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SH May 13, 2011

Who will forget in a hurry the cold snaps we experienced over the last 2 winters. The prolonged periods of cold weather meant many of us will have faced higher energy bills. And anyone trying to buy heating oil in December last year would have found that not only was it hard to get an accurate delivery date, but that prices fluctuated dramatically from week to week.

Energy prices are increasing as demand for the likes of oil increases in other parts of the world. Add to this the costs of creating all the renewable energy capacity the Government wants to establish and one thing is certain – we will pay more for our energy supplies in the future. These increasing prices are giving rise to concern about an issue known as fuel poverty. Fuel poverty can loosely be defined as a situation in which a household is not able to heat a home to an acceptable standard at an acceptable cost, in relation to its income. Put another way, a household is in fuel poverty if it needs to spend more than 10% of its income on all household fuel use.

Kirkhill and Bunchrew Community Trust have been awarded Scottish Government funding to run a year-long community programme to raise awareness of energy efficiency and low carbon energy (or renewable energy). The programme will help residents understand how they can make their homes more energy efficient and how micro generation equipment like solar panels or heat pumps can help provide alternative sources of energy.

The programme has three objectives,

  1. Increase awareness of energy use and energy efficiency. How would you like to be an energy efficiency volunteer, using a free energy monitor to help understand how you make your home more energy efficient. We will provide a free energy monitor for 2 months and a list of actions you can take to make your home more energy efficient. All we ask is for some feedback on your experience and the savings you’ve made. We will have regular prizes for the best feedback and savings.  
  2. Maximise uptake of subsidised and funded energy efficiency improvements and insulation deals. There is a range of assistance available to help make our homes more energy efficient. Depending on individual circumstances you may qualify for free or subsidised energy efficiency assistance or support. We will be reminding people throughout the year to check if they qualify for this support. 
  3. Increase awareness of renewable energy/low carbon energy solutions. We are planning to run a renewable energy fair in the late October where there will be different micro generation equipment on display and experts available to talk about the different domestic systems.

We would like to hear from residents who are interested in taking part in the energy efficiency challenge or are keen to find out more about the support and assistance they can receive. We have established a short survey  to collect contact information which we will pass onto the regional Energy Saving Scotland advice centre. Alternatively, you can contact the centre direct on the freephone number 0800 512 012.

Over the coming 12 months there will be regular updates and information on how the Programme develops and how you can get engaged. With there being a certainty energy prices will get more expensive in the future, now is the time to make sure your home is an energy efficient one.

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