Home Energy Visits
“As individuals, people often feel that they can’t make much of a difference to the environment, but as part of Smart Communities you obviously feel that you’re all doing something”.
Fiona Pullen, Park Farm Road.
“We joined Smart Communities because our bills are way too high and we thought we ought to know what we’re using by way of electricity”.
Peter Wood, Richmond Road.
“There was a real sense of community purpose at the Winter Warmer workshop. I picked up lots of useful practical tips for insulating my home and there was a really friendly and open atmosphere.”
Phil Cunliffe, Chestnut Road.
“The assessors were friendly and thorough. They offered us easy ideas to save energy, such as the chimney balloon which we didn’t even know existed.”
Richard and Maureen Landau, Holly Bush Road.
Mr and Mrs Marshall
Mr and Mrs Marshall had lived at their property for over forty years and had a growing desire to ‘do something about their energy consumption and do their part for the environment.’
They had been contacted before about possible solutions to reducing their energy consumption, typically by double glazing and insulation businesses. They were usually presented with costly options and had been told that their house was not suitable for various standard options e.g. one company’s standard attic insulation.
A friend of the Marshalls referred them to South West London Environment Network’s energy saving team for advice and they decided to arrange a home energy visit. The Marshalls were delighted to find how easy the experience was and were reassured to hear that the project was run by an environmental not-for-profit charity. They were very pleased to talk to ‘enthusiastic professionals,’ with a ‘genuine concern for the environment and without any ulterior motives.’ Mr Marshall made clear that firstly, researching what solutions were available, and secondly, researching which products to be most effective or suitable had deterred him from making changes in the past. The SWLEN team provides this expertise and removes the need to do time-consuming product research.
The first visit consists of an initial look at the energy bills from the past 12 months and a survey of the house. Following the visit, the Marshalls chose to draught-proof the upstairs by double glazing the windows with easy-to-fit polycarbonate sheets. These have now been installed, and the Marshalls have said this has made ‘a very noticeable difference’ to the heat retained in the upstairs rooms and additionally ‘there is a dramatic difference in noise from the main road.’ Additionally, the SWLEN team supplied them with some LED bulbs and they are now looking into fitting LED bulbs throughout the house, where appropriate.
A report was compiled with recommendations for changes that could be made to replace the old heating system. The boiler and radiators were the original units from when the Marshalls moved into the house over forty years ago and were now running at a vastly reduced efficiency – around 40% of their original capacity. The Marshalls are now taking steps to replace their heating system.
Mr and Mrs Marshall expressed their happiness with the home energy visit – ‘it was altogether positive, and a useful learning experience.’ They are very happy to be reducing their consumption and ‘needed the push to get the ball rolling.’
Cambridge Road Estate and Sheephouse Way 2015-16
Our energy saving project at the Cambridge Road Estate in Kingston and Sheephouse Way in Malden Manor ran from October 2015 to April 2016, funded by Kingston Council. We visited 27 homes saving an estimated £1481 from their household bills and 7420 kg of carbon dioxide emissions.
Community based energy saving in Kingston and Tolworth 2013-15
Over two winters SWLEN’s energy saving team visited 107 homes in Kingston, Surbiton and Tolworth funded by UK Power Networks. We conducted a home energy check, issued free energy saving equipment, issued a customised report of recommendations and encouraged occupants to become part of a community with an interest in energy saving. We received requests for visits after completing the original target of 80 and could respond within the budget because the cost of the energy saving equipment issued per household had been lower than planned.
We estimate that the total energy savings per year achieved for the 107 households are £5,296 and 20,880 kg CO2.
We found local community groups and “energy champions” to promote our services. The involvement of these “energy champions” is one of the keys to South West London Environment Network’s (SWLEN) success with community based energy saving projects because, although our service is free and helps to reduce people’s energy bills, people are much more likely to take an interest if encouraged by a friend or neighbour whom they trust.
We took on and trained 10 volunteer energy advisors during the project to supplement our existing team of 8. During the project 6 of these volunteers found paid work, mainly in sustainability, and left the team.
Clients were asked to complete a feedback survey and the ratings for our service have all been exceptionally high with no complaints. Each question asked how much they agreed with a positive question and the average score for each was around 9 out of 10, where 1 is “Not at all” and 10 is “Extremely”.
In 2013-14 our energy saving team visited 17 homes in Hampton North resulting in an estimated average saving to residents of £105 per annum.
Mortlake Block Champions
The aim of the Mortlake Block Champions project was to assist residents of RHP blocks in Mortlake to reduce their energy consumption, thus reducing their household expenditure and making a contribution towards reducing their carbon emissions. The project was devised in collaboration by SWLEN, Richmond Housing Partnership (RHP) and the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (LBRuT) against a background of rising energy costs and concerns over the need to mitigate and combat climate change.
The project utilised SWLEN’s innovative approach to engaging local residents on environmental issues through the use of community-based social marketing. Within a limited timescale of 4 months, the project communicated with a large number of residents in the Mortlake area, supplying advice and equipment to help them lower their energy bills and thereby reduce their carbon emissions. A total of 40 home energy assessments were carried out (12% of households in the target area), in excess of 300 items of energy-saving equipment were distributed.