Release Date: 08/06/2012
More than 1,000 residents have teamed up to achieve an estimated £100,000 annual saving in a community energy saving project.
The pioneering scheme has seen numerous residents become ‘Street Champions’ and inspire their neighbours to join the energy saving challenge. Primarily through ‘word-of-mouth’, locals in Ham and Petersham successfully persuaded family and friends to join the Low Carbon Zone project with some astounding results.
In April 2010, Richmond Council launched the far-reaching Low Carbon Zone scheme, in conjunction with local community groups and British Gas. In two years more than 1,000 households, schools, businesses and local groups have achieved low carbon related benefits. Initial energy assessments were undertaken of properties and a range of energy saving items were installed. 86% of households installed a real-time display energy monitor, which measures and shows how much electricity is being used, while 82% installed radiator foils, 63% installed standby saver extension plugs for their TV sets and 53% installed energy saving lightbulbs. Other measures included draught proofing strips, letter box brushes, low flow shower heads, hot water cylinder jackets and water saving cistern devices. Several householders went a step further with measures including 35 boiler replacements, 57 wall insulations and 137 loft insulations.
Several local shops in the area upgraded to energy efficient LED spot lights that can save, on average, £330 a year and four local schools installed solar panels that will save them approximately over £140,000 over their lifetime. Three schools have also become more self sufficient by managing their own chickens and growing their own vegetables.
The collective savings on utility bills achieved through the Low Carbon Zone project is more than £100,000. This was calculated by examining bills and energy usage before and after the scheme. Thermal imaging was used to engage residents and show how energy was being wasted.
Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Virginia Morris said:
“The amount of people who have supported this scheme has been tremendous. It is really inspiring to see such a positive response from the community and this project really has brought people together. During this time of austerity, and with energy prices continuing to rise, it is fantastic to see the community pulling together to share ideas and really make a difference. People are not only cutting their bills and reducing carbon emissions, but also getting to know their neighbours. It is truly inspiring. Richmond Council would like to thank everybody who has contributed to making this project such a success.”
Street Champion, Justine Glynn, of Lake Crescent, Ham, said:
“I heard about Street Champions through my sons’ school and immediately signed up. I’d already received low energy lightbulbs, a new boiler and an interest free loan for solar panels, all from British Gas, under a different scheme. So I wanted to give something back and encourage my neighbours to get involved and benefit from energy saving measures.
We used a thermal imaging camera to show people how much energy they were losing and then took more photos after energy measures were introduced. We ran workshops and really got the community involved. I’m delighted with how well the project has gone; so many people have embraced it and have really seen the difference it makes. My energy bills have come down significantly and it helps the environment as well.”
The Low Carbon Zone was launched with funding from the Mayor of London, Richmond Council, British Gas and the London Sustainability Exchange. It has been jointly delivered with local community groups including Ham United Group (HUG) and South West London Environment Network (SWLEN), who supplied a network of volunteer ‘Street Champions’ to advise neighbours of ways to save energy and reduce their household bills.
For more information about the project in Ham and Petersham or to find out how you can get involved, visit the Low Carbon Zone page.