Championing sustainable energy in Bristol

We’re training scores of volunteers to engage with schools, workplaces & communities

13 April 2015

As part of Bristol Green Capital, we’re training over a hundred volunteers from all areas of the city to drive forward sustainable energy initiatives for Bristol 2015 and beyond. At the last count more than 50 had registered their interest.

The Energy Champion initiative grew from conversations between Bristol Energy Network (BEN) members, and now, with a grant from Bristol 2015 and funding from Ovo Energy it has been put into action. It remains a joint venture, led by BEN in partnership with CSE, Ovo Energy, Friends of the Earth and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.

Kate Thomas is managing CSE’s role in the project. She says:“Energy Champions are informed and inspired Bristol residents, who can engage people to save energy, generate renewable power and tackle fuel poverty. We know from behavioural research and experience that people are more likely to change their behaviour – both at home and work – if they receive advice from someone local; a person they know, trust and can relate to. That’s why we’re linking volunteers with communities, workplaces and local schools and organisations, and creating opportunities for them to raise awareness and encourage action on energy issues.”

Energy efficiency surveys, thermal imaging of homes and constructing solar panels (and teaching others to do so!) are some the activities planned for the Champions. Lots of partners have already been identified, and volunteers will be encouraged to engage new audiences by bringing their neighbourhoods together to discuss these issues; perhaps through a street party, advice session or by attending a community event.

A training programme has been specially designed and is already underway (there will be repeat sessions throughout the year). It covers low carbon retrofitting, smart meter roll out, affordable warmth and renewable energy. There are several sessions in the coming months with spaces still available:

22nd April - 13:00-16:30 - 'Energy Essentials'
25th April - 10:00-13:00 - 'Talking About Energy'
6th June - 09:30-13:00 - 'Energy Essentials'
9th June - 10:00-13:00 - 'Talking About Energy'

If you’re interested in becoming an Energy Champion, would like to host a sustainable energy event, or have a project that would benefit from support by our Champions, please contact energychampions@cse.org.uk.

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