Home Energy Scotland supporting rural retrofit on Raasay

Our Home Energy Scotland Highlands and Islands team is playing a crucial role in the drive to retrofit the Isle of Raasay.

In May 2022 Raasay was chosen for the Carbon Neutral Islands (CNI) project. Set up by the Scottish Government, the CNI will support six islands to reach net zero by 2040. Crucially, by partnering with local organisations and investing in Raasay’s economy, the project will make sure the move to net zero benefits the island community.

Isle of Raasay, Carbon Neutral Island: case study of support offered by Home Energy Scotland

The challenge to retrofit Raasay

Due to the island’s location, few contractors will travel there to work on a single home. However, as the Raasay residents survey (completed as part of the CNI project) shows, its houses are in urgent need of retrofit:

47% of the population live in homes that suffer from some kind of damp.

To keep warm, 61% supplement their heating with items like portable heaters and hot water bottles.

Poor quality housing stock is a significant driver of carbon emissions. To stay warm, people run their heating hotter and longer than they would in an energy efficient home.

So to improve the comfort of Raasay’s homes, and to help the island reach net zero, home retrofit is essential.

How Home Energy Scotland helped

Whilst the resident’s survey showed that Raasay’s homes need improving, it wasn’t immediately clear what changes would give the best results. Working this out requires a home survey, which checks the property’s construction before recommending specific measures. However, as we’ve already seen, contractors were reluctant to come to Raasay for piecemeal work, including surveys.

This is where the Home Energy Scotland Highlands and Islands (HES HI) team was able to shine. Coordinating with a local partner, the Raasay Development Trust, HES HI organised a mass survey of the island. Working together, the two organisations contacted residents and managed to prebook home visits. Three HES staff then travelled to Raasay, and, supported by their colleagues on the mainland, began working up Home Energy Improvement Reports for properties across the island.

Results and next steps

HES HI produced 42 Home Energy Improvement Reports. Since there are only around 90 permanent households on Raasay, this is a very significant result.

With these reports in place, it’s now possible to start coordinating retrofit projects on Raasay.

HES HI identified more than 20 properties that could be referred for the Highland Council Area Based Scheme (ABS), a government funded energy efficiency project.

12 properties were identified as suitable for a Warmer Homes Scotland referral.

Perhaps most excitingly, after discussion with the Raasay Development Trust, the Highland Council are now exploring funding options for a dedicated project on Raasay. This would mean the Highland Council supporting a mass retrofit for the island, with both grant funding and self-funding options.

Isle of Raasay, Carbon Neutral Island: case study of support offered by Home Energy Scotland

Home Energy Scotland logo

Changeworks delivers Home Energy Scotland in the south east and Highlands and Islands on behalf of the Scottish Government and Energy Saving Trust.

As well as providing free, impartial expert advice to thousands of people every month to help them to keep warm in their homes for less, they identify funding opportunities for households seeking to install energy efficiency measures.

For more information, give Home Energy Scotland a call on 0808 808 2282 or email and the team will be happy to help you.


Sign up to hear more from Changeworks

Receive monthly tips and tricks straight to your inbox on how to save energy in the home and reduce your bills. Whether it’s draught proofing, how to manage your heating system or finding out more about what financial assistance is available, we’ve got it covered.