How has a Trial Delivered for Fuel-poor Homes Through Retrofitting?
Green Home Systems has completed the successful delivery of a £1 million energy efficiency trial with OVO Energy to tackle fuel poverty and climate change. How has the trial used retrofitting to deliver for fuel-poor homes?

The trial programme saw the installation of a suite of energy efficiency measures in 19 fuel-poor households located throughout Scotland and was funded through the ECO4 energy efficiency programme.

Each of the properties has had a complete retrofit boost with a new air source heat pump and solar PV systems installed, alongside insulation upgrades to the loft, floors, and walls. It found that the average reduction in annual utility costs is £2,079 per household, and each home now has a top EPC rating of A or B. A total of 120 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year have also been abated because of the project.

Residents’ Energy Bills Have Been Reduced Massively

The homes were located across areas including Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, Falkirk, Angus, Fife and Highlands. At one property in Ballachulish, the EPC rating was increased from the poorest band (G) to the most efficient (A), which was revealed to have reduced the residents’ energy bills by £3,121 per year and decreased the property’s annual CO2 emissions by 8.5 tonnes.

It is part of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) programme – a UK Government energy efficiency policy that aims to tackle fuel poverty and reduce GHG emissions from homes throughout the UK by providing free or heavily subsidised energy-efficient home improvements.

Each home was upgraded to the highest retrofit specifications set out by the government-recognised PAS2030/35 and Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) installation standards, with the quality assurance provided by TrustMark, the UK Government’s only endorsed quality scheme for work carried out in and around domestic homes.

Managing Director at Green Home Systems, Alastair Macphie, explained that the trial has shown the impact funding can have on improving the lives of residents: “We are really excited by the results of this trial and encouraged by the positive impact it has made helping both fuel poor households achieve affordable warmth while drastically reducing carbon emissions.”

By cumulatively reducing these families’ energy bills by £39,506 per year we have demonstrated the opportunity that ECO4 funding can make to deliver energy efficiency to Scottish family homes.

Smart Technologies Have Been Used To Reduce The Overall Energy Demand

Green Home Systems has implemented smart technology such as air source heat pumps and solar PV systems to ensure that a sustainable energy source is used, by combining these technologies, the environmental and cost-saving benefits can be maximised.

Insulation upgrades are also key to maximising energy efficiency in homes and include the installation of new and improved levels of insulation materials to the loft, floor, and walls. Creating a thermal barrier helps to prevent heat loss and means that the heat is retained inside the home for longer. Therefore, this reduces the overall energy demand of the property, with less energy being used, energy bills are cheaper.

Following the success of the trial, Green Home Systems is intending to roll out this on a larger scale during early 2023 and will be opening it up to local authorities. It is hoped that this will help local authorities to maximise the benefit for their residents through the ECO Flex eligibility mechanism.