History

Changeworks was previously known as Lothian and Edinburgh Environmental Partnership (LEEP), and before that Heatwise Edinburgh, which in turn had its roots in Lothian Energy Group.

Early years

The Lothian Energy Group was set up in the early 1980s to provide energy advice and install energy efficiency measures in fuel-poor households. In 1987 we were officially born and became incorporated as Heatwise Edinburgh.

LEEP

We were reincarnated in 1990 as LEEP by Edinburgh District Council, Friends of the Earth Scotland and the Centre for Human Ecology. Its remit extended beyond that of the Lothian Energy Group, as it aimed to establish businesses that provided real employment, as well as working to reduce our impact on the environment, by:

  • Providing development support to help others to establish businesses, such as Edinburgh City Cycle Couriers and Nappy Days, a ‘real nappy’ laundering service
  • Developing businesses which were then sold, for a token sum, to others to take forward, such as The Edinburgh City Car Club
  • Establishing and operating businesses, such as Lothian and Borders Energy Efficiency Network, which installed government-funded energy efficiency measures, and LEEP Resources, which ran a highly successful Fridgesavers scheme on behalf of electricity companies in the late 1990s.


As LEEP grew it undertook more ambitious projects, particularly on behalf of local authorities in South East Scotland. It developed a strong relationship with the Energy Saving Trust following the establishment in 1993 of a highly successful Energy Efficiency Advice Centre for Edinburgh and registered as an 'environmental body' under the system of landfill tax credits that supported recycling initiatives until 2003.

Changeworks Resources for Life

In June 2006, LEEP was rebranded as ‘Changeworks Resources for Life’, to reflect its Scotland-wide presence. Our mission and vision were re-cast to emphasise the role we play in sustainable development.

We continue to go from strength to strength, delivering innovative projects, helping people to live and work more sustainably and identifying and sharing best practice.

Milestones

April 2008 we won the contract to set up the Home Energy Scotland advice centre in South East Scotland, which we continue to operate on behalf of the Energy Saving Trust. The Home Energy Scotland advice centre in the Highlands and Islands followed soon after.

2009−2010 the Energy Saving Scotland advice centres expanded to deliver the Scottish Government’s Energy Assistance Package, offering more support for people at risk of fuel poverty, and its Universal Home Insulation Scheme (UHIS). By 2010, UHIS grants were allowing local authorities across Scotland to install free energy efficiency improvements in targeted areas. We became a vital partner in helping to deliver insulation and other measures.

2012−13 we worked with over 74,000 people and over 1,700 organisations, trained over 50 businesses and community groups, diverted over 4,200 tonnes of waste from landfill by reducing, reusing or recycling waste and helped Scottish householders to save more than £13 Million on their energy bills.

For every one tonne of CO2e* we emitted, our services helped to save over 1,500 tonnes of CO2e from being released. (*Carbon dioxide equivalent or CO2e includes all climate changing gases).

2013 Changeworks became part of a consortium, led by the Energy Saving Trust, which delivers Local Energy Scotland and manages the Community Energy and Renewable Scheme (CARES). CARES provides advice and support to help communities and rural businesses develop renewable energy schemes.

In the same year, Changeworks Recycling won two awards: we were Scotland’s Gold Winner for Environmental Best Practice in the Green Apple Awards and scooped the Scottish Excellence in Resource Management (Small Organisation) Award at the Zero Waste Scotland Scottish Resources Awards.

2014 Working with six local authorities, we started delivering the Scottish Government’s £60 Million Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland: Area Based Schemes.

2015 saw Changeworks, Energy Saving Trust and Everwarm set up Warmworks Scotland, in a joint venture to deliver Warmer Homes Scotland, the £224 Million fuel poverty scheme funded by the Scottish Government

2016 we continue continued to grow, with an significant increase in business clients of our wholly owned social enterprise Changeworks Recycling. For the full picture, read our Year in Numbers.

We are represented on the boards of Community Recycling Network Scotland, Highland Environment Network and Waste and Resource Use 2020, and take a co-ordinating role in the exchange of ideas and information among public sector, business, not-for-profit and other partner organisations who share our goals.

We continue to work with housing associations, businesses, voluntary sector organisations, community groups, schools, home owners, tenants, public sector bodies and private sector landlords to reduce carbon emissions, fuel poverty and waste.

“Better public understanding needs to be translated into real changes in everyday actions − by businesses, public sector, voluntary and community groups and individuals.”

The Scottish Government, National Outcome on Environmental Impact, on reducing carbon emissions to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050.