Does your home cost you more money to run than it should?
Could you save yourself money and help improve our environment?
The answer is often yes. Winchester City Council has been looking at the energy efficiency of its own buildings to find out what can be done not only to save council tax payers’ money in terms of the gas and electricity it uses, but also to reduce any negative impact on the environment. The Council is also helping local residents to do the same because of the importance of tackling climate change.
The Council has teamed up with the Energy Saving Trust to offer 25,000 targeted households a free personalised home energy report. The initiative is aimed at households not eligible for home energy efficiency grants. The report will show how you can cut your energy bills by an average of £340* and help fight climate change. Your report will indicate how energy efficient your home is on a scale of A-G, with bands A-C being the most energy efficient with the lowest fuel bills. The report will also give you practical advice on how you can save energy to improve your home's rating and at the same time lower your fuel bills.
Recent energy reports on the Council’s buildings show they have energy ratings from C-G. Although the age of the buildings does present some limitations, the Council is still working to reduce both spend and impact in a number of ways.
The Council is consolidating staff onto one main site in just two buildings instead of six. This will provide overall savings on heating and power bills. The Council is also planning a maintenance improvement programme for the two buildings and has recently put new and more efficient boilers into the Colebrook Street offices as well as carrying out work to the roof of the Guildhall. This process is all part of our Climate Change Action Plan which looks at measures that can be taken across the council to reduce its carbon footprint.
Leisure centres are difficult buildings to make energy efficient, but the Council is working hard with our partners to find ways to make a difference there too. Initiatives at River Park Leisure Centre over recent months include covers for the swimming pool to retain heat overnight; the replacement of boilers with combined heat and power units; timer switches on lighting, and additional training for staff. The Meadowside Leisure Centre in Whiteley has also been making good progress against a dedicated green action plan.
Cllr George Beckett Leader of Winchester City Council said, “The City Council recognises that our buildings are relatively old and inefficient but that shouldn’t prevent us from looking to improve them. We are actively trying to save money and to meet our targets of reducing carbon emissions. I encourage everyone in the district to think about steps they can take to make a difference and take advantage of the help and advice available to them from the Energy Savings Trust.”
Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC) are backing the City Council in trying to improve energy efficiency across the district.
Robert Hutchison, Chair of WinACC said, “Making sure that your home is as well insulated as it can be is one of the best ways of saving money while at the same time contributing to WinACC and the City Council’s aim of reducing the carbon footprint of Winchester by one third over the next seven years.”
WinAcc’s website www.winacc.org.uk is full of good advice and tips for reducing your carbon footprint, and has details of how you can get involved and become a member of this group.
If you do not receive a letter from EST you may be eligible for grants from Warm Front to help you make changes to your home and save you money. You can contact them on 0800 316 2805 or visit www.warmfront.co.uk or find information on the Council’s website www.winchester.gov.uk
*Based on a 3 bedroom semi-detached house (Energy Saving Trust 2008