Energy efficient homes in Scotland: One-stop retrofitting service by your side to save energy and money

Making Scotland’s homes green is no small feat.

In recent years, we have all become more aware of the need to make our homes more energy efficient, both for the environment and to mitigate rising energy costs.

Home heating relying on gas boilers is responsible for 13% of Scotland’s carbon emissions*. It’s estimated 1.5 million homes in Scotland will need retrofitting to achieve the 2045 net zero targets.

With the growing need for expert support for this kind of home improvement, a new service has sprung up. Sam Cribb, Strategic Development Manager at Changeworks, has been leading the way to develop and launch an innovative retrofit service – EcoCosi.

With you every step of the way to make your home greener

EcoCosi is one of the first of its kind of retrofit service in Scotland providing support to homeowners. The service offers end-to-end support for people looking to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Expert retrofit assessors take a close look at a home as well as how energy is used in it, from this creating a bespoke plan for a retrofit that works to the customers’ needs and importantly, budget.

The EcoCosi team can then support with project management if a customer wants to move ahead with a retrofit. This includes providing draft contracts for installers, connecting them with a vetted supplier network, and coordinating the works. EcoCosi also looks to provide quality assurance for the job and post-installation advice to help customers get the best from new measures.

Sam Cribb, Strategic Development Manager at ChangeworksSam Cribb, Strategic Development Manager at Changeworks
Sam Cribb, Strategic Development Manager at Changeworks

Leaking heat – burning money!

Having worked in housing for over a decade, Sam is acutely aware of the need for warmer, more efficient homes in Scotland, explaining:

“Scotland has some of the leakiest homes in Europe, with as much as a third of a home's heat being lost through the walls.”

Sam Cribb, Strategic Development Manager at Changeworks

“From talking to homeowners across Scotland we know the most common barriers that people face include access to unbiased, trustworthy and expert advice, having limited funds to spend and being unsure of how to get the right work done to a quality standard.”

Solving these challenges is the remit of Marc Brammer, senior retrofit coordinator at EcoCosi. In his role, he takes an in-depth look at homes, assesses their energy needs, and designs tailored plans to bring retrofit plans to life. Before EcoCosi, Marc worked for 20 years in the sustainable finance sector before starting his own community-owned solar installation company with an engineering partner.

“I had looked at retrofitting my own home and the process seemed so difficult and expensive. No wonder many people avoid retrofitting their homes. I wanted to help people get over all the hurdles and logistical barriers to retrofitting.”

Marc Brammer, senior retrofit coordinator at EcoCosi

Marc acknowledges that retrofit has a lot of barriers to entry for people to get started. “The biggest barrier is information. People don’t know what to do first, what the best steps would be, what the alternatives are, and are scared off by bad press from many retrofit projects that went wrong.”

Getting Scotland greener

Changeworks’ ambition is to scale the EcoCosi service across Scotland, accelerating the path to greener homes and Scotland achieving net zero targets. Critical to success is the organisation’s links with the retrofit supply chain.

Iain Davies, the Supplier Engagement Manager at EcoCosi, says: “We are investing in forming relationships with manufacturers, installation contractors, governing bodies, policy makers and other stakeholders. By doing so we can keep up to date with advances in technology and wider market developments.”

Marc Brammer, senior retrofit coordinator at EcoCosiMarc Brammer, senior retrofit coordinator at EcoCosi
Marc Brammer, senior retrofit coordinator at EcoCosi

Skilled workers

The crux for customers and business alike is getting enough skilled people to be able to carry out retrofit to a high standard. This is something that the EcoCosi team agree needs government assistance to support businesses and give customers confidence.

Iain explains “There’s a huge skills gap in the supply chain, there need to be more people with the skills to carry out the work needed. Suppliers need to be properly accredited, so that homeowners are confident work will be high quality. That’s where our pre-vetted network of high-quality installers comes into play.”

Whilst EcoCosi is blazing the way and finding innovative solutions to work around these challenges, Sam explains that more still needs to be done to make decarbonising homes in Scotland by 2045 a reality and said mortgage lenders needed to recognise its importance and offer financial incentives to help people spread the costs of a retrofit.

Find out more

71% of people are already taking steps or making plans to decarbonize their homes**. If you’re also looking for ways to make your home green, visit the EcoCosi website to start your retrofit journey

* Heat in Buildings Strategy – achieving net zero emissions in Scotland’s buildings (2021), Scottish Government

**Changeworks commissioned a nationally representative survey of adults in Scotland in November '23 managed by 56 Degree Insight