Open Energy Saving House Weekend

Started Summer 2009
Contact: Julia Waterlow

First run by the TTL Energy Group in 2009, this project was
loosely based on the Open House event run in Brighton
the previous year.  The idea was to inspire members of the public to make
energy saving and other environmentally sustainable changes to their own homes
by seeing what practical steps other people have taken in their homes. The
project is about people learning from the experience of others and making
positive changes to reduce their environmental footprint sometimes at very
little cost.  Visitors could talk to people face to face about the
difficulties, the costs and the benefits and see how the changes work in
practice.

The TTL Energy Group had 10 houses in Lewes and surrounding
villages open to the public over a weekend in June, the event being titled Open
Eco House Weekend.  In 2010 there were 13 houses, open again over a
weekend in June, the event renamed to Open Energy Saving House Weekend to avoid
the Eco label and hopefully make it more widely appealing.  Between them the houses demonstrated examples of
insulation, draughtproofing, renewable energy, water saving, natural and
recycled materials, composting, waste disposal, energy monitoring, eco paints
and other environmentally friendly products used in households.

The event entailed finding households willing to
take part, collating all the information about the houses, getting brochures
printed, arranging publicity and visiting each house before and after. 
Lewes District Council gave great support both years in paying for the
brochures to be produced and also in 2009 helping pay for some publicity in
local papers.  By a stroke of luck, the 2009 event was covered live on the
Sunday by the BBC Politics show.

In terms of visitors, it is roughly estimated
that some 200 people visited the houses in 2009 and some 250 people visited in
2010.  Between about 60-75% of visitors came from Lewes over the two
years, the remainder mainly coming from the surrounding villages and Brighton.  Feedback from visitors was extremely
positive and many of the householders are willing to take part again. It
is hoped to run a similar event in 2011 if people can be found to help organise
the event.