The first Green Open Homes event takes off

Brickhill BEE group inspire 60 of their neighbours

13 February 2014

We launched the national Green Open Homes network with a competition. Organisations who wanted to run a low carbon open homes event could win up to £20,000 of funding and support.

The first of the funded events took place last month. Brickhill Better Energy Efficiency Group put on Brickhill Green Open Homes on 26 January, which proved a hit with the community despite some inclement winter weather.

It was the first ever Green Open Homes event in Bedfordshire and eight homes took part. Despite rain and hail, some 60 visits were made to the homes. An article in a local paper brought in visitors from further afield in Bedfordshire. The greatest interest was in the two homes with air-source heat pumps, but local residents also visited the homes with solar PV panels and more familiar technologies to find out more. The idea behind Green Open Homes is to showcase a range of improvements that will be accessible to different people.

Mark Fitzpatrick, Chair of the Brickhill BEE Group said: “It was a really positive event, despite the weather. We got some good feedback and made many useful contacts with residents who want to be involved in our project to reduce Brickhill’s carbon footprint”.

On the same day, the Brickhill BEE Group organised a ‘Big Energy Saving Show’ with local partner organisations at a central hub. Bedford Citizens' Advice Bureau helped residents to switch energy supplier. The borough council gave out advice and free items, and a Green Deal advisor was on hand. It was a lively event, with refreshments from Bedford WI, crafts, food and a facepainter.

Mark said: “We held the event in January as part of the launch of our Brickhill BEE Group. It worked well, but would no doubt be easier when the weather is warmer. A lesson we've learned for the future is to put more effort into providing more in-depth analysis of the energy data for each home”.

The aim of the Green Open Homes network (and competition) is to help more events like this take place in local communities, because they are an excellent way of encouraging people to make energy saving improvements to their own homes. We're glad that the Brickhill event went so well, and we're looking forward to see how all the other winners get on.

There are lots of other events coming up all around the country - see what's happening near you on the Green Open Homes website.

Groups can still win small grants of up to £2,000 to help with the costs of running an event, but they are only available while we have funding left in the pot, so apply soon! All the details and the application form are here.

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