Learning and Reflection

Energy Advice Service

The energy advice service continues to be very well received with universally positive feedback. People trust and appreciate the expert, independent advice and support that we are able to provide. However, there seems to be steady core level of demand for five or six full audits per week which is difficult to increase.

In some cases it is clear that a full audit and report are not required. Rather than taking time to write a full report it may be more appropriate in some situations to simply leave householders with relevant advice sheets. We plan to update and redesign our advice sheets to better fulfil this purpose.

The discount PV scheme was popular and people were very pleased to be able to use a local installer whom they trust. It was unfortunate that the scheme fell foul of the FITS debacle just as it was really getting going. Falling prices mean that PV’s remain a good investment, even with the new lower FIT rate, however, the new qualifying rules for FITS requiring an EPC rating of level D or better will rule out many future installations in this area. Upgrading the energy efficiency of many of our hard to treat homes to level D or above will be extremely expensive or will require relaxation of planning restrictions for conservation areas.

We severely underestimated the difficulty of obtaining a finalised ‘framework agreement’ with East Lothian Council to provide capital finance for our proposed revolving loan fund for eco-refurbishment projects. Whilst very supportive, Council officials have often had more pressing priorities and we have still not reached a final agreement. We remain convinced that the availability of such an easy finance package, along with a community run advice service will be crucial elements of achieving the future home energy savings required and still hope to launch  this scheme very soon. We are deeply sceptical of the proposed UK Green Deal and it remains very unclear what effect this may have on our future service provision.  We will need to review how best to work with this scheme when the details are finally announced.