Residents see energy savings

Results from the Blackrock Tidy Towns’ Energy Awareness Project have just been announced and reveal that household energy cost savings of approximately 11 per cent were achieved over a 12 month period up to the end of 2010.

Results from the Blackrock Tidy Towns’ Energy Awareness Project have just been announced and reveal that household energy cost savings of approximately 11 per cent were achieved over a 12 month period up to the end of 2010.

This equates to an average saving of over p200 per year for each participating household.

The project, undertaken by the Tidy Towns in conjunction with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), took place over a full year up to the end of 2010.

Each of 96 participating households in the village recorded their energy consumption of electricity, oil, gas and solid fuel, in terms of both cost and units used, and compared these with the equivalent previous twelve months.

During the course of the year the participants followed a home energy management plan provided by SEAI, which involved implementing a range of recommendations and tips, largely relating to behavioural changes in energy usage. The results of this were then recorded and monitored to track how energy use decreased over the year.

“The tips were very straightforward and easy to implement” said one participant. “We were amazed when we added up the figures and found that such significant savings resulted from such simple changes in our approach to the use of energy”. While the cost of energy is critical in any analysis, the underlying change in the units of energy used is even more important. The project shows that there was an overall reduction of 3 per cent in electricity units and 8 per cent in litres of oil over the period. Usage of gas also reduced. Altogether in excess of 19 tonnes of carbon dioxide have been saved as a result from the project.

“This is very significant” explained a Tidy Towns spokesperson, “and proves that it is possible to make real savings in energy consumption without having to undertake costly systems upgrades. We are delighted with the results, but it is our first year to collect data and analyse savings and realise that our data collection and analysis skills will improve as a result of the experience to date.”

Participating households also recorded and monitored their consumption of motor fuel over the period. Not all participants were in a position to compare their figures with the previous 12-month period, but those who did showed increases in both consumption and cost. Nevertheless, the recommendations and tips provided by SEAI should result in savings into the future.

While some households had to withdraw during the course of the project for various reasons, the level of participation was praised by the Tidy Towns. “We would like to thank everybody who took part” said a spokesperson, “especially our Energy Coaches who spent so much time encouraging those who participated in this very successful project. We also want to thank SEAI for their help and support throughout the project” he said.

The Energy Awareness Project was initiated by the Tidy Towns and SEAI in September 2009.