The importance of occupants' behaviour in the success of energy performance policies and projects is more and more recognised. In an energy saving retrofitting project like IFORE, it is therefore essential to get residents to agree to the project’s aims and make them their own.
As social housing tenants are more liable to move out and be replaced by new residents, this involvement must be extended to the community.
Both housing associations in the IFORE project have developped awareness raising strategies in order to achieve this goal:
The Green Doctor programme was introduced to the IFORE project in Rushenden by AmicusHorizon. It was created and developed by Groundwork through direct experience in the East Midlands.
It addresses fuel poverty with a practical approach, twinned with reducing carbon emissions. The key feature of the Green Doctor is that he/she offers free, impartial help in the home.
The Green Doctor visits properties to raise awareness with tenants on energy matters. The Green Doctor gives advice and free energy-saving products during the visit such as radiator panels, standby units, low-energy bulbs, draught excluders, smart meters.
The prescription that the Green Doctor leaves with every resident suggests changes to behaviour that might reduce utility bills, recommends hard measures that will reduce energy usage/increase heat output, monitor performance and effectiveness of hard measures.
AmicusHorizon has set a target of 400 residents involved in Green Doctor advice in Rushenden during the course of the IFORE project.
Specific features of the Green Doctor have been developped with children, such as the Ace Detective and the Junior Green Doctor.
The Energy Ambassador , created by Pas-de-Calais habitat is a Green Doctor tailored to French conditions.
The Energy Champions program was designed for the IFORE project with the help of Groundwork to encourage and support the schools around Rushenden in sustainability education.
A target of 3000 children engaged in Energy Champion activities was set at the beginning of the program. The scheme is a coordinated by an IFORE Education Officer with experience in sustainability education. The IFORE team further supports the schools in several ways including training sessions for staff.
The scheme provides a very wide variety of activities for the schools to choose from, all focused on energy matters, which they can include in the curriculum. The system is flexible and designed so that the schools can create their own ways of developing ‘eco’ and energy projects.
The Energy Champions scheme addresses all ages, from 5 to 16, and the children can progress through three levels by completing correctly a number of tasks, which are adapted to their age. In the higher levels aimed at older children, the knowledge is designed to be shared with others, so that the children become fully Energy Champions.
Certificates are given for every level. Badges are distributed too, usually at special Energy Champions assemblies organized by the schools, which sometimes also include the local community.
The cross-border opportunity is also a vital feature of the IFORE project. Exchanges between residents of both communities play an essential role in the community engagement strategy.
Cross-border exchanges of residents have a vital role in the community approach of the IFORE project.
All visits aim at developping technical knowledge on energy (by enabling comparison between both countries' situations), at the same time as friendly contacts.
One of the objectives is to develop links that last after the end of the IFORE project.
IFORE in Rushenden at University of Brighton, College of Arts and Humanities
IFORE in Outreau at University of Brighton, College of Arts and Humanities
Retrofit-IFORE-housing-types.pdf at University of Brighton, College of Arts and Humanities [pdf 1.4 MB]