Associate Feature: We must build on funding success to reach net zero targets
In the face of the accelerating climate crisis and increasing living costs, it’s more important than ever to deliver affordably warm, sustainable homes. At Changeworks, our focus is decarbonising Scotland’s homes to tackle the climate emergency and help alleviate fuel poverty through better insulated, more energy-efficient homes.
Working in collaboration with the Scottish Government and local authority partners, the 2022-23 financial year was our most successful yet for delivering Energy Efficient Scotland: Area Based Schemes (EES: ABS). We delivered £13.6 million of major home improvements to households in or at risk of fuel poverty, reducing carbon emissions whilst making homes easier, and more affordable to heat.
We partnered with Aberdeen City Council, the City of Edinburgh Council, Fife Council, Midlothian Council, Moray Council, Scottish Borders Council and South Lanarkshire Council to install 2,269 energy efficiency measures, upgrading 1,587 homes. Scotland has some of the leakiest homes in Europe, and as much as a third of a home’s heat is lost through the walls. Installing insulation and measures like air source heat pumps or solar panels not only reduces carbon emissions, but also results in huge energy savings at a time when more people than ever are in fuel poverty.
The difference this funding makes cannot be underestimated. 93% of householders who took part in schemes in 2021-22 said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the works and the impact projects made to their homes when surveyed. Almost 90% said that the schemes improved the energy efficiency of their homes, and 84% said their homes felt warmer.
As a result of one project in the Scottish Borders, homeowner Susan’s electricity bill has “gone down by almost half” thanks to her new air source heat pump and cavity wall insulation. Elsewhere, a single mum in Midlothian says her house now retains its heat, meaning she no longer struggles to pay her heating bills.
Changeworks has longstanding partnerships with some local authorities, like the City of Edinburgh Council, where we’ve delivered projects since the schemes began in 2013. The City of Edinburgh Council Leader Cammy Day said:
“The rising cost of heating has hit households hard. It has been a really difficult time for lots of people but I’m confident that the initiatives we’ve put in place with Changeworks are making a difference. From tenants to homeowners, hundreds of the worst affected households in Edinburgh are now cheaper to heat and more sustainable thanks to this work. Buildings have been future proofed against energy loss and unnecessary carbon emissions.
Meeting our energy efficiency commitments certainly isn’t easy, but it’s vitally important. This partnership working is making a genuine difference to people’s lives. In the face of our climate emergency, we have more work to do but we’re working towards being a net zero carbon city by 2030. I hope we can accelerate this good work should necessary funding from the Scottish Government be made available.”
EES: ABS projects are hugely impactful, and the programme’s longevity delivers more benefits than shorter-lived initiatives. However, we need to maximise every opportunity to cut carbon emissions from our homes. Rising costs mean the number of people benefitting from schemes will fall if funding remains static. Changeworks supports calls for a multi-year funding model, allowing local authorities and delivery agents to secure supply costs over longer contract periods, increase householder engagement and expand on delivery time by reducing procurement cycles.
There is an urgent need and scope to build on last year’s success. We would welcome support from the Scottish Government to make largescale decarbonisation more achievable as we work to meet Scotland’s ambitious net zero targets.
This article is sponsored by Changeworks