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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-07827
Asked by: Liam Kerr, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 5 April 2022

Question

To ask the Scottish Government how the technology neutral stance of Home Energy Scotland takes account of research that reportedly suggests that homeowner decision making can be delayed and often aborted in relation to renewable products where the buyer has insufficient understanding of the product and there is a lack of unbiased information support to aid the decision-making process.

Current status: Answered by Patrick Harvie on 27 April 2022


Answer

Home Energy Scotland exists to provide homeowners with impartial and bespoke information about their home energy and renewables options to encourage action to reduce energy use, fuel bills and carbon emissions and increase comfort. The advice services are designed to address well-known barriers to action including costs, lack of confidence and information about options and installers, and potential disruption.

It is important that homeowners are given impartial information about all of their options, including for example, replacement of existing fossil fuel heating systems, to ensure they are as informed as possible and make the right choice for them. Home Energy Scotland also has a role to encourage the uptake of low and zero emission heating systems to meet climate change targets and this is one of the reasons as to why the specialist renewables support services exist. In this regard, Home Energy Scotland does not have a technology neutral stance with regards to which heating systems it is actively raising awareness of.

Within Home Energy Scotland there are specialist renewables advisors with training on home renewables systems, home energy efficiency and solutions for historic buildings. These specialists provide an in-depth service to Scottish homeowners, including on-site visits to assess their home and talk through recommendations in person. Reports and fact sheets are issued to homeowners explaining how best to improve the energy efficiency of their home and which renewables systems may be suitable, alongside fuel bill and carbon saving estimates.

Homeowners are given bespoke information on the next steps to take and other support services accessed via Home Energy Scotland. This includes, for example, how to find renewables installers, where they can read customer reviews of installers, and the Green Homes Network, where they can find case studies of other homeowners who have already made improvements to their home. Members on this network are also willing to speak directly to other homeowners, or host them for a visit, to further share their experiences. Homeowners are also given information about the various financial support routes which are open to them including the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Scotland loan and cashback that helps homeowners with the costs of home energy improvements and renewables systems.