Sustainable Uist is a community organisation formed in 2009 by a group of residents who were motivated to take action against climate change. Since then, the group has been successful in securing funding from the Climate Challenge Fund, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the BIG Lottery's Investing in Ideas Fund to undertake a range of carbon reduction projects.

Current projects include renewable energy studies, vegetable growing trials and education, development of a lift sharing scheme, improving energy efficiency of hard-to-treat houses and a local food project.

Sustainable Uist is carrying out a research project into the prospects for improving the energy efficiency of older, traditionally-built properties on Uist.

These properties, which amount to between 35% and 50% of the islands' housing stock, are classified as ‘Hard to Treat’. As such, with solid rather than cavity walls, and coombed ceilings upstairs rather than open accessible loft spaces, all these properties were ineligible for assistance under the Uist and Barra 2010/11 Home Insulation Scheme.

Food miles are a significant contributor to carbon emissions. Foodstuffs bought in the Hebrides have some of the highest food miles in Britain, partly because of the distances involved, but also because compared to mainland Britain, relatively few households in Uist grow their own garden produce.

Through its survey of Uist households in 2009, Sustainable Uist found that up to 75% of families would like to try growing their own produce, but didn’t, because they thought growing conditions on the islands were too difficult.

So, during 2010, Sustainable Uist is carrying out a series of crop trials on ½ acre of land on the machair behind the Dark Island Hotel.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is the co-ordinator for the ISLEPACT project which is a European Commission funded initiative to develop a Sustainable Energy Action Plan for the Outer Hebrides. The objectives are:

1.to promote the efficient use of energy
2.to develop sustainable energy sources
3.to develop sustainable transport initiatives

with the ultimate aim of reducing the green house gas emissions of the Outer Hebrides.

A vital part of this process is capturing a snapshot of energy consumption patterns in the region over a particular period, essentially preparing an energy audit of the Outer Hebrides. Sustainable Uist assisted Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in this process and compiled a sub-audit for the region from Berneray to Eriskay in April 2011.