A day full of energy
Published: 11 May 2015
Name: Diane Bannerman
Job title: community liaison officer
Company: Home Energy Scotland
My working day usually starts at 9am. Normally I head to the office to check my e-mails and get a cup of tea, but my first port of call may be a home visit, fuel poverty workshop or networking event anywhere in the north-east of Scotland.
Fuel poverty is an issue that affects people right across the north east and my work reflects that. I could find myself working in any part of the region and my role is very varied.
The cold climate here means that those with poorly insulted homes can find themselves with very high fuel bills.
My week is planned out in advance but it can change depending on where I’m visiting.
If I’m in the office I usually take a healthy lunch with me and spend time catching up with workmates in the staffroom. There is a garden area at work – which myself and colleagues designed and upkeep – where I'll enjoy my lunch, weather permitting. If I'm out and about I'll eat lunch when and where it's convenient. If I'm at a partnership event it could be a working lunch, over which I get to meet and know new people.
Much like my morning, it varies. I may visit a vulnerable client at their home to offer in-depth and bespoke advice to help with their individual situation. The aim is to create homes that are warm and cheaper to heat. I can recommend measures to help a householder do so, based on their property and personal circumstances, as well as facilitate access to grants and funding from the Government to help improve energy efficiency in their home.
When meeting a client for the first time, I need to find out about how much energy they use and how efficient the property is. To do this, I carry out a free home energy report with an energy efficiency rating, as well as provide suggestions on how to better it. Their energy rating can be improved in different ways such as low cost DIY tips and behavioural changes. This can be learning how to take meter readings, understanding energy bills and comparing utility suppliers and tariffs.
Of course there are more costly measures but often there is financial assistance available to install them and I can help people access that funding.
All this can be done one-to-one, face-to-face with a home visit or in groups at events and workshops. Group sessions can be really interesting and lively as people share their experiences with one another.
I work on a variety of different projects and deliver fuel poverty workshops and information services to local communities and multi-ethnic groups.
Home Energy Scotland is the front line body for the Scottish Government in terms of sustainability and fuel poverty, working with other organisations and partners is an important part of my role.
There are many third sector organisations across the north east who are speaking to people affected by fuel poverty, who are struggling to pay fuel bills, and I look to work with them to extend our reach and help as many people as possible, from all backgrounds. Through these home visits, fuel poverty awareness training and workshops, outreach events and working in partnership I visit places I would not normally come across, which I enjoy.
My workmates in the office mix well and there are always social events in the calendar. We have a monthly dinner club called ‘Bite Club’ where
we visit a different restaurant, chosen at random. It's yet to disappoint. In our garden we've also held all-weather barbecues.
I quite like walking and taking in some fresh air and new scenery,
and otherwise I'll get my exercise at the gym. Failing all that I'll be at
home relaxing and watching a movie.