Island hopping to meet our customers

Brian Barker, Changeworks’ Home Energy and Partnership Liaison Officer

Brian Barker, Changeworks’ Home Energy and Partnership Liaison Officer

Our Argyll and Bute-based Home Energy and Partnership Liaison Officer Brian Barker reports on his short but epic trips last month to the islands of Jura and Tiree to provide in-home advice:

I made three home visits to customers: two on Tiree and one on Jura. All three properties were G rated for energy efficiency, my ‘worst’ week since I started in terms of energy efficiency standards. They are a typical example of the condition of housing in remote areas and how difficult 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 which also allowed me more time to make the visits and avoid an overnight stay. The properties 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. The plane popped in to Coll airport en route.

The flight over Tiree

The flight over Tiree

I hired a boat to get to Jura to visit an off-grid property. This avoided around 12 hours of travel – which would have taken 2 days by public transport!

The boat Brian hired

The boat Brian hired

The types of visits and places I end up are pretty remote and wild with plenty of wildlife, including white tailed sea eagles. There have even been instances of wind turbines disappearing in winter gales. This environment, stunning though it is, offers daily challenges and additional costs, meaning people are more likely to be in fuel poverty.

Stunning scenery on Tiree

Stunning scenery on Tiree

People off-grid often face transport issues: if you can’t get diesel delivered to top up your generator, you need to decant and transport the diesel yourself in 50 litre cans, 500 litres at a time, from a point that can be miles from home.

So, the folk that we’re visiting are the ones that really need our help and support. For them, because of their remote location, everything is more expensive and harder to get to. Having a service that comes out to them can make a real difference to their lives.

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.

– Brian

If you, or someone you know, would like energy efficiency advice or a renewables home visit call the Home Energy Scotland advice centre on 0808 808 2282.

Young Scot is on a Mission!

Today sees the launch of the ‘Young Scot is on an Energy Mission’ campaign and to tell us all about it we’re delighted to welcome guest blogger Laura Copley, Low Carbon Behaviours Development Officer with Young Scot

Young ScotYoung Scot, as the national youth information and citizenship agency for Scotland, has a key role to play in informing and engaging young people on the issues of energy and climate change, supporting them to make informed decisions and choices which limit their impact on the environment.

Launching a pioneering project that uses the innovative Young Scot Rewards platform, based on the principles of loyalty cards used in the private sector, young people are being encouraged and rewarded for making sustainable lifestyle choices which reduce their carbon footprint when shopping, travelling, working and living. Following our principle of co-design, over 700 young people have so far inputted into the scheme, exploring the Individual, Social and Material factors around low-carbon behaviours, using the innovative ISM analysis tool (Individual, Social, Material). Working closely with organisations such as Climate Challenge Fund, Zero Waste Scotland, Energy Saving Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage and a wide range of regional community based projects; there are now 73 organisations in Scotland offering points and rewards to young people in order to help them make low carbon choices.

coverYoung Scot has, to date, launched five campaigns that include offering points and rewards to young people in areas of: Sustainable Transport, Upcycling, Food Growing, Climate Change and the Year of Natural Scotland. With over 1,700 young people earning ‘green’ points so far, the Rewards scheme has led to increased youth participation in activities that both, increase awareness of low carbon living, and make positive changes within society.

Young Scot is on an Energy Mission’ is a campaign all about saving energy  in the home. Young people can earn points on their Young Scot cards by doing the ‘Big Energy Quiz’; a simple home energy audit designed to raise energy awareness and cut carbon. They can also earn points by calling the free-phone number of Home Energy Scotland (0808 808 2282) where they can get independent advise from energy experts.

Plus, we have some amazing energy related rewards on offer, including a work-shadowing opportunities with the marketing executive at Energy Saving Trust and volunteering opportunities at the Glasgow Science Centre during their Energy Emersion launch days. We also have some fun animal draft excluders, cuddly hotties, eco-desk lights, light bulb timers and more.

Our campaign will be live from today to Friday, 1 November and includes:

  • Geek Chic Jumper Facebook competition – Keeping cozy this winterJumper comp
  • Young Scot Extra video case study – What to do if you get stung with high energy bills
  • Energy Facebook memes
  • Twitter posts #YSmission
  • Information articles
  • Energy support sign-posting.

Please visit our ‘Young Scot is going on an Energy Mission’ campaign page if you’d like more informationIf you’d like to know more about our approach using the ISM tool, get in touch.

– Laura