Energy efficiency business switches to employee-ownership

12 staff now have a stake in Sustainable Homes Scotland

Dunfermline-based ventilation company Sustainable Homes Scotland, trading as Paul Heat Recovery Scotland, has given 12 staff a stake in the business. 

Established in 2007, the company provides energy-efficient ventilation solutions for sustainable homes, specialising in the supply, design, installation and commissioning of high quality MVHR systems (Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery).

Director Stefan Huber, who co-founded the business in 2007, said:  “Over the years we’ve worked extremely hard to grow the business and to be at the forefront of domestic ventilation and MVHR in Scotland, making our mark on the industry through best practice methods, materials, installation, service and training. Our non-compromise approach has taken us in a different direction than many of our competitors, but we have focused on building a highly skilled, dedicated team and providing the best service possible. 

Stefan Huber

“I am proud of my team, their dedication, hard work and loyalty. I wanted to reward them whilst opening up a door for myself to concentrate more on charitable work in Perth, which I have been doing for the last few years in my leisure time. My team has basically been working as if it was their own business anyway, so it was only natural to take this course.”

Employee ownership was suggested by Business Gateway, who put Mr Huber in touch with Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), the arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models.

Mr Huber added: “Employee ownership is the ideal solution for us; it fits well with our ethos and allows me to pass ownership and responsibilities to my hard working team. We already have an open and inclusive culture, so employee ownership allows us to keep operating as normal and ensures the protection of the company we’ve worked hard to build together.” 

An employee ownership trust has been formed and holds 100% of the shares on behalf of the employees. The process was managed by Ownership Associates with legal services by Anderson Strathern and accountancy services by Donohue & Co. As part of the new structure, two employees have been promoted to directors and two have been made employee trustees.

The company’s main focus is on heat recovery ventilation, which hygienically provides fresh air inside homes and smaller commercial premises without re-circulation of air and without the heat losses associated with other forms of ventilation.

Clare Alexander, head of Co-operative Development Scotland, said: “The number of employee-owned businesses in Scotland continues to grow and we’re delighted to be adding Paul Heat Recovery to the list. This is a great business and hugely successful in its field.

“Stefan wanted a succession option which would enable him to gradually exit the business that he worked so hard to build, with the knowledge that the future is taken care of for such a loyal and long-serving team. It will help safeguard jobs and maintain existing customer relationships whilst creating new opportunities. Employee ownership is the perfect fit for Paul Heat Recovery and its culture, and we look forward to following the company’s success under its new ownership model.”