Energy saving trial delivers for fuel poor homes
Green Home Systems has completed the successful delivery of a £1 million energy efficiency trial with OVO Energy to tackle fuel poverty and climate change.
The pilot programme, which ran in Q4 2022, saw the installation of a suite of energy efficiency measures to 19 fuel poor households located throughout Scotland. Each property had a complete retrofit boost with a new air-source heat pump and solar PV system installed, alongside insulation upgrades to the loft, floors, and walls. The project was funded through the ECO4 energy efficiency programme.
The average forecast reduction in annual utility costs is £2,079 per household, and each home now has a top Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of A or B. A total of 120 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year has also been abated as a result of the project.
The homes were located across a wide geographical area including Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Argyll & Bute, Dumfries & Galloway, Falkirk, Angus, Fife and Highlands. At one property in Ballachullish the EPC rating was increased from the poorest band (G) to the most efficient (A), which reduced the occupants’ energy bills by £3,121 per year and decreased the property’s annual CO2 emissions by 8.5 tonnes.
The trial was part of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) programme, which is a UK Government energy efficiency policy that aims to tackle fuel poverty and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from homes throughout the UK by providing free or heavily subsidised energy efficient home improvements.
Each home was upgraded to the highest retrofit specifications set out by the government-recognised PAS2030/35 and Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) installation standards, with quality assurance provided by TrustMark, the UK Government’s only endorsed quality scheme for work carried out in or around domestic homes.
Air-source heat pumps work by transferring heat from outside air to water, which then heats the home via radiators, and can operate efficiently even in low temperatures. Solar PV systems work by capturing the sun’s energy and converting it into electricity that can be used throughout the home, and works well even on cloudy days. Both heat pumps and solar PV are very environmentally friendly to operate because they use a sustainable energy source, and by combining these technologies the environmental and cost-saving benefits can be maximised.
Insulation upgrades are also key to maximising energy efficiency in homes, and include installing new or improved levels of insulation materials to the loft, floor, and walls. This creates a thermal barrier that prevents heat loss, and means that heat is retained inside the home for longer and therefore reduces the overall energy demand of the property. With less energy being used, utility bills are cheaper, and the carbon footprint is lower.
Green Home Systems is an energy efficiency specialist contractor based in Ayrshire and operates throughout Scotland. It was established in 2014 and has completed over 16,500 energy efficiency projects to date which has lifted more than 7,000 families out of fuel poverty.
Alastair Macphie, managing director at Green Home Systems, said: “We are really excited by the results of this trial and encouraged by the positive impact it has made helping both fuel poor households achieve affordable warmth while drastically reducing carbon emissions. By cumulatively reducing these families’ energy bills by £39,506 per year we have demonstrated the opportunity that ECO4 funding can make to deliver energy efficiency to Scottish family homes.
“This pilot programme has also been used by us as a platform to attract new entrants into the green economy. We established our Green Home Skills Academy in 2021 to provide training and upskilling opportunities to new and existing staff, which ensures that our energy efficiency projects create a meaningful legacy of community wealth building opportunities.
“Following the success of this trial, we now intend to roll this out on a larger scale during early 2023 at which time we will open it up to local authorities who can maximise the benefit for their residents through the ECO Flex eligibility mechanism.”