The majority of Scottish householders aren't eligible for fully funded measures to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. That means that they have to fund any work to make their houses warmer and easier to heat themselves.
That’s where Changeworks and our area-based projects come in. "Area-based" means that these projects are embedded in local communities, and engage with householders and businesses who don't qualify for funded measures, supporting and motivating them to improve the energy efficiency of their home or premises. The projects use a tailored approach for communities based on the types of housing in their area and the most appropriate available measures to improve energy efficiency and promote low carbon living.
Changeworks delivers five area-based community projects: Change Works in Peebles, Change Works in Burntisland, Change Works in Penicuik, Change Works in Argyll and the Edinburgh Old Town Energy Project. These projects are Energy Efficient Scotland (EES) Transition projects, delivered by Changeworks and in partnership with or supported by Scottish Borders Council, Midlothian Council, Fife Council, the City of Edinburgh Council and Argyll and Bute Council.
Through our work on these projects, we have found that there can be real impact where local, tailored and sustained engagement has been delivered within a community.
As a result of these projects projects, to date 271 self-funded energy efficiency or renewable measures have been installed by 184 households and eight businesses. A further 1,039 measures are being explored by households and businesses.
Should all the measures being explored by householders and businesses be installed, this would bring the total value of self-funded measures to a massive £1.75m based on Energy Saving Trust estimates. The measures already installed by households most commonly include gas boiler replacements, draught-proofing and double glazing.
These improvements can be combined with other changes in behaviour or fuel bills to make a real difference for householders, like Mrs T from Burntisland:
"I thought I might be able to make a small saving but overall the Hub has saved me a massive £750 over my energy and boilercare costs. This is far more than I hoped for and I’m still getting exactly the same service. My house is also warmer after topping up my loft insulation and I feel I know where to go to for any more energy advice.
"I’m over the moon with the savings I have been able to make! Jo and her team were so helpful and explained everything to me and have given me confidence to make these changes."
Referrals for further support have been made for over 1,300 households and over 90 businesses. These are mainly to Home Energy Scotland for householders, Resource Efficient Scotland for businesses, and specialist help and support for those in or at risk of fuel poverty. A referral involves the customer’s information being passed to an organisation for them to be contacted.
Signposting people on to where support and assistance is available for them is another key part of the projects, and is vital in establishing the projects as a central hub of information and advice. Our projects become trusted, credible sources for all things energy efficiency and low carbon living.
Supply and demand
One of the main barriers to installing energy efficiency measures is householders finding it difficult to find a contractor to install them. This lack of supply chain can be a real obstacle, so this was something we sought to tackle. A big part of these projects has been developing a tailored “customer journey”, taking householders through the process every step of the way with support and advice.
We developed contractor guides for each of the local areas, listing quality suppliers for all types of measure. This also helped us to get buy in from the industry, as we worked to ensure these suppliers had the appropriate skills required for Home Energy Scotland loan funding. There’s also a robust quality assurance process to ensure work is carried out to a high standard. Our projects are now engaging with 35 contractors and installers across the project areas, bringing the demand and supply sides of the energy efficiency industry together.
These projects aren’t easy. Getting a team embedded in a local community, developing partnerships and communicating what we can offer across the area, all takes time. But we think it’s clear from the results and the feedback we’ve had that this approach is a successful one. Sustained engagement with individuals and organisations helps to create a connected, engaged community, where tailored messaging can really connect with their needs and wants.
If you would like to find out more about our area-based community projects, please get in touch.