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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

Climate Friendly Homes: Helping engage people in energy efficiency

Greener Kirkcaldy have been delivering energy advice in Fife for over 10 years. We provided indepth energy advice to over 3,200 households across Fife last year. Our service is accessible to anyone, there are no requirements or eligibility criteria, other than living in Fife, and our service is in demand more than ever before.  

We offer a range of advice and support to help households manage their bills and reduce their energy consumption, including a free, means-tested handy service that allowed us to fit simple measures into over 600 homes last year, such as LED bulbs, radiator panels and thermal curtains.  

Ultimately, we have two aims - to help households make meaningful changes to tackle the climate emergency and support households struggling to stay warm and pay their bills.   

One of our projects this year, Climate Friendly Homes, is helping us engage people in the various energy efficiency improvements they could make to their home, including solar pv, batteries and heat pumps, as well as services, such as thermal imaging surveys. Climate Friendly Homes is part of Climate Action Fife, a Fife-wide partnership project, bringing together individuals, communities, local government and businesses to tackle the climate emergency and make Fife a greener and fairer place to live. It is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund’s Climate Action Fund, which enables people and communities to take the lead in tackling the climate emergency. 

If you’re looking for ways to reduce your energy consumption – regardless of whether this is to reduce your carbon emissions, your bills, or both - it can be difficult to know where to start. An internet search for “How to save energy?” can lead you to hundreds, if not thousands, of web pages offering tips, tricks and “hacks” on how to cut your consumption. Whilst these can often be a good starting point, when we’re facing the significant challenges of the climate emergency and energy crisis, they can fall short.  

There’s also the possibility you may fall afoul of misinformation, or just generally bad advice. We’ve spoken to people who have made choices which has ultimately cost them more money, or worse, put their families lives at risk. This is why impartial advice from a trustworthy source is vital.  

Not only that, but the advice needs to be tailored. We have countless different types of homes in the UK, and the people occupying them all have vastly different lifestyles, heat their homes differently, have different routines and make different choices about how they use their appliances. They also have different budgets available to make any suggested changes. Giving the same list of top-tips to all households isn’t enough. 

The same also applies if you’re looking to improve the energy efficiency of your property, or access grants or funding to make improvements. Low carbon technologies such as heat pumps can seem complicated and there is often limited guidance and support for those choosing to install them. 

This advice needs to come from a trusted source. People don’t need to be sold on the benefits of these technologies; you know the benefits, what you need is someone you trust, to tell you if it’s right FOR YOU. And the best trusted source? Someone local in your community.  

Sources of help and funding vary by locality. Our advisors are based in Fife and know exactly what is available to those who live in Fife.  

While its vital people get support to access funding for energy efficiency measures, we shouldn’t forget the importance of good advice to go alongside it. 

Michael Hildrew is Energy Advice Team Leader at Greener Kirkcaldy.

Last modified on 30 January 2023