With rising energy prices, serious concern about the future UK energy supply and the priority to reduce carbon emissions, a central challenge for UK policy is how to inspire the British public to increase energy efficiency, both within our way of life and within our poorly-insulated housing stock.
This documentary offers an innovative way of addressing that challenge. It directly counters the familiar political narratives that (i) view 'the public' as ignorant, lacking awareness, knowledge and motivation, that (ii) view the 'energy poor' as one-dimensional victims, and that (iii) see the solution in terms of more expert 'information' and more schemes delivered by energy and insulation companies. The findings of the 2-year 'RECCKN' research project (recckn.org.uk) by Keele University and the Marches Energy Agency seriously question such assumptions.
Based on interviews with the research team, the documentary directly addresses the current policy challenge, offering clear and innovative ways forward. The research team argue for the need for local community networks to share practical knowledge and experience of energy efficiency, within a process enabled and supported by trusted third sector organisations as 'honest brokers'.
The project and documentary have particular significance for the current UK 'Green Deal' and 'Energy Company Obligation', in terms of how these high-cost commercially-led initiatives could be made more relevant to people's experience, more trustworthy and ultimately more effective.
Note: In 2012 domestic consumption was 29 per cent of total UK final consumption of energy products'. DECC 2013, Energy Consumption in the UK. Publication: URN: 13D/158.
- A parallel public documentary, 'Energy saving: it's a social thing' is intended to inspire communities to take up the ideas in this documentary. It is based on interviews with the public participants in the research project. It is at: vimeo.com/publicspace/energysaving (Duration: 15 mins.)
- A further film, 'Energy Question Time', offers a record of the practical insight and advice on energy efficiency articulated during by experts and local people during an event organised by project participants in December 2012. vimeo.com/publicspace/energyquestiontime (Duration 30 mins.)
The project website is at: recckn.org.uk. The documentary work was commissioned by Professor Andrew Dobson of Keele University. Dr Simon Pardoe of PublicSpace worked closely with the research team over a year 2012-13 to film events and to distil and present the findings succinctly and visually in documentary form. Drafts of the documentaries have been used and reviewed in discussions, including within the project and at the UK DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change).