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Swindon and Wiltshire residents share how they save money and enjoy warmer homes with green energy

Locals to open their homes during county-wide Green Open Homes week 9 - 17 March 2024.

Published 8 February 2024

More and more people are enjoying cost savings and warmer homes from making home improvements such as better insulation and heating fuelled by green energy.

With households in Swindon and Wiltshire being among the top three greenhouse gas emitters contributing to climate change locally, homeowners are improving their homes to reduce their energy usage and seeing the benefits

To help people take advantage of green energy Wiltshire Climate Alliance is working in partnership with Wiltshire Council to organise the Swindon and Wiltshire Green Open Homes event (opens new window) between 9 - 17 March 2024.

More than twenty homes have already enlisted, and more householders, particularly in Swindon and the South of the County, who have made energy and environmental improvements, are invited to open their homes. Tours can be in person or virtual at the homeowner's choice.

Christian Lange of Wiltshire Climate Alliance said; The Wiltshire and Swindon Green Open Homes event provides a great opportunity for people to ask homeowners about the technology they have had installed without getting the hard sell. You can learn about all the benefits and pitfalls to avoid and be provided with details of recommended suppliers without any sales pressure! Participants could open their home for just part of a day or all four days over both weekends, whatever suits them best.

Kate S., a Pewsey resident, took part in a smaller Green Open Homes event last year and welcomed many visitors to her 1965 home which she renovated with double glazing, internal insulation and mechanical ventilation & heat recovery. With just these measures her comparative energy use on the coldest days, when the outside temperature is below 0ºC, has more than halved from an average of 55 kiloWatt hours (kW-h) per day to 25 kW-h per day. By adding solar panels and two batteries she saved approximately £1000 in 2023, a return on investment of 6.2% per annum, tax-free. In the summer she will sell her spare electricity to the grid, making the investment even more worthwhile.

Kate S. is opening her home again for the Wiltshire and Swindon Green Open Homes event in March 2024. She said; I'm seeing a significant reduction in the amount of energy I am using while my home is way cosier than it used to be. The trick is finding the right solution for your type of home. If I could start again, I would get advice from friends that have gone through the process themselves and visiting a Green Open Home is the perfect way to get started.

In Highworth, Swindon John R. said; We set about reducing our energy consumption using the flickering of a tea light to find where the draughts came from and then plugged them. Our journey to tread more lightly on the planet went on from there - insulation, new windows, and solar panels. We had previously visited a green open home and gained some really helpful tips!

In 2021, before the energy crisis hit, the Office for National Statistics' census (opens new window) discovered that 33% of households across Swindon and Wiltshire were reported to be deprived in either housing, health, employment or education. Most residents' central heating systems were found to run on fossil fuels with 13% of Wiltshire residents still using oil. Renewables accounted for only 1% of energy in use for heating in Swindon and Wiltshire.

Wiltshire Council is partnering with Wiltshire Climate Alliance for the Green Open Homes event.  Cllr Nick Holder, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: This is a fantastic opportunity to hear from local residents about the changes they've made to their properties to make them more climate-friendly and save money on energy bills.

We're proud to be partnering with Wiltshire Climate Alliance to deliver this event and we hope lots of residents will take the opportunity to find out more about the changes they could make and get advice and recommendations from people who are already seeing the benefits from climate-friendly technologies.

We hope events like these will help residents to make their homes more climate-friendly and we're really keen to help people on this journey. We also offer the Wiltshire Home Upgrade Grant which people can use to make improvements to owned and privately rented homes that are not connected to mains gas and have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of band D, on top of the variety of schemes available nationally.

Cllr. Jane Milner-Barry, Chair of Swindon Borough Council's Achieving Net Zero Committee commented; Many residents are really keen to improve the energy efficiency of their homes but do not know what are the most important measures to take or what to do first.  This is a wonderful opportunity to talk to people who have already embarked on this journey and want to share their findings.  I will certainly be visiting some of these homes myself!

Swindon and Wiltshire residents interested in opening their homes should email (opens new window) - closing date 9 February 2024.

To find out more - whether to host or visit a green open home to discover options to cut costs and save energy - see (opens new window) or (opens new window) or email (opens new window).



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