2014 – Five years of Towards Zero Carbon Bute

Sometimes we get so busy looking forward, we forget to turn around to see how far we have traveled.  Wee bit of zen!

One of the first pieces of work TZCB undertook was an island wide householder and business study.  We had a fantastic response and most if not all the projects we have engaged in since have come from the results of the survey.

Sample Surveys Sent Surveys Returned Response Rate













Some actions such as household energy efficiency support were implemented immediately and have become a core activity for us.  We have supported many people to access free insulation, draught proofing, and new boilers, along with making adjustments to how they use energy.  We have also supported business and community organisations with energy advice.  Karen Hilton is one of Scotland’s first fully qualified and accredited Green Deal assessor.

Other projects took a bit of time and explored different options such as low carbon transport where we have had pilot trials of electric cars, scooters, and car sharing.  We now have Car Bute, UK’s first island based community car club, with over 100 members, managed by Caroline Speirs.

Bute Produce is also five years old this year, supported in it’s first year through TZCB with Climate Challenge Funding.  Ronnie Armstrong, our Senior Horticulturist, started with us as a volunteer.  Over the five years we have supported over 100 people gain skills in horticulture, sales and customer service – many of whom went on to further education or employment.  We work closely with all three primary schools and pre-schools, which all have their own growing spaces now.

And just this week, a new enterprise Bute Community Power has launched a facebook page!  Here’s where it started!



Generally supportive

Supportive in principle but with some reservations

Generally against

Did not answer

Commercial wind farms, usually with a substantial number of wind turbines






Community-based wind farms, generally with only a few wind turbines and where the community gains a financial benefit






Mixed wind-farms with both commercial and community wind turbines where both the developer and the community gain a financial benefit






This is a truly exciting development!  Small steps have been taken each year towards this aim and there are a few more to take to make it a reality however… “A community based wind project, generally with only a few wind turbines and where the community gains a financial benefit” is now an achievable goal.  To get involved, like the page and send a message with your contact details.  These will be added to expression of interest database, with more information to follow.


The full results of that first survey were presented 17th January 2010, at Age of Stupid event.  You can see the presentation by clicking below.

TZCB Presentation (Bute Residents) for Age of Stupid 15th Jan 10

Thank you for your support over the years.


Overcoming barriers – energy efficiency

Overcoming barriers to change can oft times be difficult and yet TZCB has not encountered too much resistance to our energy efficiency project.

So far we have provided support for 178 household, our target was 150!

There are an average of 46 people per day viewing our facebook page!

Over 200 per month clicking to our website!

Here is what we are working to achieve

Community Outcomes – Hard to Treat

  • Understand how domestic energy contributes to climate change and Bute’s carbon footprint
  • Will know the problem areas that need action to improve their buildings energy efficiency
  • Understand what actions they can take to reduce their energy use
  • Understand what solutions are available to insulate and draught proof hard to heat buildings
  • Be aware of the grants, loans and services available to help them
  • Be able to install energy efficient technologies suitable to building type and affordability
  • Benefit from advice and support to help them reduce fuel bills
  • Reduction of 202.5 tonnes from occupants of Hard to Treat buildings

The results of our most recent survey contains very encouraging results.

Hard To Heat

  • 62% of are aware of the project
  • 59% of taken some form of action to reduce their energy use

However we know from the detail in the returns that many are still struggling with high energy costs with over 40% not sure what can be done.  We can help!

There are great online resources just a click away to give you easy to read advice and practical support.




Or pick up the phone and get Free Advice and Support

Call Home Energy Scotland0808 808 2282

And from TZCB – call Karen 01700 504636 – we can provide

  • free tool kit of no cost/low cost advice
  • Electricity monitor so you can track your use
  • home energy efficiency audit – free
  • Green Deal Assessment – fee applies however grant funding may be available

Click on the link above for a short slide show about the survey.



Fuel Poverty on Bute

Over the last year we have been working on a project entitled Overcoming Barriers to Change – Hard to Treat.  The project has been focused on tackling fuel  poverty on Bute.

Over the course of the year we have grown our understanding of just what it means for some people to be fuel poor.  ”Just put on an extra jumper” goes no way close to providing a solution nor does time spent switching between ‘the big six’.  Deputy project manager Karen has visited many islanders this year in order to understand the issues, identify solutions and support action.

Spotting the signs of fuel poverty

Fuel poverty is driven by three main factors: high fuel costs, low incomes, and inefficient homes.  Our island location, like other remote rural areas, only adds to the issue.

Understanding fuel poverty

Living in fuel poverty is miserable.  Making decisions between heating or eating is demoralising.  Hearing yourself constantly nagging about money as you worry about future bills drains your personal energy.

Living in fuel poverty

Something needs to change!  Our project has focused on helping people take positive actions.  The first step is realising you can make positive changes for yourself and your family.  The second is finding out who can support you.  On Bute help can be found at TZCB and Bute Advice Centre.  There is online help at Home Energy Scotland - http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland/Take-action/Home-Energy-Scotland/Home-Energy-Efficiency-Programmes-for-Scotland and telephone advice on 0808 808 2282

Tackling fuel poverty

Take a positive step and find out what support is available for you and yours.  Small things can make a big difference when it comes to draught proofing and insulating.  Contact us for a copy of our No Cost / Low Cost Tool Kit and free electricity monitor.

New boiler - makes me smile!