16 May 2011

Guide on how to run Open Homes now available

As folk who read this blog will know we are into our fourth year of Eco-Renovation Open Homes this September. In fact this week had another planning meeting - hoping to focus a bit more on some of the cheaper solutions people can take to eco-renovate their homes and save money.

Photo: Very draft leaflet plans for this year!

Well anyway I was able to talk and send info to the Energy Savings Trust earlier this year and share some of our experiences on putting the events together. The EST have produced, 'The Guide', which is aimed at supporting new events across the country and includes 7 Steps which cover issues such as Finding Homes, Funding, Publicity and Evaluation.  Please circulate as you see fit. As it says in the publicity: "The Guide was put together with input from some of the existing annual events in Brighton, Bristol, Norfolk and Stroud."

It is a great guide but didn't take on all my suggestions. One issue it does not address properly is regarding people on low income and fuel poverty. If we are seeking to make these projects inclusive then it is vital we pay attention to this issue - we do not want to reinforce any thoughts that green is only for wealthy people. The 'DECC report: Annual Report on Fuel Poverty Statistics 2010' notes that fuel poverty now effects 18% of the UK’s population. This to me is a huge and growing issue that I hope we can at least raise awareness about during the weekend - one of the most common comments was that visitors had not appreciated how much they could do re energy saving - often low cost stuff. We also organised a talk on insulation last year which was totally brilliant and have thoughts for more this year.

Another miss in the report was our installers fair - we have had this each year on one day in an eco-hall that was near the town centre (and once in Randwick Village Hall) and we were able to get a load of suppliers to have stalls plus a cafe. This was a great place for people to start and talk to installers - or to come to after they had visited houses. The installers all reported it was a good day for them with many inquiries - they paid a small charge to cover the venue costs. We also had electric bikes, led lights and other stuff to encourage people. We are planning more of that this year but with a difference....to be announced soon! Click on read more for more and link to download report.

The homes we open to the public are about demonstrating how our homes can be upgraded to be more energy efficient and comfortable to live in. Opening them up helps visitors to see first hand what energy saving features may mean in their own homes - and is a great way to reinforce energy saving advice and encourage action.
Here's what EST say about Open Homes events: "There are a number of approaches to running open homes but our partners have tended to offer inspirational events consisting of groups of homes open throughout a weekend. These events are successful because they offer locally interesting and accessible homes which are promoted by local media and handy for residents to visit and they encourage visitors to take action in their own homes. Our aim in working with our partners is to enable energy saving open homes activities to take place in more places and more frequently. Our vision is for everyone to have access to energy saving show homes in their area to help people make the right decisions about upgrading their property."

See report at: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/business/Business/Housing-professionals/Energy-Saving-Open-Homes

No comments: