Green success for Highlands and Islands

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THE extent of the green revolution sweeping the Highlands and Islands is revealed in the first ever Scottish Green Energy League Table, with the area coming in second place, narrowly pipped at the post by the North East who took the top spot of Scotland’s 2013 eco-charts.

Just under a third of people in the Highlands and Islands (29per cent) have considered installing or have already fitted money-saving low-carbon upgrades to their homes, research revealed this week by the Energy Saving Trust shows.

And Energy Saving Trust is urging Highland and Island home-owners to act now and upgrade, before interest-free Scottish Government loans – of up to £10,000 towards the cost of renewable systems – end.

The scheme is currently due to finish in March so home-owners in the Highlands and Islands should claim the cash while they can.

Mike Thornton, Director Energy Saving Trust in Scotland said: “The figures from this survey show a bright future for home renewables in the Highlands and Islands.

“But home-owners in the Highlands and Islands thinking about green home improvements need to act fast to make the most of the interest-free loans from the Scottish Government.

“Anyone interested should get in touch with their local Energy Saving Scotland advice centre as soon as possible. Support for householders is changing so people really should take advantage of this offer before it’s gone.”

The survey found solar panels are the Highlands and Islands favourite green purchase, with 24per cent saying they had either considered installing the technology in their home of had them already.

Results also showed 44per cent of Scottish adults have no idea how much money they could expect to save each year by generating their own energy through renewable energy systems; with a further 13per cent believing doing so wouldn’t save them anything.

In fact, Energy Saving Trust research shows home-owners in the Highlands and Islands with solar PV panels could save, and earn around £578 a year; and those installing a ground source heat pump in a three bedroom semi-detached home could save £610 a year over electric heating.

In addition, almost one in every 75 homes in Scotland now has a renewables system installed.

Mr Thornton added: “More than a tenth (13per cent) of people think they wouldn’t save anything by fitting these upgrades, when in fact they could be up to £610 a year better off – an important saving in these difficult economic times.

“Ground and air-source heat pumps, wood-fuelled boilers, wind turbines and solar panels can all play their part in making the Highlands and Islands a greener place to live.”

For more information on renewables systems and financial support, contact a specialist advisor at the local Energy Saving Scotland advice centre on 0800 512 012, or visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk