And the winner is...!
Published by Lucy Bradwell for The Regenda Group in Housing and also in Communities, Environment, Local Government
Resident Marie Burns, winner of the Wirral Energy Challenge
The winner of a Neighbourhood Energy Challenge which saw Birkenhead and Tranmere residents compete to reduce their energy bills has been revealed by North West housing provider, The Regenda Group at an event held at the Lauries Centre.
Marie Burns from Exmouth Way, Birkenhead, beat off stiff competition to claim the prize, worth £600, which was funded by the Scottish Power Energy People Trust. Marie reduced her energy usage significantly during the competition, saving energy equivalent to making 20 cups of tea an hour compared to the average UK household.
Marie said: “After the second week, when I realised how much I was saving, I went fully into it. I must have saved between £40 and £50 during the competition and I couldn’t believe the difference. I was making sure all of the televisions were off during the day. I’d wait until my son went to work and then turn the TV off at the wall in his room. Just turning your TV and DVD off from standby will save £2.40 per week. It was so easy to make the changes.”
Second prize went to Julie and Ray Challoner-Multon from Exmouth Gardens, whilst Summerford Close resident Mr Dakin came third.
Sarah Thomas, Environmental Officer at Regenda said: “I’m delighted for Marie as she put into practice all of the advice we gave her and managed to make significant savings by making small changes. Over a year the changes she has made will save her around £260 on her electricity bill. We wanted to help our residents to help themselves and hopefully have some fun at the same time.”
Councillor George Davies, Wirral Council Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety congratulated the winners. He said: “This was a wonderful initiative. It’s great that the community has been brought together to challenge each other and use the gadgets which they were given. If every household across Wirral made these changes we would all be better off.”
To help kick start the challenge each household was given a range of energy saving products including radiator panels; energy efficient mobile phone plugs; the Eco Manager, which helps to monitor and control the amount of electricity used at home, and energy saving light bulbs. Energy Projects Plus installed them free of charge during an hour long home visit during which they also gave out handy tips on how to reduce energy use.
A meter reading was taken at the beginning of the challenge and then a final reading was taken at the end. The winning household used the least amount of energy after the number of residents per property was taken into account.
Ann Loughrey, ScottishPower’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and The ScottishPower Energy People Trust’s Company Secretary, said: “We were very pleased to support Regenda and its Neighbourhood Energy Challenge. It was an innovative way to encourage people to think about their energy use and work to reduce this to help them out of fuel poverty.”
The Regenda Group is a leading housing and regeneration organisation, with 13,000 properties across the North West providing homes for more than 25,000 people.