Healthy Homes

for Skye, Raasay & Lochalsh

The Healthy Homes

Online Conference


The Healthy Homes Conference, held online on 9th February 2024, presented the results of our survey of home condition and energy use in 426 homes in Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh. (See buttons on the right for links to the Healthy Homes report).

Over 100 people registered for the conference, bringing together local residents, community groups, specialists in home energy and community-based retrofitting, agencies and policy makers. Participants shared insights and experiences, and discussed potential actions to deal with the many cold, damp and draughty homes that are costly to keep warm.

Conference participants agreed that retrofitting and upgrading homes to make them more energy efficient, healthy and comfortable to live in is  essential, and that local, place-based actions tailored to the Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh situation are the solution. Several agencies and organisations offered their support for the next steps.

The Healthy Homes team is now working on plans for a local initiative to start making local retrofitting a reality. If you would like to know more or be involved, please contact us at

Watch the conference video recording here; passcode is : S9?bDicP

See the conference programme here.

Click on the links below to see the conference presentations:

Ian Brown, James Wilson & Anne MacLennan, Healthy Homes project 

Ian Brown, James Wilson & Anne MacLennan, Healthy Homes project (part 2)

Rosie Macinnes, Carbon Neutral Islands Raasay

Tom Nockolds, Loco Home Glasgow

Aythan Lewes, EdinBRIC

Ronnie MacRae, Communities Housing Trust

Lowri Richards & Laura Campbell, Lochalsh & Skye Housing Association

Isla MacMillan & Ruta Barbaite, The Highland Council

Gloria Lo, Architect, SEDA Chair

Pilar Rodriguez, Energy Saving Trust

Dean Wigglesworth, Home Energy Scotland

Freya Burns, Changeworks

Alistair Nicolson, Highlands & Islands Enterprise

Julie Steel, Directorate of Energy and Climate Change, Scottish Government


Scroll down to read more about the Healthy Homes project.

Summary of the Healthy Homes report

The Healthy Homes survey provides the first detailed, community-led, all-tenure, housing condition and energy efficiency information specific to Skye, Raasay & Lochalsh, based on 426 responses or 6% of households. It presents the perspective of our local community, and reveals notably worse housing conditions than recorded in government statistics for The Highland Council area and Scotland as a whole.

Our survey found that our area has particular and severe challenges in terms of (1) the state of repair of homes and (2) the availability of affordable and effective means of upgrading them. This results in homes that leak heat which, coupled with reliance on expensive electricity for heating, means people ration energy and can’t keep their homes warm in winter, while generating a higher carbon footprint.

Nineteen percent of homes were never or rarely warm in winter and only 12% were fully warm in the winter. Many homes suffered from draughts (36%) and mould and damp (30%). Only one third of homes indicated they had no concerns over mould or damp. Two-thirds of homes (67%) were poorly insulated. There is no mains gas supply, so the majority rely on expensive mains electricity, leading to 32% of homes economising on heating often with fuel poverty, affecting an estimated 51%. 

The most common type of dwelling was old, solid stone-walled or concrete-walled homes (38%). These homes have many severe repair and insulation problems that need to be addressed before heating systems can be upgraded. Fifty to sixty percent of homes needed repairs to windows, damp proofing, wall/loft/underfloor insulation or upgrading their heating system.

Our survey covered both home owners and tenants. Sixty-four percent of householders wanted advice on affordable warmth, but 48% had not received any. The main barrier to getting homes repaired and upgraded was the cost (60% of homes). Not knowing what to do to improve the home, unavailability of builders, the disruption involved in renovations, and unavailability of grants were cited as barriers by a quarter of householders (25-29%). Respondents’ comments powerfully and movingly expressed their frustrations and despair at the difficulties of getting repairs done while contending with diverse regulations and funding schemes.

The survey report concludes that the answer lies in developing an accessible, local retrofit sector, that is able to repair and upgrade homes efficiently and to a good standard, and is trusted by the local community. The recommendations set out the next steps and further actions towards this aim.

Background to the

Healthy Homes survey

The problem of draughty and damp homes

Here in Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh our climate is windy and wet, and we have some of the highest fuel poverty and energy costs in Scotland. Many of our homes are poorly insulated, suffer from damp and are costly to keep warm. This affects our health and our finances.

Our homes need to be upgraded and retrofitted to make them healthier to live in and more affordable to heat. This will help tackle energy costs and the challenges of climate change.

Carrying out the survey

 Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh residents were invited to participate in the Healthy Homes household survey to get a better picture of the problems people face, and identify issues needing funding, training and investment to develop local solutions.

426 residents in Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh completed the survey – a magnificent response, equivalent to 6% of households.

Residents provided information about the condition of their homes, home energy consumption and the repairs and upgrades needed to make their homes warm, dry and affordable to heat. They also told us about the barriers to achieving these improvements.

We thank everyone who participated and shared their experiences and comments.

There was a parallel survey for people involved in trades, the building professions and DIY. This aimed to find out the obstacles to carrying out repairs, renovations and retrofitting to make our homes warm, dry and affordable to heat. This information would show what training, support, supply chains and incentives are needed, so that a local retrofitting sector can develop.

© Copyright Richard Dorrell

Purpose of the survey

The survey findings will be presented at an online conference, with participants including local residents and invited specialists in community retrofitting, home energy, business development and policy makers. The findings will support discussions with The Highland Council, Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and other agencies to gain backing and funding for the next phases.

Who is involved ?

The Healthy Homes project was started by representatives of the environmentally-concerned construction sector, Skye Climate Action and Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association. We have been developing the Healthy Homes project since summer 2022, based on discussions and consultations with local residents and interested community groups and agencies.

The Healthy Homes initiative was funded by Home Energy Scotland, The Highland Council, Scottish Communities Climate Action Network, Highlands & Islands Climate Hub, Sleat Community Trust, Edinbane Community Company and Carbon Neutral Islands. Support in kind was given by Built Environment-Smarter Transformation Scotland, Changeworks Scotland and Lochalsh & Skye Energy Advice Service. Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Local Energy Scotland and a number of community groups and other organisations have given advice and encouragement.

For more information contact