Community organizations and NGOs

Rising energy costs present a real challenge for community organizations and NGOs; how to deal with a growing bottom-line cost at a time of economic recession?

We are currently working with a number of organizations to help them resolve this, by cutting their energy demand starting with the simplest and lowest cost measures, which include behavioural changes and developing energy plans to keep their costs down over the long term.

We also working with community organizations that are looking to develop community renewable energy projects, as a longterm sources of revenue, and local sources of energy generation.

Recent case study

Engaging local communities on energy efficiency

Exciting people about energy efficiency, is never easy, even when energy prices are rising sharply. There’s no doubt that making a building more energy efficient is by far the cheapest and easiest way of cutting energy demand and running costs. But for many people renewable energy and the option of generating part or all of your energy renewably is far more compelling.

For the Marshfield Energy Project we worked with the project steering group on two different approaches to raising energy awareness. The first was to take a thermal image of the front of each of the 700 homes in the village of Marshfield in the peak of the winter. Each image was a supplied with a short report highlighting potential energy efficiency measures and savings for that property. The images and surveys were given to householders at an Energy Day held at the end of the project.

The second approach was to use a ‘walking house’ to raise awareness about the project and energy efficiency options in particular. This wooden frame house (the creation of artist Scott Farlow) was mounted on a hand cart and towed around the village by volunteers. Information, including thermal images, were attached to the frame, and the house was parked at key locations in the village, outside the school, shop and pub where it served as a mobile water cooler and meeting point.

Marshfield Energy Project - Walking House outside Marshfield Primary School

The Walking House outside Marshfield Primary School February 2012. Image courtesy Marshfield Energy Project.

The thermal images combined with the ‘walking house’ were a simple, non-threatening, and entertaining way of raising awareness about the energy lost and wasted from people’s homes. Thermal images give an easily understood visualization of poor insulation, draughts and faults and allow some comparison between different properties. Though the information provided with each image was intended to provide an indication of costs and savings, the level of detail provided implied more accuracy than the images themselves provided and tended to be over interpreted. In the future we will use images on their own without the report, and provide this information in other ways.

Alone these two approaches don’t solve the problem of how to raise awareness about the potential benefits of energy efficiency, but as part of a package of approaches they can make a useful and interesting contribution.

Resources for Community organizations and NGOs

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