Scarf highlights commitment to combatting fuel poverty, promoting energy efficiency and net-zero

Scarf highlights commitment to combatting fuel poverty, promoting energy efficiency and net-zero

Scarf, the social enterprise dedicated to alleviating fuel poverty and championing energy efficiency across the north east of Scotland, is inviting local authorities across Scotland to contact them to find out more about Scarf’s delivery of the fourth version of the Energy Company Obligation Flexibility Programme (ECO4 Flex), having successfully commissioned five projects in the north east already. 

Funded and supported by local authorities, Scarf provides an in-home energy advice service, supporting individuals with energy advice tailored to their specific needs and giving practical insights into optimising their energy usage.

Scarf also provides the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Scotland service in the Northeast, managed by Energy Saving Trust.

Fuelled by major energy suppliers, ECO4 Flex is a transformative initiative specifically designed to uplift low-income households by providing energy efficiency upgrades, with a strategic focus on renewable technologies such as solar panels and heat pumps.

Scarf’s commitment to combatting fuel poverty, promoting energy efficiency, and net zero is at the forefront of its ambitions to expand its services across Scotland and its recent successful implementation of ECO4 pilot projects across northeast Scotland. In the midst of present challenges, initiatives like ECO4 Flex are indispensable, offering a pathway to lasting impacts on lives, financial savings, and the collective goal of nurturing a greener planet, and Scarf is keen to engage local authorities across Scotland looking to achieve similar objectives.

The upgrades ECO4 Flex facilitates, not only save money for homeowners but also work towards fighting the climate crisis. In the past year, Scarf’s delivery of ECO4 Flex saved over 1 kiloton carbon emissions. This fiscal year, ECO4 Flex is expected to support over 250 homes, with an average investment of £20,000 per household. The programme is set to inject over £5 million of Energy Company Obligation funds into the involved local authorities.

Participating local authorities can refer eligible households to ECO4 Flex, ensuring those in fuel poverty or with low income and vulnerable to living in cold homes receive support. Scarf’s delivery of the programme removes the need for onerous and time-consuming administration by the local authorities. Referrals to ECO4 Flex can also be made by various other channels, including Scarf, Home Energy Scotland, and certified contractors.

To be eligible for ECO4 Flex, it is required that the property is in need of energy efficiency upgrades, determined through a retrofit assessment. Generally, the energy efficiency upgrades must create a positive change to the property’s energy performance certificate. Additionally, financial criteria must be met, and the applicant must own the property or have permission from the landlord.

Illustrating the impact of ECO4 Flex is the experience of David Muir, who faced heating challenges in his home. As his property did not have a mains gas connection, he was relying on costly electric radiators to heat his home. His referral to the ECO4 Flex programme became a catalyst for change. Through collaboration with local authorities and Scarf’s framework of approved contractors, David’s home underwent a transformation, featuring loft insulation, solar panels, an air source heat pump, and new radiators—all funded by the ECO4 Flex programme.

Once the installation was complete, Scarf arranged a home visit with a member of our home energy advice team, to advise David on how to use these innovative technologies to get the highest benefit for him. These changes in technology and behaviour are estimated to save David almost two thirds on energy bills and halving his property’s carbon footprint, while heating his entire house to a comfortable temperature.

David Muir, reflecting on the process, stated: “I was very impressed from day one, everything seemed to work like clockwork. I was very impressed by the whole set up.”

Firsthand accounts, like David’s, speak volumes about the positive impact of ECO4 Flex on individual lives.

Scarf’s ECO4 Flex program is not merely about upgrading homes; it is a vital step towards fighting climate change. By addressing fuel poverty, reducing carbon emissions, and providing tangible solutions, Scarf is actively contributing to a resilient and energy-efficient future.

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