Home Energy MOT

Sustainable Hayfield and Marches Energy Agency (MEA) have today published a report of their excellent Home Energy MOT initiative.  

Laurie James, on behalf of Sustainable Hayfield and Marches Energy writes:

  • SH/MEA offered all Hayfield parish residents free supply/installation of low-level insulation aides, and advice about energy efficiency and cutting energy bills;
  • over 100 households – over 10% of the parish total – took up the offer of a visit, within which all work was done/advice offered. With more resources, there would have been more;
  • the average household received six items designed to cut energy use, at a unit cost to the project of just over £90 a visit, remarkably good value;
  • we calculate the project, and householders’ further, detailed, efforts to make their home more energy efficient following discussions with project staff, is delivering annual carbon equivalent emissions saving of around one tonne. Examples of subsequent actions households are taking are cited.
  • householders’ feedbackon the service was universally positive, with an enduring legacy, not least for local energy advice and retrofit services. The report features many quotes.

Read the full report

Key findings

  1. there is a hunger for easily accessible, free, independent advice and low level assistance to help make people’s homes warmer and cut wasteful energy use. 13% (135) of parish households initially requested an ‘energy MOT’ visit and 103 were done
  2. local branding (by Sustainable Hayfield) was important
  3. people’s knowledge of available options is often limited. Radiator reflector foil, and chimney draught excluders, were a revelation to many. Ownership of boiler settings, effective use of thermostatic controls and ways of mitigating risk of mould and damp was uneven.
  4. the national ‘fuel crisis’ helped secure householders’ attention and commitment.
  5. assessing household energy efficiency, providing advice and information, installing agreed low level insulation aides, and exploring options for the future, all in one visit of was a big ‘selling point’.
  6. The unit cost of a visit, with an average installation of 6 items, was just over £90.
  7. fundamental to the project’s success was the division of role between local community activists (Sustainable Hayfield) and the experience and procurement activities of a specialist agency (MEA).
  8. a per household payment by Sustainable Hayfield helped secure the partnership and, with other fundraising, resulted in an eventual funding split of 1:2 between the parties.
  9. the deployment of an experienced ‘energy assessor’, resident in Hayfield, to undertake almost all visits was crucial to the project’s success. This highlights the need to invest in the development of local skills in energy efficiency.
  10. outreach was strongest with people aged over 55. There is a need to consider how best to engage with younger residents. Using schools as a promotional outlet is an obvious route to consider.
  11. the nature of much local housing (stone, solid walled) limits options for affordable insulation. There was almost no interest, even if fully-funded, in internal wall insulation.
  12. many households’ awareness and ability to cut their energy bills/emissions has increased

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