We're thrilled to announce that we have been awarded funding to deliver an ‘innovative in-person energy advice project’ through the Local Energy Advice Demonstrator fund (LEAD).
In a consortium led by Surrey County Council (SCC), the Surrey project was one of 36 to receive LEAD funding across the UK. Funding comes from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, and is distributed via the Greater South East Energy Hub, with 7 projects in the South East embarking on LEAD projects. We think that this is one of the largest council-community collaborative projects on energy in the UK, and ZCG is proud to be leading the way in demonstrating the need for unprecedented collaboration across organisations to tackle the challenges we face from climate change and the cost of living crisis, both of which this project can help to tackle.
ZCG will be leading on the 'in-person delivery' portion of the scheme, through the formation of our Home Energy Advice Taskforce (HEAT). HEAT's trained Energy Champions will be providing thermal imaging surveys and energy-efficiency support when they visit the homes of Surrey residents to offer tailored advice and signposting to help them cut their bills, ensure their homes are healthy and comfortable, and help to reduce carbon emissions with the residential energy sector - Surrey’s second largest source of emissions.
To deliver the energy surveys we will be working with a number of community groups across the county, with surveys free to residents in specific target audiences. The Surrey consortium's project demonstrates that - despite current narratives in some circles - ambitious net zero projects and policies can deliver a host of benefits to UK residents. In this case:
Ensuring our homes are healthy, warm and comfortable
Reducing health risks from damp and mould
Cutting emissions from the residential energy sector
Lowering residents’ bills through better energy efficiency and education
The HEAT energy surveys are part of the wider LEAD project, which includes SCC's creation of a ‘One Stop Shop’. This is an online platform which helps to remove obstacles to improving energy efficiency and uptake of retrofit measures. The vast majority of Surrey residents are worried about climate change, and looking to make home improvements, but most of us don't fall into the eligibility criteria for national retrofit funding support.
The One Stop Shop helps to address this by creating a high level retrofit plan based on property type, the resident’s budget, and modelling variables such as when the price of technology will come down, to create a plan which delivers the largest energy savings at the most efficient price and installation point for the resident. It will provide information on trusted Retrofit Assessors and installers - as the name says, creating a One Stop Shop for all your retrofit needs!
The HEAT project builds on a successful trial run last winter, during which ZCG teamed up with Energy Action Redhill and Reigate and surveyed 181 homes, upskilling 30+ local residents as Energy Champions, and provided over 600 energy efficiency remedial measures thanks to funding from UK Power Networks. ZCG’s Activity Coordinator Steph Bleach said of the upscaling of the project, ‘’It’s great to have this funding to increase the scope of such a well-received project. We were inundated with requests for energy surveys last winter, and with up to 300,000 homes in Surrey having an Energy Performance rating of D or below, or no EPC at all, we hope to make a large impact on supporting Surrey residents in making their homes healthy and comfortable, whilst reducing their bills and cutting carbon emissions’’.
Working alongside SCC the aim is that 5% of the homes receiving in-person energy advice embark on a retrofit journey using the One Stop Shop and available funding. If they do, these residents will make cumulative savings of around £320,000 every year! Not to mention carbon reductions of 1,280t CO2e.
If you want to upskill, are considering a move into the energy efficiency sector, or just want to help local residents with their energy bills and carbon savings, you can join the project as an Energy Champion. All training is provided, so there is no need for experience, just a passion to get involved in a meaningful project to help Surrey residents. The next training session is Saturday 13th January in Reigate. You will be paid for conducting surveys, and this can act as a great springboard to secure a part or fully-funded place on upcoming Retrofit Assessor training provided by Surrey and Hampshire authorities. Email email@example.com for more details.
Target audiences for the surveys include the demographics which will see most benefit from this free service, be that through support with bills, maximum energy use reduction, or where obstacles such as language barriers make energy efficiency a complicated topic. Our Energy Champions will provide independent advice to residents based on their personal circumstances, including support in finding grants for energy efficiency improvements like insulation, support to finding debt relief, signposting to Retrofit Assessors, or whatever most benefits that householder.
If you would like to book an energy survey you can use this form to register your interest, and someone will come back to you to confirm if you are eligible.