Empowering retrofit and behaviour change
Keen groups are midway through MakeyourhomeEco courses in both Totterdown and Easton.
Thanks to funding from Lottery Awards for All in Easton, and BEN/Totterdown Energy funds provided by the council for development work in Totterdown, we're able to run some intensive, six week short courses in each area for groups of residents.
The courses run through a range of issues across the "Home Energy Jigsaw" agendas, tailored where wanted to the interests and priorities of the groups. From the basics of monitoring use in the home, to measuring metered use of gas and electricity, the courses range through free and low cost savings, seasonal and temporary measures that might suit tenants, and tools for assessing major projects for homeowners. It's a package centred on each person discovering their own needs, goals, and projects, with an emphahsis on demystifying things installers might talk about, like U values and R-values, plus how to read an EPC or product label, and where to get help and advice.
Previous experience shows that everyone starts saving more energy and money – for free! – and many will go on to become energy champions in their community. People will understand better how to take control of their bills and consumption, and also gain confidence to plan a bigger project, if they are able, or to talk to their landlord about improvements that they'd like to see.
The good news is that lottery AWA grants can now be used to replicate previously successful grant-funded projects, so any neighbourhood group interested would be welcome to talk to me about submitting a similar bid to work in your area. This can bring the cost right down to enable people to take part for minimal fee, which is great value for a six week course with worksheets, games, hands on sessions, and a role in community-building for the group, too. The final session will be taking place at the Warm Up Bristol Show Home followed by a BEN meeting all members are welcome to join the final part to this course which is likely to be either on 29th November or 6th December.