Green Streets – The Project Officially Begins!

Green Streets – The Project Officially Begins!

jan meeting2meeting in jan

BRITISH GAS GREEN STREETS & TRANSTION TOWN HORNCASTLE

BRIEFING MEETINGS FOR FAMILIES IN THE HORNCASTLE GREEN BABIES & TODDLERS PROJECT

Two meetings were held on 12 Jan 2010 in the Community Centre. The 1st was at 1:30pm for parents unable to attend the evening meeting, 8 adults came to this and 4 children. Toys and helpers to look after the children were provided. The 2nd meeting was at 8 pm, 17 adults came to this.  Apologies were received from 5 households.

Jenny Davey the project organiser chaired both meetings. She introduced Craig Breen, who is the British Gas project manager for this project. Craig then talked about the development of Green Streets and explained how the behavioural changes people make can be as important as the work British Gas will be carrying out in making energy savings.  Craig said that the average energy saving made by households in last year’s smaller Green Streets competition, through behavioural changes alone was over 12%.  Another 12% saving was made on average through measures installed.  Jenny mentioned that 40% of all emissions are the result of decisions we personally make in our lives, so we have the power to make a huge difference, and save money doing ti.

Craig then outlined the timetable for the project year and explained that this is one of 4 Green Streets projects he will be managing.

Start 18 Jan 2010    All participants should take meter readings on this date.

Assessment + switching to British Gas Late January.  Participants will be given a tel. no. to call to make an appointment: there will be a choice of days & times. You can switch supplier right away, and on line if you wish, but if necessary the switch to British Gas could be made at the same time (see attachment re switching suppliers, which also provides above phone no.). You must do this by the end of January at the latest.  Assessments will be carried out during second half of February and March.

Finalise project Once the assessments are complete details of the work to be carried out will be finalised for agreement by participants.

Further meter readings Participants should take meter readings on 1 March, 1 April and 1st of each month until a smart meter has been installed

Smart Meter Install Beginning in April

Timing of Work Work should start in late May or early June. Work not requiring planning consent will be done first. British Gas aims to have all the work completed by the end of September.

End of project The project year will end 17 Jan 2011.

Jenny then spoke about Transition Town Horncastle’s involvement.  They are concerned about Climate Change. An important part of combating this is through energy saving in homes and community buildings. This matches with the aims of Green Streets. Jenny went on to explain that the original bid was for £365,000, we then reduced it to £165,00,  but the funding available was finally £140,000 or slightly more, so cuts have had to be made in the proposed work. In order not to have to cut out any families completely it was suggested that families having work done costing £3000 or more pay £150 unless on benefits, including full family tax credits.

Jenny explained the way measures were to be allocated per household: based on the Home Energy Checks completed by each family (to be forwarded to you soon), selecting measures which would make the most difference in terms of money and CO2 savings (subject to confirmation following British Gas assessments).

Craig and Jenny then talked about the final competition for £100,000. This will be awarded to the best of the 14 projects and will be for a further energy project of our choice.   Projects will be judged on energy saving, energy generation and community involvement. These will all be assessed by the Independent Public Policy Research group. Jenny said to help with energy saving and community involvement activities the participating families would be split into small groups living near each other (see attachment for list of group members). The idea was that it would be easier for smaller groups to meet more regularly to exchange ideas and help each other.  Each group member will take it in turns to be the ‘rep’: liaise with other members to organise meetings, find a venue and facilitate the meeting.  The first of these will be before the end of January.

Before the installation of the Smart meters, families will be lent small electricity monitors to help them cut their energy use.

There would also be a number of events organised jointly with Transition Town Horncastle to fund raise and to raise awareness of climate change and energy saving issues. They also are working with Christian Aid on supporting energy generating measures in Mali where the effects of climate change are already causing hardship. Information from Christian Aid about Mali and the project will be used for climate change education in local schools.

All of this constitutes the ‘Community Engagement Plan’ for the project, which will be chiefly what we are judged on for the energy saving/community engagement competition. Transition Town Horncastle are looking for help in any form with this, from helping to organise events, offering things ‘in kind’, fundraising, and so on.  Please contact Jenny with any ideas.

A number of questions were asked

Q Will the work carried out carry any warranty?

A Yes, normal warranties will apply to work and boilers etc.  If anything is non-standard, households would be informed of this before measures are carried out.

Q What happens about switching supplier if I have a contract with current supplier?

A You will need to discuss this with Craig.

Q If work is not finished until later in the year savings will be next winter but period measured is from 18 Jan this year.

A Savings from behavioural changes can start now. British gas is more interested in these as savings from insulation etc are already known.

Q Can participants choose measures e.g. to have solar panels rather than a new boiler?

A Craig- I would advise not as savings from boiler are greater if it is needed when you compare cost of measures. Jenny- no as savings in CO2 from energy savings measures are greater than from generation.

Q Do smart meters measure gas & electric?

A Yes

Q If I change supplier at the end of the year will I have to pay for a new meter?

A You may have to change meter and stop using British Gas’ Smart meter, as the information from it would continue to be sent to British Gas.  It is unlikely you would have to pay for an ordinary meter with a different company, but you may have to pay if you wanted another Smart meter with your new company. At present British Gas are the only supplier installing smart meters but other suppliers will be doing so as government plan to have everyone using them by 2020.  There is an idea mooted that households may be charged if they do NOT have a Smart meter in the future.

Families were given a form listing ‘5 commitments to Green Streets’, which are their side of the bargain for taking part in the project (see attached).  They were asked to sign it, and those not attending the meeting should print it off and return it to Jenny by Wed. 20 January.

At the end of the meeting Jenny handed out exercise books for the families to record meter readings, see timetable above, and also to keep a record of:

  • How comfortable or otherwise their homes are before and after the work on them.
  • Energy saving measures they try and how successful or otherwise they are. Which ones are easy to keep up and which get forgotten.
  • Tips to pass onto others in their group.

Tasks for household

The first ‘homework’ for participants:

  • Describe your home

Please describe your experience of your homes currently, regarding what is known as ‘thermal comfort’: is your house chilly or warm, draughty, hard to warm up, boiler easy to manage or not, etc.  This information will help us to assess the project on its completion, comparing descriptions of before and after the project.

  • Pete has set up a Yahoo chat group and everyone will be sent an invitation to join. This will be another way to exchange ideas and information about group events.  Please sign up when you get the invitation.
  • Families were given a sheet full of easy ideas for cutting energy use, to start trying out.

There is also a section on the Transition Town website for the project http://transitionhorncastle.org

Other useful websites for more energy saving ideas, etc.:

www.1010uk.org ; www.energysavingtrust.org.uk www.actonco2.direct.gov.uk

WE LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH YOU THIS YEAR!