MPs pledge a change to spread energy efficiency

The Hole in the Roof is an ongoing campaign and will continue throughout the year to raise awareness of how people can save energy.
Energy efficiency is still top of the political agenda. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced in November a long -awaited strategy called: The Energy Efficiency Opportunity in the UK.  The government’s claim was that up to 22 power stations worth of energy could be saved by investing in energy efficiency. According to energy secretary Ed Davey, energy efficiency can reduce energy bills for households and businesses, and can boost the economy in a sector with great potential for future growth, driving innovation in the process.  Economists also point out that such an approach is also good for job creation here in the UK.
What is really significant about this strategy is its aim to change future behaviour and to assess what actually drives energy demand.  We can expect energy prices to keep rising in the future and the message that has to be driven home to consumers is that to keep energy bills in check; we have to stop wasting energy in the home.
In November 2012, we launched a national and ongoing, energy efficiency campaign called: Hole in the Roof. Its purpose is to educate consumers in how to make simple and inexpensive changes in the home that will save money and also waste less energy.  Developing the campaign further, we also launched phase two of the Hole in the Roof, ‘Pledge a Change.’
Consumers and members of parliament can commit to making a change by carrying out an energy efficiency improvement in their homes.  For example this could be switching your light bulbs to energy saving ones or making sure that your house is draught-proofed correctly.  The campaign’s ask and call to action is not about taking out complex heating measures, although there is advice on our website if people are interested in renewable technologies but more about home improvements that can be easily achieved.
Many people are time poor and in the current climate, strapped for cash too.  We understand the importance of keeping it simple so that change can happen. MPs are local community leaders and can get our message delivered to their constituents and will be able to target sections of society who will benefit greatly from the advice offered on the Hole in the Roof website.
This is the sort of practical advice, backed up by hard evidence that people want to have access to, so that they can improve their home environment. The campaign is supported by environmentalists like Tony Juniper and Charlie Luxton and financial experts like Jasmine Birtles and Dr Ros Altmann the Director-General of Saga (pictured right).
Simple ideas, like reducing the temperature on your thermostat could help you save hundreds of pounds; cutting out draughts from doors and windows or fitting reflective foil behind radiators all save money and they are good for the environment too. We hope MPs are certainly going to make a change in their homes and that others will follow suit.
BBC DIY SOS star Charlie Luxton’s approach to retrofitting the home is to start from the basics and work up, so that it wastes less energy.  His advice is to start with the fabric of the building, concentrating on making it airtight as heat is lost through air movement of a building and insulating as much as possible. Consumers must address their windows and have them double glazed.  Forty percent of energy disappears through the walls and so it is important to assess what measure is suitable for the property. The UK’s old housing stock needs to remain using a gas boiler which must be a high efficiency model.
A consequence of the UK’s old housing stock is fuel poverty and this is a huge problem in our society with many vulnerable people going under the radar. This often results in them forfeiting the help that they are entitled to when it comes to paying their heating bills.  One of our supporters of the Hole in the Roof campaign, Dr Ros Altmann has concerns that while energy bills are at record highs, the pensioner Winter Fuel Payments has decreased. Altmann understands that it is vital to be aware of the needs of those struggling to keep warm. Older people often spend more time at home, especially in the winter, which means they spend a much higher proportion of their income on heating their homes.
Saga joins HHIC and the government by supporting the idea of making older people’s homes more energy efficient as it can help them afford to live more comfortably and in better health.
What is clear about the message of our campaign and ‘Pledge a Change’ is that the information available on the Hole in the Roof website can be used to help decide what can be done to your home to help with heating costs and how best to go about making these home improvements.
We understand that not everyone has access or can use the internet and this is why we want MPs to help us get these energy saving messages out to the heart of their communities.  The irony being that those most in need are often the hardest to reach.
Installers are also important in becoming messengers as their work takes them inside people’s homes and they can really help to spread the word about their campaign to your customers.  People trust their heating engineer to provide good advice. It would be a real community service if they were able to pass on the message about saving energy and let friends and family know about this website too.
We would like as many people as possible to Pledge a Change. It really is straightforward to do. Please visit the Hole in the Roof website: www.holeintheroof.org.uk and go to the Pledge a Change page and sign up to commit to making one change in your home. We can all stay warm this winter and it will save us money too – so why not sign up today and this way we can all make a collective difference and cut the amount of energy we all waste in the home.

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