Associate Feature: The dual challenge of heating and decarbonising our homes
COP26 in Glasgow showed that there is enormous appetite among people in Scotland to take action to reduce their own personal impact on the world around us.
But at this important time when we are seeing our energy bills go up, how do we strike a balance between ensuring that people can stay warm at home, while minimising the environmental impact of the heating we use?
As the Managing Agent for the Scottish Government’s national fuel poverty scheme, Warmer Homes Scotland, Warmworks is at the heart of this challenge; working with homes and communities across the country to make households more energy efficient and supporting them to better manage their energy use.
Warmer Homes Scotland provides a range of energy efficient heating and insulation improvements for low-income households across the country, all of which aim to reduce costs first of all, whilst lowering carbon emissions and driving the Scottish Government’s wider ambitions for securing a just transition to a Net Zero nation.
It’s really important to emphasise there can be no transition unless there is a just transition – that means, one where everyone is brought along as part of the journey, and no-one is left behind.
That’s why it’s critical to make sure that people who are in or at risk of fuel poverty are able to benefit from support to make their home not only warmer, but also as energy efficient as it can be.
For the last six years, Warmworks has carried out surveys, installations and inspections under the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme in every local authority area in Scotland. And in the last year, this national scheme has seen more low-carbon renewable heating technology installed in homes than in any other year. This includes 248 homes that are now benefitting from low carbon air source heat pumps.
One of our customers in Stirlingshire had one of these air source heat pumps installed under the scheme last year, and said this about the impact it has had:
“There is a big, noticeable improvement with my home being warmer. I have more peace of mind that the heating system which was installed is the best and most efficient green energy heating system available”.
More than 5,000 homes across the country benefitted from energy efficiency measures installed in their homes under Warmer Homes Scotland in the last year alone. And through these measures, more than 5,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide have been saved – savings that will repeat every year for up to 25 years. To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of taking 1,200 cars off the road, or the emissions saved from the energy expended in charging more than 677 million smartphones, every year, for up to 25 years.
It’s also vital for Warmworks to do our bit and to lead by example. We recognise that it’s not enough to rely on the outputs of the work we do as reducing our environmental impact. Change has to start with us and we have to actively take steps to mitigate the effect of our operations on the world around us. That’s why we’ve implemented a number of measures that, since 2019, have reduced our carbon footprint by 35%. These include only using renewable energy to power our office, and reducing emissions from vehicles we use as part of our work. For us, this is about leading by example and goes to the heart of our mission of running a sustainable business. We were proud to have these efforts recognised by The Carbon Trust who have recently recertified us as a carbon-neutral organisation.
With rising energy costs pushing more homes into fuel poverty and the growing challenge of lowering emissions and addressing the climate emergency, it’s vital that we pursue the dual goals of ensuring people across Scotland can stay warm at home, using renewable heating technology where possible, and that energy efficient and low carbon measures installed under Warmer Homes Scotland support our goal of making a just transition to a Net Zero nation.
This article is sponsored by Warmworks.
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