Every household in the Galson and Carloway estates are eligible to receive free home energy audits.

The project comes from a partnership between Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh.

Development officer at Urras Oighreachd Chàrlabhaigh (Carloway Estate Trust), Sally Reynolds, explained: "Carloway Estate Trust are delighted to be working on a joint project with Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) - it is the first of its kind and we hope to see many more joint projects between Community Land Owners in the future. "

"I particularly like this project because it provides practical help to households including reducing energy bills; it is an inclusive project with every household in the estate areas eligible for the free visits regardless of any previous schemes or home visits." 

Project Officer, Louise Senior, told welovestornoway: “The aim of our project is to help community homes reduce carbon and reduce energy use.  The process starts when we visit a person's home, have a chat about their current understanding of the energy they use.”

The team then look at the fabric of the building, analysing what insulation is present, what the heating system is and how electrical appliances are used.  Each household is then provided with a written report.

“One easy improvement to make is to replace old lightbulbs with LED bulbs,” explained Louise.  “These lightbulbs are paid for by the Trusts and we can provide householders with up to 14.”

Research suggests that the average incandescent lightbulb costs the householder around £8 a year in electricity.  With LED lightbulbs, the cost is just 80p each year.   “It also produces far less carbon emissions, so people can do their bit for the environment,” Louise stated.

The service is entirely free and is funded by the Climate Challenge Fund, as part of the Keep Scotland Beautiful campaign.  “All you need to do is give us a ring or an email,” explained Louise.  “Either call Carloway on 01851 643481 or Galson on 01851 850393 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   Then, we'll arrange a time to pop in which suits you.”  The visit can take place during evenings or weekends, as well as normal office hours.

Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn moved to new premises in February, after a fire destroyed their headquarters.  Commercial Development Manager, Lisa Maclean, stated: “We relocated to the business centre in South Dell, a property owned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.  We expect to be here for 18 months to two years while we rebuild on the site in Galson.

“We are operating as before and our usual activities and events are underway. The office is set up and we were so fortunate to have digitised files, so we were able to access all working documents immediately.

“Disaster recovery is never going to be easy, but having a plan, taking it one day at a time and keeping people involved certainly help with that.  Support from far and wide provide the encouragement and drive to keep motivated. It's community spirit in action and this community has that spirit in spadefuls.”