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Green Open Homes

People gather outside a terraced house with bay windows for an open doors event

In the UK we are facing two big problems: rising energy prices and the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions if we’re to reach net zero by 2050. Improving our housing energy performance, through home retrofit, is one of the best solutions to both these issues.

Project duration: April 2013 ongoing

Encouraging people to visit homes in their neighbourhoods that have made energy saving improvements is an effective way of inspiring them to follow suit.

Green Open Homes is a national network supporting low carbon open homes events across the country.

It was set up by CSE in 2013 with funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, in partnership with Bristol Green Doors. acts as a national, searchable directory of open homes events across the country. And it also offers a library of resources and guidance about how to run an effective open homes event.

Any group can submit their event’s details and create their own event pages. For each event, the site provides interactive maps and profiles of participating homes.

Green Open Homes events are a leading part of a new West of England project, raising awareness of home energy improvements to local communities. Find out more.

What are low carbon open homes or green open homes?

Open homes days are where people who’ve made low carbon improvements to their homes can share their experiences with neighbours and others to inspire more people to follow suit.

Open homes are an excellent way to demonstrate the benefits of low-carbon renovations like solar panels, solid wall insulation and draught-proofing.  Events can feature a few homes, or dozens.

Events offer a welcoming and friendly atmosphere, candid discussions about home improvements and a sharing of experiences and advice. The best of them come with a generous helping of community spirit and – on occasions – tea, cake and music.

Open homes days help visitors think about how they can start putting their own projects into practice, and because it’s in an actual home there are no sales pitches, just frank and honest discussions about the processes and benefits of making improvements.

 It means trusted peer-to-peer communication, local conversations, projects which get going as a result, and a normalising effect from seeing lots of other people doing it.

Do green open homes work?

Yes! Since the network was set up, hundreds of events have taken place across the country; thousands of homes have opened, and tens of thousands of people have visited homes and been inspired.

We surveyed event visitors and the feedback showed that the approach really does move people from a place of being interested to actually going ahead with low carbon improvements to their homes.

The pictures here show some of the homes which took part in a Bristol event, and here’s a link to some slides from a very successful Green Open Homes event run in Manchester by the Carbon Co-op.


Bristol Green Doors is a partner on this project.  | Forum for the Future, the National Trust, the Association of Environmentally Conscious Builders and the Transition Network supported the initiative.

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