Energy Efficient Widcombe’s current projects

Due to funding kindly given from the Widcombe Councillor Initiative monies – by Councillors Ian Gilchrist and Ben Stevens – Energy Efficient Widcombe are very busy!

Energy Saving workshops at Widcombe Infants

We delivered a fun and interactive session on saving energy to the whole school assembly (180 pupils, aged 4-7) on Monday 3 March.  The assembly was extremely well received by the staff and pupils. Anecdotal feedback in the playground of pupils telling their parents means we are really pleased with the impact of this approach.  We have already been invited back by the Head, Ms Watts, to deliver more in depth energy efficiency workshops to a specific year group.

Thermal Imaging

Energy Efficient Widcombe’s offer of a free Thermal Imaging assessment for Widcombe residents were quickly snapped by 15 Widcombe residents.

Chair Tim Williamson says, “Energy Efficient Widcombe is excited to be taking part in a project organised by Transition Bath Energy Group involving the use of their thermal imaging camera.   The pictures can be really helpful for householders.  They show how relatively simple measures can make an obvious difference to the warmth of their house and their fuel bills.”

The assessments were carried out by a group of trained volunteers.  All of the homeowners have accompanied us on the visits, with their comments being overwhelmingly positive.

When we issued the reports to homeowners we accompanied the images with a summary of our key findings.  We also offered some solutions – Philip Haile, from Transition Bath, offered reduced priced draughtproofing materials – normally only available on the internet.

We have already held one of our neighbourhood ‘pod’ meetings – where we encouraged feedback, and tested peer learning and motivation for change.  We are in the process of scheduling another ‘pod’ meeting.

thermometerSmart Thermometers

This is a “feasibility study to examine whether remote monitoring technology can be used to ensure that elderly homeowners are safe and warm at home during the winter months.  Additionally, the study will measure the rate of heat loss in homes providing benefits around introduction of energy saving measures and reduction in heating bills. The study is a partnership between Designability, Energy Efficient Widcombe and ContinuumBridge (CBr), a local technology provider”.

In addition to Councillor monies, we hope to receive some expenses from the Technology Strategy Board for this project.

Sustainable Student Housing, West Widcombe

Students living in the west part of Widcombe ward, also known as Lower Oldfield Park, are likely to be experiencing cold accommodation and/or paying excessively for their heating.  This is not good for their health, their studies or their finances. They will probably also wish to reduce their carbon footprint.   Therefore there is a need to improve the energy efficiency of their accommodation.  This may in some cases require the involvement of their landlords.

We are partnering with Bath Spa University on this project, and have met with Dr Mark McGuinness, Associate Dean: School of Society, Enterprise and Environment, at BSU.  He has suggested the Sustainable Student Housing project is a 9 month Dissertation project for a few students, so we now need to fully scope the project.  We have a Stakeholder meeting on 22 April to action this.

Working with Widcombe Schools to save energy

Most people are concerned about rising energy bills.  There is a core group of around 15% of Widcombe residents who give their homes a very low rating for energy efficiency (giving a maximum score of 3 out of 10). 25% say their home is hard to keep warm and 19% describing it as ‘very draughty’. * Source – EEW survey conducted Spring 2012 as part of the “Local Energy Assessment Fund” project.

EEW recently delivered a well received energy efficiency workshop at the Junior School.  We want to follow this through working with the school’s Eco Team, attending their regular meetings, and cascading learnings in the School assembly.

Amy Dartington, Schools Energy Efficiency Officer, attended our Team Meeting on 19 March to explain the energy data available to schools.  We now have access to the Infants and Juniors Energy Survey reports, main AMR reports and their Systems Link data.  43% of the Council’s carbon footprint is from Schools.  Having access to this data we can target a specific problem area e.g. heating at weekends, and offer support.

We will also offer a workshop to parents on simple energy saving and draughtproofing techniques.


  1. Kathy Tate, Community Sustainability Officer, attended our Team Meeting on 3 April.  She gave us the good news that BANES had just secured a £1million grant for solid wall insulation.
  2. Claire met Emma Harrison, a BSU student, who was conducting a Dissertation Interview on Internships.
  3. St Marks community building has requested our help to reduce their high electricity bill.  Kathy Tate, Jon McChesney and Claire will conduct an audit and then apply to the Western Power Distribution Fund, administered by CSE.
  4. We have reviewed our website and will shortly refresh and update it.

photo credit: Pete Morawski via photopin cc