by Colin Cook
Energy Saving Trust manages the Home Energy Scotland service on behalf of Scottish Government. We work directly with householders in Scotland to help people save money and create warmer homes.
Home Energy Scotland is a network of local advice centres covering all of Scotland, with expert advisors who offer free, impartial advice on energy saving, keeping warm at home, renewable energy, greener travel, cutting water waste and more.
Through the service, some households receive free or subsidised insulation, draught-proofing or even a new heating system. Find out more about Home Energy Scotland or read on for more about Energycarer support.
Following a successful pilot in 2017-19, Home Energy Scotland changed the in-home support it offers to householders, with the introduction of Energycarers.
Energycarers are specialist energy advisors who can provide intensive support to households with issues relating to physical or mental health, disability, family circumstances, low income and expensive heating. Often these audiences are less able to make full use of the free phone service and website.
Energycarers work to help householders achieve affordable warmth, so they can afford to keep their home at a comfortable and healthy temperature, without having to give up other essentials.
Home Energy Scotland’s Partnerships Manager Sitar Ramsay explains, “Poorly heated homes and fuel poverty can have a really negative impact on health, so if a health professional prescribes a warm home, the Energycarer will try to help the household achieve that”.
Home Energy Scotland works with local partnership organisations, rather than displacing them, so it will always look to access support through local partner organisations before arranging a home visit.
If no partner is in place and a visit would be helpful, an Energycarer meets the householder, sometimes with a relative or carer present, to look at how their home uses energy and see what could be improved.
The Energycarer supports the householder during the initial energy check and throughout the process of any changes made to their home heating or insulation. They work with the householder to make sure they can control the temperature in their home and find the best energy tariff.
Energycarers help householders to:
The Home Energy Scotland programme aims to help people out of fuel poverty. Physical or mental health issues can mean that people need to heat their home for longer and to a higher temperature than normal. For many, this can be costly, resulting in debt and further ill health, or choosing between heating and other essentials.
Sitar explains further: “Sometimes householders have to make a choice between heating and eating. Fuel poverty can lead to them only heating one room in a house that is hard to heat, damp or expensive to keep warm. The new service helps those in need to manage their heating – and we help them throughout the process to cope with the changes that might bring”.
The service can make a hugely positive difference to individuals who have previously struggled to heat their homes effectively. For example, Mr K. had a new LPG heating system installed through Warmer Homes Scotland with Energycarer support. He told his Energycarer: “I had applied before but I couldn’t manage the LPG tank alone – if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have bothered”.
The Energycarer service is available to Scottish residents, through the Home Energy Scotland programme. For more information or advice, you can call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 or visit the Home Energy Scotland area of the Energy Saving Trust website.