The Energy Advice Service
It is with regret that Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust (KoSDT) ceased to deliver the award-winning Energy Advice Service (TEAS), which offered home energy advice across Sutherland to help the community improve energy efficiency – reducing carbon emissions and helping to tackle climate change, on the 29th March 2019.
This was the result of an application to the Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) to continue the service being rejected. As KoSDT was only informed of the decision on the 8th of March we did not have time to apply for alternative funding so we lost the three members of staff that operated the service at the end of March when their contracts expired. This means that KoSDT is currently unable to offer energy advice to Sutherland communities.
The Energy Advice Service provided the whole of Sutherland with a home energy advice service with the aim of reducing fuel poverty and carbon emissions by increasing the energy efficiency of the home. The project continued with the aims of the East Sutherland Energy Advice Service that had operated in 2017/18.
The team visited clients in their home to help them find practical and affordable ways to save energy, as well as to reduce their carbon footprint. The clients received a complete energy check and a written report.
The service was completely free and impartial. Things the team helped with included:
- Understanding energy bills and tariffs
- Switching suppliers
- Applying for Warm Homes Discount
- Understanding heating controls.
- Free benefit checks
- Fuel Debt
- Identifying eligibility for grants and funding for new heating systems, insulation and renewables.
Cosy Homes East Sutherland Scheme (CHESS) was a 12 month project in 2016/17 funded by the British Gas Healthy Homes fund and run through the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust which aims to improve the health of h/useholders across East Sutherland by providing practical energy efficiency measures for fuel poor and vulnerable households. Funding is available for boiler replacements, central heating system installation and/or replacement, double glazing, secondary glazing, heating control upgrades, floor insulation and draught proofing measures.
To make a positive impact on health of householders across East Sutherland by working with health practitioners to target vulnerable people whose health is negatively impacted by the condition of their home.
To reduce fuel poverty by providing and installing energy efficiency measures and providing emergency funding to households in fuel poverty in East Sutherland.
To increase the energy efficiency of houses across East Sutherland by raising awareness of energy efficiency measures and the benefits that an energy efficient home can bring to householders.
Aiming to reduce household energy consumption, energy bills and food waste whilst encouraging local food growing for the Kyle of Sutherland residents.
Greening Kyle was a 2 year project funded by the Scottish Government through the Climate Challenge Fund. The project commenced in April 2014. The aim of the project was to reduce the carbon output in the area of the Kyle of Sutherland. This was done through two main themes:
The Greening Kyle staff became fully trained energy assessors and the project offered free home energy visits advising on the most effective and efficient way of using hot water and heating systems, proper use of heating controls and programmers, insulation and draught help and advice. We can also help to find grants and schemes for free or subsidised heating system upgrades, hot water system upgrades, upgrades to renewable systems, insulation and draught proofing. We can advise on damp and condensation problems, the causes and the best way to try to sort these problems. This will ensure that you are using your home energy as efficiently as possible, saving you money and carbon emissions.
Each year the average household wastes between £450 and £700 of food! The team offered advice on food waste reduction, making food go further, efficient ways to cook, how to use leftovers, safe storing and freezing of foods and leftovers.
This is a great way to save money, it is also a way to be more active, spend more time outdoors and reduce food miles in turn reducing the community’s carbon footprint.
Greening Kyle closed in March 2016. However the project has had a significant impact on the warmth and insulation of people’s homes in the Kyle of Sutherland. Importantly the work of the team also made living in a warm environment more affordable for more people. The number of home visits increased greatly during the year which meant that the target to reach 10% of households in the Kyle was reached. Thanks to a grant from EON Rosehall the team were able to continue to direct clients in fuel poverty to make an application to our ‘Helping Hand’ small grants scheme providing fuel poor households with much needed warmth. Throughout the year events were held in the community to promote the home energy service, methods to lower food waste and using seasonal produce. Two winter warmer event were also held which primarily target older people in the community.
Using the Green Thumb Award the team introduced children at the two primary schools to growing. The children grew potatoes in their prepared garden and harvested 7kg of potatoes which were then used in the school kitchen.
The Master Chef Award badge was Greening Kyle’s food themed challenge with the schools. For this badge the project worked with the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) to create workshops for the children. RHET taught the pupils where food comes from by talking about how wheat turns into flour and where milk comes from.
The Cooking for Mothers class was well attended the focus being to provide easy tips of how to cook from scratch and lower preservatives in their families’ diets.
In January 2016 Rhionna Mackay, Greening Kyle project officer, moved into a new role within the Trust, Joe Smith moved up to project officer and Catriona Wright was appointed as project assistant.
Greening Kyle has made a big difference to CO2 emissions in the community. The project exceeded its target of providing in depth home energy advice to 10% of households in the Kyle of Sutherland and also the lifetime savings (5 years) in carbon emissions in the area. This being a total lifetime saving of 1,722.25Tonnes CO2e. Clients also make a lifetime saving £56,000 on their fuel bills. From March 2015 clients who provided income information 30% were lifted out of fuel poverty. The Kyle of Sutherland is an area where there is over 70% of the households in fuel poverty and thus this has helped individuals to heat their homes to the recommended temperature at the same time as reducing CO2 emissions. The project finished at the end of March 2016. Joe went to work in France and Catriona joined CHESS.