What if energy saving became a public issue that we talked about with friends and neighbours across communities?
Reducing energy use and energy bills is one of the biggest challenges we face in the UK today. Lots of us worry about it. Yet we see it as a private matter.
When Keele University and the Marches Energy Agency set up local discussion groups to investigate people’s ideas on domestic energy saving and efficiency, they found that the discussion groups themselves were something people wanted and enjoyed.
It revealed a large gap between the general information currently available, and the level of detail that we all need to make wise decisions in our own houses. That gap is currently filled only by companies aiming to sell their own products.
The project helped neighbours to connect across communities to exchange ideas and share practical experience of energy saving. It also showed that local organisations can help to make discussions possible.
This film was produced to inspire other communities. Participants from Shrewsbury and Newcastle-under-Lyme show what made the discussions practical, useful, interesting and enjoyable.
- The core idea 00: 00
- Public frustration and the need to discuss energy 01: 08
- The value of sharing experience 03: 48
- Investigating personal energy use 05: 40
- Engaging others, speaking publicly: 4 examples 07: 09
- Making it happen across the UK 11: 51
- Making discussions work 13: 13
- Credits and resources 14: 00
To hear more about the ideas behind the research, and how it challenges current UK policy thinking, watch the separate documentary based on interviews with the research team - vimeo.com/publicspace/recckn-policy (12: 30) . Called 'Engaging Communities on Energy Efficiency', it is intended to inform policy and encourage support from public and third sector organisations.
The research project 'Reducing Energy Consumption through Community Knowledge Networks' (RECCKN.org.uk) was carried out by Keele University (keele.ac.uk) and the Marches Energy Agency (mea.org.uk). The project was funded by the ESRC and EPSRC. Further information is available on the RECCKN project website.
Interviews, distillation and video production by PublicSpace.ac.uk. With huge thanks to all the contributors.