Stirling home heating scheme celebrates 1000th happy customer

(from left) Cllr Tweed, James McGrory, Cllr Martin Earl, John McIntyre (A.C Whyte site manager), and Jennifer Phin (managing director of A.C Whyte)

A joint initiative between Stirling Council and the Scottish Government has helped increase the heat for more than 1,000 homes across the area.

James McGrory and his wife Janette from Afton Court, Braehead became the latest residents in Stirling to benefit from the Home Energy Efficiency Programme Scotland (HEEPS) after work was completed at their property by contractors A.C. Whyte & Co. Ltd last month.

First introduced in 2013/14, HEEPS allows local authorities to bid for funding to treat ‘hard to heat’ private homes with external wall insulation in a bid to reduce fuel poverty and carbon emissions.

The programme involves the placing of insulation boards on the external walls of a property, which are finished with a render coat. The insulation boards reduce the heat loss from the property, improving thermal performance, reducing heating costs and levels of fuel poverty.

Mr McGrory, 76, a retired technology officer for the environment department, said he was delighted his was the 1,000th local property to benefit before the harsh winter weather arrives.

“I’ve definitely noticed a difference already,” Mr McGrory said. “The workers have been brilliant I have no complaints. Some people have even said they feel like they are living in a new house.

“We had the heating on one morning last week when Janette was a bit cold and I never had to put it back on all night. We’ve got the thermostat and a smart meter as well and I’ve noticed a difference there too.

“We also don’t hear so much from the nearby factory, which could be noisy at times, but we don’t seem to hear it now, same with the road traffic.

“We’re very happy with the work and I can’t see how local government could do it without the backing of central government and the tariff taken off the energy suppliers.”

Since the programme began, Stirling Council has secured over £9 million of funding and a further £2m of ECO funding from power companies, enabling the council to deliver external wall insulation to 1,000 private homes over the past six years at no cost to the owners.

Councillor Evelyn Tweed, housing portfolio holder for Stirling Council, said: “It’s a real honour to mark this achievement thanks to the funding from the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programme.

“Winter is just around the corner so there is no better time to see a landmark figure like this reached before the bad weather well and truly sets in.

“Both Stirling Council and the Scottish Government are committed to improving the energy efficiency of all housing stock across the area to further reduce levels of fuel poverty and carbon emissions. With the financial support over the past six years we have been able to transform these homes that would otherwise be cold and expensive to heat.”

Kevin Stewart MSP, minister for local government, housing and planning, said: “I am delighted to hear that Stirling Council have completed their 1,000th installation of external wall insulation. Our Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland Area Based Scheme supports all local authorities to design and deliver energy efficiency programmes and reduce energy bills in fuel poor areas.

“Since April 2013, the programme has helped people in over 80,000 homes have a warmer more comfortable place to live.

“As we head into the winter months it’s important that householders know that they can get free energy efficiency advice from Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 on how to make their homes more energy efficient and reduce their fuel bills.”

Jennifer Phin, managing director at A.C. Whyte & Co, said: “A.C. Whyte have been delivering HEEPS projects since 2014 and partnering with Stirling Council and installing EWI to their 1000th home is a significant milestone for us both.

“We are very proud to be involved with these projects. The government funding has facilitated the transformation of communities, removing residents from fuel poverty and improving their quality of life.”

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