From July 2019 to March 2020, Changeworks delivered the Edinburgh Old Town Energy Project, a community-based support service to help Edinburgh Old Town locals improve the energy efficiency of their homes and businesses under the Energy Efficient Scotland programme.

Specific challenges of listed buildings

Data showed that many homes and businesses in the area were historic and listed buildings, which can be difficult to retrofit, and therefore had low Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings. This represented an opportunity to proactively engage the community to develop strong motivators for investing in the energy efficiency of their properties. The project worked with the City of Edinburgh Council, Home Energy Scotland and Resource Efficient Scotland to deliver an integrated and innovative approach to support the ambitions within Energy Efficient Scotland. The team developed a strong community engagement and outreach team to run specific community and drop-in events, specialist talks and campaigns promoting energy efficiency in the home. The approach encouraged positive low carbon behaviour changes and the installation of energy efficiency measures such as LED lighting, double glazing and wider overarching development plans for businesses.

Light and heat

The Edinburgh Old Town Energy Project helped businesses such as The Scottish Poetry Library who upgraded their lighting to LED, and were looking into further upgrading their heating system when the project ended. Due to the nature of the project area, the team realised there was a high proportion of privately rented accommodation in the project area. They hosted multiple landlord information events, which saw one landlord manage his portfolio and prioritise which of his properties needed changes to meet government legislation, they also helped him access funding which he was in the process of applying for when the project ended.

Ruth Stone, Project Officer for the Edinburgh Old Town Energy Project said:

“Coordinating the Edinburgh Old Town Energy Project was a fantastic experience; it was wonderful getting to know the local community – working together to improve energy efficiency in homes and business alike”.


A record of success, a promise of more

While the ambitions of Energy Efficient Scotland are still ongoing and retrofitting historic and listed buildings remains a challenge, the Edinburgh Old Town Energy Project was able to refine a customer journey to better support businesses and households alike. Over the course of the project, the project supported the install of energy efficient improvements to 13 households at a total of £35,489 private investment, representing a 181 tonnes of lifetime carbon savings. When the project ended, a further 33 measures were being explored by households and businesses with the potential to generate £128,950 in investment and 482 tonnes of lifetime carbon savings.

For more information on the overall programmes of work, insight on the progress, challenges and key learnings, read the final report.