Technology

Robot aids Scotland’s warm homes scheme

3 September 2019

Q-Bot technology has recently been added to the range of energy efficiency measures offered under Warmer Homes Scotland – the Scottish government’s national scheme for improving energy efficiency in homes that are in or at risk of fuel poverty.

The scheme’s managing agent, Warmworks Scotland, has now confirmed that the technology, a robot that is controlled via remote control, will be used to insulate the area underneath suspended timber floors, thus creating a warmer, more comfortable home, with fewer draughts, more even temperatures, and a reduced risk of damp or mould.

The introduction of Q-Bot for insulating suspended floors should result in increased energy efficiency ratings in addition to lower energy bills for householders struggling to stay warm. A typical customer could see an average reduction in heat loss through the floor of 80% and an improvement in air permeability by one third across the whole house, resulting in annual bill savings of as much as £150 and lifetime carbon savings of around 20 tonnes of CO2.

As the robot is deployed through a small access hatch, the service is less disruptive than any of the established alternatives and results in a typical installation time of just one to two days. The technology will also add to the skill set of the wider supply chain of local installers and engineers, all of whom will receive training in installing and inspecting the work.

Q-Bot works beneath suspended timber floors

Warmworks Scotland has been delivering Warmer Homes Scotland since the scheme was launched in 2015, and from its inception, the scheme has provided a step-by-step service to help make homes warmer and more comfortable via a range of energy efficiency measures, such as new heating systems or insulation, as well as renewable technologies. Q-Bot will complement these measures, while also enhancing the scheme’s impact on vulnerable customers.

Warmer Homes Scotland customer, Kathyrn Lamb, recently received the first Q-Bot installation of underfloor insulation in her home in Helensburgh. She said: “When I first heard I qualified for underfloor insulation under the scheme, I was a little worried as I thought that meant there would be a lot of upheaval – how wrong was I! The little robot just went under a hatch in the floor and was directed using a controller – very simple and straightforward. The house already feels warmer and I am looking forward to a warm and cosy winter.”

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “We have made a commitment to eradicate fuel poverty and ensure that every home in Scotland is kept warm and comfortable. Innovative approaches like the Q-Bot will only make it easier for us to continue to help keep people warmer and healthier in their homes.”

Mathew Holloway, CEO of Q-Bot, said: “There is huge potential for insulating suspended floors across Scotland. In the past this has been hampered by the disruptive nature of traditional methods and the difficulty of measuring the quality of their installation. Q-Bot’s technology solves this problem, allowing suspended floors to be cost effectively insulated without the disruption and practical problems of traditional methods.”