Posted on 13/5/2015
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Two Govanhill households have secured more than £8,000 in funding after action by South Seeds’ home energy officers.
We met Nazia and her family in October. She lived in a one-bedroomed flat with her husband and three young children. The flat had no gas boiler and the family was using electricity for all their heating and hot water. This was expensive, particularly because the flat had single glazing only, making it difficult to keep the place warm. Her electricity bills could be as high as £140 a month in winter. We carried out a home energy audit, which recommended a number of measures.
The first step Nazia took was to install secondary glazing with the help of our handyman, Uillie. A sheet of rigid polycarbonate plastic was fixed in place around the window frame with magnetic strips. It is invisible from the outside, and involves no structural changes to the property, so planning permission was not needed. In terms of thermal performance it will be almost as effective as double glazing, at a fraction of the cost.
Nazia was delighted, describing it as making “a big difference”. Following the advice that came from our audit, she also fitted some LED lighting and draughtproofing. Key to improving her situation, though, was to try to get grant funding for the installation of gas central heating.
Her husband is self-employed, and as part of the application process Nazia needed to confirm his earnings in the previous tax year. We supported her with that, and with other issues that came up in the application process, visiting a number of times to make sure everything was moving forward. Once the paperwork was in place, an engineer came to assess the property from a technical point of view.
Nazia’s new boiler and central heating system were installed in March. The full cost of £3,500 was met by the Home Energy Scotland’s energy assistance scheme. Before we visited she had no idea that she would qualify for anything as substantial as a new gas central heating system.
After the installation our energy officer visited to support Nazia in understanding and using her boiler timer, programmer and room thermostat. She was delighted with her new system, saying she was “very, very happy”.
Tommy was in a similar position, in a flat with no boiler or central heating system, but living alone. He had no working direct hot water supply, relying on an electric shower, and boiling kettles of water for washing and to do his dishes. In addition to this, he had single-glazed windows that were old and deteriorating. His bills were more than £100 a month, most of which was for electric heating. The sheer scale and cost of this work prohibited Tommy from ever getting it done.
Our energy officer Casey identified that Tommy could qualify for a central heating system, and Casey supported him in the application process. Having received his new central heating system, Tommy was then able to afford to upgrade his old windows to much-improved UPVc double glazing units.
Tommy is now enjoying lower bills and a much more comfortable home. Casey has since visited again to offer support in understanding and using the boiler controls, during which time Tommy commented on “what a difference” the energy improvements had made to his home.
Both households’ energy-efficiency improvements were funded under the Home Energy Scotland’s Energy Assistance Scheme – which closed in March.
South Seeds is looking forward to helping residents access home-improvement funding under a new Home Energy Scotland scheme when it launches in September. Watch this space!