Our specialist outreach teams, based in our Home Energy Scotland advice centres, provide a vital service and cover a large part of Scotland. Of the five Home Energy Scotland advice centres, Changeworks delivers two, on behalf of the Energy Saving Trust – in the Highlands and Islands, and South East Scotland.
Our specialists provide impartial, expert guidance to hundreds of appreciative householders each year, traversing the country to give face-to-face advice on improving their energy efficiency. Wherever you are, they will come to you, in your home and offer their expert advice.
Our advisors have gone to great lengths to reach customers, whether they are in a major city or one of the most remote parts of the country. Sometimes that effort can require creative use of different methods of travel – everything from bicycles and cars, to planes and boats, balancing the needs of our customers with our commitment to low carbon living.
In the Highlands, our Home Energy Specialist in Argyll and Bute Brian Barker recalled epic trips involving planes and boats that he made to the Inner Hebrides:
“I needed to make home visits to two customers on Tiree and one on Jura. All three properties were rated G for energy efficiency, the lowest possible rating on an energy performance certificate (EPC). They were a typical example of the condition of housing in remote areas, and how hard it is to improve their energy efficiency because of difficulties with access and costs of materials.
“I flew to Tiree, avoiding 10 hours of travel time by ferry. The properties there were a 1920s concrete house – built to a price rather than a standard (as the owner described it to me) – and an old church going through conversion. I hired a boat to get to Jura to visit an off-grid property. This avoided around 12 hours of travel time, which would have taken two days by public transport!
“The types of visits and places I end up at are pretty remote with plenty of wildlife. This environment, stunning though it is, offers daily challenges and additional costs, meaning people are more likely to be in fuel poverty.
“I need to make sure advice is right for each customer. I look at all sorts of solutions that can be adopted, helping them work out which combination is best for them. There’s no magic formula, it’s a complicated puzzle and it’s my job to help them figure out the best combination of energy solutions for their home.”
Meanwhile in the South East of Scotland our Technical Officer Kenneth Easson had a few stories of his own, though he hasn’t yet managed to incorporate any journeys by plane or boat into his day-to-day:
“What has always struck me about this job is the sheer variety present within Scotland’s housing stock. One day in Fife I had two appointments in a row looking to discuss their options with respect to renewable heating. The first was a small former farm cottage renovated in 2005, the second was an expansive country house, with a floor area in excess of 1,350m2, which had received no serious attention since the 1980s.
“Not too far away a more recent visit was a discussion of a potential micro-hydro scheme which would involve the restoration of a seventeenth century flint mill to serve as the generator house.
“I think what this really underlines for me is the value of a service which is flexible to the needs and ambitions of the individual customer, and tailored to their individual property.”
Whether it’s testing travel or unusual houses, our advisors love a challenge – in fact, the challenge is what keeps it interesting! So if you think your home will be too difficult for our advisors to help with, or too far out of the way for it to be worth our while, think again. That’s what our advisors are here for, so get in touch now.
Are you finding your home hard to heat? Interested in receiving tailored energy efficiency advice in a visit to your property, or looking to replace your current heating system? Call Home Energy Scotland free on 0808 808 2282.