Energy Saving Homes 2022
What happened when nine community groups worked together with Low Carbon Hub Community Grant funding and an inspired idea?
Low Carbon Hub were delighted to award a large grant and several small grants in 2022 to support Energy Saving Homes, a fantastic collaborative project between Low Carbon Oxford North, Rose Hill & Iffley Low Carbon, and the coalition group, Communities for Zero Carbon Oxford. The partnership of nine low carbon community groups worked closely together to maximise the impact of their initiative, which aimed to support households of different income levels to undertake eco-renovation measures, as a means of both cutting energy costs and addressing climate change. The project also received funding from Oxford City Council and Finders Keepers.
The energy crisis, brought on by the increase in the cost of fossil fuels, has increased the urgency to reduce heat loss from our homes and cut our energy bills. The groups felt that the time was right to try to raise awareness of home retrofit and energy saving measures that could be installed by everyone in their homes.
Energy Saving Homes inspired Oxford’s residents to conserve domestic energy in practical and affordable ways by providing clear information on different aspects of retrofit, such as insulation, heat pumps, ventilation, and renewable energy generation. The project aimed to include smaller affordable measures that could be installed straight away and larger whole house retrofit projects.
The project consisted of five initiatives:
- Green Open Homes Week, 22 – 29 June 2022
- Energy Saving Fair 26 June 2022
- Seven short films that featured Oxford residents who had installed energy saving measures in their own homes
- Energy Saving Homes during Oxford Open Doors, September 2022
- Energy Saving Homes online during Great Big Green Week, September 2022
Green Open Homes Week, 22 – 29 June, and Oxford Open doors September 2022.
The groups valued the importance of neighbours sharing knowledge and experience with each other as a way of galvanising interest and trust. They organised Green Open Homes Week and publicised it with a vibrant social media campaign. Over 150 visitors were able to visit 38 homes that had installed large or small energy saving measures, such as wall, loft or floor insulation, air source heat pumps, solar panels and storage, or double/triple glazing and ventilation. The events were online and in person and visitors were able to talk to householders directly and discover the pros and cons of retrofitting.
The event was repeated in September 2022 as part of Oxford Open Doors and attracted over 120 visitors. Four more homes also opened online during Great Big Green week. Two thirds of the visitors to Energy Saving Homes said they were likely to, or would definitely take action to reduce their home energy consumption as a result of their visit.
Energy Saving Fair, Sunday 26 June 2022, Oxford Town Hall
More than 200 people attended this lively all-day event which featured talks from experts and contractors, who gave advice on energy efficiency options and renewable energy generation. A contractor gave a demonstration of air tightness testing and there was advice for homeowners, landlords, and tenants who wished to reduce their fuel bills and make their homes more energy efficient.
Launch of seven Bite Sized Films
Communities for Zero Carbon Oxford identified that many people are not sure where to start with improving the energy efficiency of their homes and welcomed learning from others who had already taken action. They launched seven Bite Sized films that formed a vital part of the Energy Saving Homes project, during Great Big Green Week at the Town Hall, Oxford in September 2022.
The short films show people who have installed a range of energy saving measures in their own homes and saved money on their heating bills. Eleanor Watts from Rose Hill & Iffley Low Carbon worked with local film maker, Benedict Robbins, to develop and produce the films, which are available on YouTube and have had over 1000 views.
The films have been shared widely with other community groups, local community associations, GP surgeries, bus companies, football clubs, cinemas, and libraries across Oxfordshire.
The seven short films provide a legacy that will encourage and inspire people, whatever their budget, to take action to install measures that will make their homes warmer and lower their energy bills, at a time of rising energy costs.
Cathy Ryan, Community Engagement Manager Low Carbon Hub, March 2023 firstname.lastname@example.org