Over the past few years, I’ve become increasingly aware of the careful planning required by Local Authorities to ensure their energy efficiency programmes realise their key objectives and targets. This is particularly relevant to the current Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland: Area Based Schemes (HEEPS: ABS) and the Scottish Government’s future Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP). It has also become increasingly apparent that many of the properties have already had insulation measures installed where it is easy to do so. So the harder-to-treat properties need to become of greater focus in this planning.
One method for helping with this planning is through the use of our housing stock database. We are able to create this database so that it is specific to any Local Authority and can be used as a planning tool. The creation of the database involves pulling together information from a variety of sources – such as energy efficiency programme data, heat map data, Council stock data, Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) data – into one central location ready for interrogation by a Local Authority team to get the information they need.
We created the first housing stock database for Highland Council recently which is proving to be a useful tool as their Sustainability Officer (Karen Maclean), explains: “The new housing database is an excellent resource which allows us to effectively target our energy efficiency schemes (including HEEPS: ABS1 and SEEP2) moving forward.”
Highland Council initially asked us to create this interactive housing stock database tool as a mechanism for them to use in the planning of Scottish Government energy efficiency schemes. What the Council has also been able to do is to pull the data from the database into their heat map.
As the database is interactive, the Council is able to keep it up-to-date following installation of any measures or updated EPCs.
Given the introduction of the SEEP pilots in 2016–17and the roll out of SEEP anticipated in 2018, we are looking at ways the database could be enhanced to allow properties to be selected based upon their prioritisation in terms of their fit for SEEP. For example, properties that come out top when all the following features are combined: (i) highest CO2 emissions; (ii) highest fuel bills; and (iii) in areas of high fuel poverty.
How the database works
So what happens if you are interested in having this housing stock database tool created for your Local Authority? It’s pretty simple. We work closely with the Local Authority throughout the production process to firstly agree the datasets for inclusion and then to ensure legal compliance for all data used before we move ahead with the design and build.
We’re able to create a bespoke database tailored to each individual Local Authority’s requirements which is user friendly for both expert and non-expert database users. Main image above shows the housing database switchboard homepage. As part of our handover, we provide a step-by-step user guide that explains how the database was developed, how to use it and keep it updated.
If this is something that would be of interest to you please email me or give me a call (0131 538 7945/ 07818 557 551) to discuss how we can help.
Ruth Williamson is Changeworks’ Principal Consultant – Energy and Strategy