There’s a place in the South Wales where they rejoice when it rains. There have even been rumours of certain individuals performing rain dances during dry periods of weather. After succeeding in securing funding through the Department of Energy and Climate Changes’ (DECC) ‘Low Carbon Communities Challenge’ (LCCC) fund Cwm Clydach Development Trust have installed their Micro Hydro power station and have been generating electricity for nearly a year. This has given them the energy bug, they are now not content on just generating electricity but they also want to help people in the area save energy too.
Following an initial meeting between Pathfinder Officer Rob Proctor and Keith and Phil Jenkins of Cwm Clydach Communities First it was agreed that they would work to develop this project as one of the Pathfinder Case Studies.
The brief was to develop a simple project that highlighted how much electricity people could save by changing a few simple behaviours around their homes. The project did not want to preach to people about how to save electricity but wanted participants to try a range of behaviours that suited their lifestyles and see for themselves whether it made a saving to their electricity bills.
Households who took part were asked to do a 3 week trial. This involved taking 4 meter readings, one at the start and then one every week. The first week they were to carry on as normal and the second and third week they were to try a range of behaviours such as turning things off after you’ve finished with them, washing at 30o, putting lids on pans etc. We could then record whether there were any savings that people could make by changing simple behaviours. Everyone who completes the challenge will receive a free Power Down Plug kindly supplied by Severn Wye Energy Agency.
The project is looking to target 100 people to take part in this. So far the Communities First Partnership, Cwm Clydach Primary, Llwynypia Primary and the Tonypandy Scout Group have agreed to take part in this project.
Currently 10 people have completed the challenge but we expect to have more completing it in the coming weeks. So far everyone made a saving from week 1 to week 3. The average difference between week 1 and week 3 was £1.23. Over a year that would be £64.
One of the participants said ‘I have found that each week we have used less electricity just by implementing these simple tips, although my teenage daughter finds it difficult to turn items off when not in use especially as she doesn’t pay for the energy’.
The Development Trust will aim to share this information with other households in the area and demonstrate that everyone can save energy by making small changes to the way they use electricity.
The Energy Bug has well and truly got hold of this Community Group as the Development Trust have also received funding through DECC’s Low Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF)to have a structural survey done on a second Micro Hydro site. Where will it hit next?