How Firefly Energi is helping homes out of fuel poverty

Orkney’s fuel poverty rate of 63 per cent* is the highest in the UK. It is the result of a combination of low wages, high heating costs, particularly for households who use electric heating, older energy-inefficient housing stock, lifestyle choices and a harsh climate.

Infrared thermovision image shows how heat escapes without insulation

But as set out in Orkney’s Fuel Poverty Strategy which aims to significantly reduce fuel poverty in Orkney to the national average by 2022 and eradicate it entirely by 2032, a number of actions are being taken.

These include offering advice to households and helping them access government funds such as The Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland: Area Based Scheme (HEEPS: ABS) and the Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland: Warmer Homes Scotland.

Firefly Energi is working alongside the Citizens Advice Bureau, Orkney Islands Council, Home Energy Scotland, and THAW Orkney to address the situation, by providing  on the ground advice and assistance on fuel poverty and energy efficiency, as well as undertaking installation of insulation and energy efficient heating systems to households experiencing ‘fuel poverty’ – those spending more than 10% of their income on heating.

We have helped households access up to £9,000 in funding for insulation projects as well as funding for installation of heating systems. The changes to fuel bills and levels of comfort in those homes have been remarkable.

‘…the average monthly savings were £94.50 per month’

Fuel poverty not only impacts on a household’s ability to keep their home warm, but it also can affect both physical and mental health. Some households are choosing between heating their property and eating.

The work we undertook under the Scottish Government’s Warm Homes Fund delivered all 200 first-time central heating systems, including 142 oil systems and 58 air-to-water heat pumps.

From research we undertook of 10 recently fitted air-to-water heat pumps, we found that, based on the estimated energy costs from the pre and post EPCs, the average monthly savings were £94.50 per month. This equates to an average estimated saving of £3,402 over 3 years.

One household was spending roughly £20 every second day on their old ESH.  We installed an air-to-water heat pump over a weekend and the £20 they put onto their meter on the Monday morning was still in credit on the following Friday. This has now taken the household out of fuel poverty.

From analysis of the project data, it is clear that this project has been focused on targeting the least energy-efficient homes, and by targeting them we have also been able to offer additional measures through the HEEPS:ABS campaign. This has seen significant improvements in energy efficiency, with 113 households seeing an increase in their energy efficiency rating to a D or above, and 24 seeing an increase to a C rating. From the properties reaching a C rating, only one property started as a D.

Combining the Warm Homes Fund project with the Council’s Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland: Area Based Schemes (HEEPS: ABS) has proved very successful. It has meant that a significant number of households have obtained funding from both projects and combining the project has meant a very successful ‘one-stop shop’ approach to insulation and heating upgrades that does not require households to approach multiple contractors. It has also allowed the Council and Firefly Energi to maximise the amount of Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding that can be drawn into the programme.

To find out how you can access funding to transform the energy efficiency of your home call Firefly Energi on 01856 881151 or email