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Meeting the challenge of rural heating

SBHA invites Mitsubishi Ecodan van to talk to tenants about advantages of air source heat pumps.

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The Mitsubishi Ecodan van, a mobile exhibition unit showcasing the advantages of air source heat pumps (ASHPs), paid a visit to the Borders last week.

As part of its commitment to making tenants’ homes easier and more affordable to heat, Scottish Borders Housing Association (SBHA) has commissioned Easyheat to fit Mitsubishi ASHPs in some of its rural off-gas homes in Newcastleton and Town Yetholm, and invited the Ecodan van to spend a day in each village to talk to tenants about the advantages of the systems.

Caroline Purcell, SBHA Director of Property Services, said: “People are often uncertain about the new technology, so the visit from the Ecodan van was an ideal opportunity for people to ask questions about how the systems run, what they cost, and anything else they might be curious about.”

Mr and Mrs Gillie of Town Yetholm have already had a new system fitted.

They said: We don’t run out of heating now. Previously, the old electric storage heaters would run out.

“When we compared costs over the year, the new system is costing us half as much.

“The Air source heat pump is absolutely super during the winter. Everywhere is nice and warm during the evening.”

Caroline Purcell continued: “Tenants can choose whether they have an ASHP, and we recognise that they are a completely different way of working with heating. Operating the systems can take time to learn, but we’re finding that, once people get used to this, the feedback is usually positive.

“When used in conjunction with good insulation, ASHPs provide an efficient home energy solution for off-gas homes.”

SBHA has also worked with energy charity Changeworks to provide advice to tenants on getting the best deal from energy companies as well as how to use their heating systems to get the best value for money.

All social landlords are required to have their housing stock meet the Scottish Government’s Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing Energy Efficiency Standard (EESSH) by December 2020.

Caroline Purcell concluded: “Because of the spread of our homes, both geographically and in terms of age, there have been challenges, but we are ahead of target to achieve EESSH compliance in homes by December 2020. There will be a small number of homes placed into temporary exemption where tenants have refused works. More than 88% of our homes have now achieved the standard. But, more importantly, more of our tenants’ homes are easier and more affordable to heat.”

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