Riverside’s action to reduce energy bills
Published by Roisin Rowley-Smith for Riverside in Communities and also in Bill Payments, Central Government, Education, Environment, Health, Housing
Social housing provider, Riverside, is helping residents in South Liverpool and Greater Manchester save money on their energy bills, as part of a Cabinet Office pilot scheme.
The Social Action Energy Pilot is a three month project to explore methods of changing behaviour to more efficient energy use, which should reduce energy costs for families across the country.
Riverside is one of six housing providers nationwide chosen to take part in the pilot. It has received £10,000 towards recruiting 20 energy champions in neighbourhoods, who are working with friends and family to spread the word about reducing energy consumption and associated bills.
Rhoda Wilkinson is Riverside’s strategic affordable warmth officer. “Our volunteers are training with specialists, Global Action Plan, to learn more about how their friends and family can save money and energy. We are providing energy monitors, so that volunteers can see for themselves which appliances are most energy greedy. Many people don’t realise that just leaving the fridge open while unpacking shopping makes a difference in terms of electricity use.”
Riverside is taking initial meter readings at the participating homes, and comparing them after three months of energy awareness activity. The findings will be analysed to find out more about reducing energy consumption and will feed in to a larger government campaign to change behaviour.
The project sits alongside Riverside’s work to combat fuel poverty in its neighbourhoods and is one of its many volunteering initiatives.
Michael Phillips, Riverside’s volunteering manager, commented, “One of the unique and innovative aspects of this scheme is that it is volunteers who are delivering the advice to tenants, not staff. Our volunteers know what it’s like to live in a Riverside home, so they are the best placed to advise on how to lower energy bills in them.”
Riverside is working specifically on word of mouth networking, whereas other housing associations will be using incentives and competition to influence changing energy consumption.