Jun 7, 2022 | Energy

Energy advice for homes and small businesses in Lochalsh and Skye

In May, we hosted a great talk by Donnie Mackay of the Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association, reflecting on 12 years of providing an Energy Advice Service along with Laura Campbell. Donnie gave a useful history and context for this ‘Energycaring’ service and explained the myriad challenges they have encountered along the way and some of their solutions. Much of his talk was also relevant to small businesses such as B&B’s and self-catering properties.

He packed a lot of information into the session, explaining why fuel poverty is rampant in Lochalsh and Skye – in private as well as housing association homes. He sketched a picture of interacting factors such as lack of mains gas, high energy costs (compared to central belt), suboptimal supply chains, poorly insulated housing stock and high levels of related ill health.

Donnie emphasised the ‘first rule‘ of energy efficiency: ‘It has to be wind- and water-tight!’

The other basic considerations relate to fabric, ventilation, heating, people and tariff. So, insulate the fabric, control unwanted ventilation and promote healthy ventilation. People should develop good energy saving habits and skills to best manage their own homes. Install an efficient and easy-to-use heating system and buy energy at the cheapest tariff.

A slide from Donnie’s talk showing examples of poor home insulation revealed by thermal imagery.
Following the presentation, participants considered possibilities for developing resources and enabling retrofitting of homes to tackle fuel poverty while steering towards Net Zero. Initial informal discussions are taking place and we hope to be able to share some ideas and invite wider participation in due course.

Donnie’s presentation is available as a pdf. It contains many facts, figures and illustrations along with good advice and contacts for further support and advice. Contact anne@skyeclimateaction.org  if you would like a copy.

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