historic Scotland Refurbishment Case Study 7, detailing energy efficiency improvements to traditionally constructed buildings in Scotland.

For the download link of the case study please click here



Oswald Oberladstatter, ME
Perl, Germany
February 2017