Does understanding how we perform relative to other households help us change our behaviours? This is the topic of a major research study being undertaken by 13 housing associations throughout the United Kingdom.
The National Energy Study is investigating energy use in homes and how much more energy can be saved when residents are better informed about their energy use. The Sustainable Homes study, commencing in October 2013 in over 630 homes, will give residents regular feedback on their energy use in order to help them understand their energy use better and make savings. The outcomes will help the sector cut domestic fuel bills, and fuel poverty too.
Dr Brenda Boardman, Emeritus Fellow of Lower Carbon Futures Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford commented:
“Millions more people have entered fuel poverty in the last year as energy bills continue to rise. We need a better system for informing people of their energy use. The National Energy Study is assessing what form of engagement.
“The National Energy Study is assessing what form of engagement helps people save energy in over 630 homes. This study, run by Sustainable Homes, is of real interest to the sector and provides practical help to hundreds of households.”
The following organisations are involved: Catalyst Housing Group, City West Homes, First Wessex, Gentoo, Hastoe Housing Group, Islington and Shoreditch Housing Group, Magenta Living, mhs homes, Midland Heart, Octavia Housing Group, Orbit Housing Group, Regenda and Swan Housing Group are taking part. ROCKWOOL are supporting the study.
Carl Later, Director of Assets, Midland Heart explained why they are taking part:
“Many people are not aware of how much energy they use. Nor is it easy to understand what motivates people to save energy. The National Energy Study will analyse this in over 630 homes this winter.
“This pioneering work is of very important, especially at a time of rising fuel poverty. Midland Heart is proud to be involved in the study engaging with our residents and helping them understand and save on their energy bills.”