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Blog Post 29 July 2021

Putting digital at the heart of what we do

The digital interface sits at the nexus of engagement, delivery, consumer, industry and valued partners. No wonder it’s a key growth engine for Energy Saving Trust

Digital tools help us deliver programmes, offering tailored advice to customers using channels that suit them. Our data services also help other organisations develop targeted solutions to upgrading housing stock and mapping future energy needs, while tackling the climate emergency.

Home Energy Scotland, the advice service delivered by Energy Saving Trust on behalf of the Scottish Government, drew up a digital strategy three years ago. The idea was to augment existing, well-used phone-based services with online access options favoured by a wide range of customers seeking advice on everything from electric vehicle chargepoints to switching fuel tariffs.

A new standalone website launched last year hosts a growing suite of self-serve tools that enable visitors to explore energy efficiency improvement possibilities and options for financial support.

Using Home Energy Scotland’s partnership referral portal, thousands of other organisations can enter their client’s details during site visits and so trigger a call-back from the nearest advice centre.

Harry Mayers, head of Home Energy Scotland, said: “Because these services see us as a trusted go-to partner, they’re comfortable sharing details of often vulnerable clients. The key advantage is that householders themselves don’t need to act – it all happens via our highly secure interface.”

Key to the Home Energy Scotland digital drive has been an important cultural shift that sees specialist advisors increasingly skilled in delivering frontline services using email and social media. “Training,” says Harry, “is paramount. Customers contacting us are often distressed. These are challenging circumstances to deal with. So, our ability to provide trusted and impartial advice using digital channels is crucial.”

Shining an analytical light on our housing stock

Energy Saving Trust’s proprietary housing stock database covers 27 million properties in Great Britain, incorporating 120 variables for each site, from type of home and tenure to suitability for renewable energy systems and risk of fuel poverty.

Launched in 2013, Home Analytics also includes geographical identifiers allowing data aggregation at levels from small area upwards. The primary data source is Energy Performance Certificate records. Other datasets include the Home Energy Efficiency Database, managed by Energy Saving Trust and incorporating 10 million records, and the Home Energy Check tool used by householders to improve their energy profile. Land Registry and Ordnance Survey records add to the picture.

Home Analytics pools datasets to create as complete a profile as possible for as many properties as possible, then builds models from the data to fill in the gaps. Sean Lemon, data manager, said: “Our tool combines known data from trusted sources with modelled data that is predictive. Over several development cycles we’ve fine-tuned the logic of our modelling to maximise its accuracy.”

Energy Saving Trust provides Home Analytics to all local authorities in Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government for use in multiple contexts from retrofit planning to fuel poverty tracking. In England and Wales, local and regional councils access reports, maps and data on a commercial basis to assess the condition of their housing stock.

Jamie Browne, business development manager, said: “Local authorities can baseline their housing stock as part of their commitment to confronting the climate emergency. Our new Portfolio Energy Assessment Tool (PEAT) analyses the raw data to identify actions needed at a particular address to help meet climate objectives.”

For any business looking to provide an energy saving product or service, Home Analytics works as lead-generating tool geared to best practice. “It’s important,” says Jamie, “that householders don’t end up with a product they don’t need. We want them to have the smartest advice they can get.”

Last updated: 29 July 2021