In 2012, VRG received a grant from the Earlsburn Windfarm Fund to carry out an in-depth survey to determine the wants and needs of our local residents. This generated a response rate of more than 40%, which is fantastic for this type of survey and shows the high level of engagement within our community.
1) Home energy efficiency and energy generation measures were the most popular way to spend wind farm community benefit money. VRG currently serves this need through its Small Grants Scheme.
2) Other popular uses of wind farm funding were opening up the old drove road, preserving historic monuments and improving roads and broadband connectivity.
Some of these items are of course the responsibility of Stirling Council and the Community Council. VRG will contribute and collaborate in these areas wherever possible. For example, VRG and the Community Council currently have a Broadband Working Group, which is looking at broadband provision in the area and what can be done to improve it.
3) Many residents said they would be interested in a Bulk Buy scheme for central heating oil. This was set up in the summer of 2012, and has so far enabled residents to make significant savings on heating oil by clubbing together to all buy at once. More details on this scheme can be found here.
4) Although the balance of opinion on existing wind farms was fairly even, there was a swing of 18% from positive to negative between the 2009 and 2012 surveys. Importantly the majority opinion on additional windfarms was more negative, with 41% of respondents stating that they would have a “High Negative Impact”.
Survey Part 2 – Individual Home Energy Audits
Following the initial paper survey, VRG commissioned an independent home energy advisor, Simon Gooden, to carry out individual home energy audits.
Over forty of these detailed studies were carried out, again paid for by the Earlsburn wind farm fund. These surveys focussed on indentifying the most appropriate ways for each household to reduce their energy bills. The measures recommended were of course specific to the individual houses, but included everything from very cheap measures such as draft proofing and thermal curtains through to more expensive projects such as underfloor and solid wall insulation.
IMPORTANT! It is not too late to have your house surveyed! The survey is entirely free to you, and you will never be pressurized into buying anything or given any hard sell. All measures recommended will also qualify for funding of up to £250 via our Small Grants Scheme. Please get in touch using our contact form if you would like further details.