How HOS Helps is supporting tenants to reduce their energy bills – Scottish Housing Day 2021
By Robbie McAvenue, HOS Volunteer
Scottish Housing Day returns on 15th September for a sixth year running. The event hopes to celebrate achievements across Scotland’s housing sector while also shedding light on the wide range of housing options we have access to in Scotland.
This year is themed around the current climate emergency. More specifically, the event highlights methods we can use to reduce carbon emissions from our homes.
In 2019, the Scottish Government set out to reach “net zero” carbon emissions by 2045. The government have already taken steps towards this goal, promising to stop the installation of gas boilers in new build homes from 2024.
As it stands, 15% of Scotland’s carbon emissions come from the heating in our homes. While the government is taking steps to tackle this, there are still ways that individuals can lend a helping hand.
HOS Helps is our tenancy support service where we work with landlords to help tenants on a range of issues. The service is tailored to the needs of individuals, staff involved offer a person-centred and flexible approach. The service makes sure tenants are being supported on a number of issues; ranging from mental health to methods they can use to keep their homes more environmentally friendly.
Heather Storgaard, our HOS Helps Development worker, has been advising tenants at Almond Housing Association on how to keep their energy bills down. She said:
“Energy is something we should all be aware of, especially because it’s so linked to housing. A lot of Scottish houses are older and less adaptable to being made more environmentally friendly.
Having a modern thermostat that you can control easily is one of the most important things. A big issue that many tenants face is that they might have an outdated smart meter that doesn’t work anymore. Since they can’t control when their heating is on or off, it’s wasting energy.”
It’s important to Heather that tenants are well-versed in how they can keep energy bills down. Without the help of HOS Helps, this kind of information may not have been as easily accessible:
“Younger people immediately pick up their smartphones and google solutions to these things. Many older people just don’t think to do that, even if they have access to technology.
The pandemic has made using digital resources more difficult because waiting times over the phone are now longer. This can also be a problem for disabled people or people in poverty, regardless of age. Having a service like HOS Helps to support with this has definitely been a big improvement for people.”
You can read more about HOS Helps on the HOS website here, and if you’re hoping to get involved in Scottish Housing Day, “Supporter Packs” which contain all sorts of helpful information, are available for download on their website. You can also sign up for the “Scottish Housing Day” newsletter here.