Energy efficiency & fuel poverty
The past few years has seen a huge increase in community energy organisations working on efficiency advice and fuel poverty services in the wake of the energy crisis. You can see more about how the sector has stepped up to meet this challenge in our latest State of the Sector Report, showing that
- 123 groups are already delivering energy efficiency services across the country in 2021-2022
- Creating over £3 million+ in energy bill savings for households
- community organisations tend to be well placed to deliver this work
- they have stronger local connections, and a real ability to influence to behaviour change and the uptake of efficiency measures in people's homes
- you can be in high demand by organisations such as Local Authorities and charities who vunerable consumers because of your position and local knowledge.
If you are considering this work, we have created the below page to help you navigate this area from the expertise of groups we are already working with.
1) Start with the numbers and have confidence in the sector
Community organisations achieve a much higher rate of return on investment generally when they lead these projects, with recent work by Bristol University showing a 9:1 rate of return. Share this with potential partners (e.g. Local Authorities) and funders to start your work and support.
2) Think about mixing several different, complementary activities. Some of the best community energy efficiency and fuel poverty projects do this (see examples below). They take their audiences on a journey towards installing energy efficiency measures and also then adopting energy efficient behaviours. E.g. integrating a number of the below activities into one streamlined pathway. You may however choose to focus on one activity, depending on your organisation capacity and skills avaliable (e.g. if your organisation doesn't have someone who can do house assessments, but may be able to train to deliver energy advice)
Advice & Retrofit activities
- Insulation and heavy measures (deep retrofit services)
- Basic draught-proofing (shallow retrofit services)
- Building assessments/audits
- Demonstration homes and open eco-homes
- Advice/support to install renewable tech
- Energy monitoring
- Energy switching
- Funding advice (connecting people with government schemes and bills support)
- Advice surgeries (home visits, events, telephone advice)
- Awareness-raising (e.g. stalls, workshops, cafes)
3) Make sure you monitor impact and evaluate as you go - this is a competitive area for funding, so make sure you are monitoring impact from the start. There are a number of ways to do this, including paper forms (templates to be uploaded) and online CRM tools.
- CEE recently did an online event (Jan 2023) showcasing a new FREE CRM tool (Airtable) as well as other options for groups
- You can watch the event here
4) Ensure you look at training and have other supports in place (e.g. safeguarding, GDPR). CEE has begun a working document of things to consider here.
5) Connect with these further links and resources
- The Centre for Sustainable Energy launched a new guide for community groups or local energy advice organisations, the free Community Retrofit Guide covers everything community groups need to know to get started on retrofit projects.
- BHESCo - Brighton & Hove fuel poverty alleviation case studies
- Carbon Co-op - Retrofit Factfile and a series of retrofit webinars
- OVESCO - list of energy efficiency advice resources
- NEA - Technical Consultancy
- NEA - Technical Innovation Fund has 46 case studies
- CSE - list of online sources of information on saving energy across your community
- CSE - Futureproof website with an interactive planning tool
- Paul Testa - how to choose the right Structural Engineer for your project
- BHESCo - Energy Efficiency Panel Debate for Community Energy Fortnight 2020 (watch below)
- York Community Energy - Building Better for the Future webinar for Community Energy Fortnight 2020 (watch below)
- Energy Saving Trust - LED lighting field trial (download report below)
- UK government - national carbon dioxide emissions data by local authority area. This can help you to better understand energy use in your area
- Community Energy Wales - Energy Efficiency Masterclass (Introduction)
- Cosy Homes Oxfordshire - How Home Retrofit Can Transform A Cold, Draughty House
- York Community Energy - Building Better for the Future webinar for CEF2020
- BHESCo - Energy Efficiency Panel Debate For CEF2020