An innovative project launched in Hayle at the beginning of the year is well on the way to reaching ambitious targets for saving electricity, while gaining rewards for the community at the same time. For every kilowatt hour residents in two areas of Hayle – Trelissick and Tremorva – are able to shave off their usage, a donation of cash is pledged to the two community funds. Each fund has now surpassed the £1,000 mark, with overall targets of £5,000 for each area in sight.
The Western Power Distribution project is being delivered in Hayle by local charity and social enterprise Community Energy Plus. Project Leader Neil Farrington explained more about how it works: “The aim is to help small areas reduce their electricity usage in order to relieve pressure on their local substation. Some of our substations are reaching the point where they can no longer cope with maximum demand and need to be upgraded. This is partly because we all use more electrical items than we used to.”
The Less if More Project has multiple benefits. With support from Community Energy Plus, householders can take the initiative and reduce their bills, whilst also decreasing their carbon emissions. “We are offering free home energy audits, with expert advice tailored specifically to individual homes,” explained Neil. “We can show residents where heat is escaping using our thermal imaging camera and we can supply energy monitors to help people understand their electricity use.”
Meanwhile, Western Power Distribution saves on the cost of up-grading substations, passing some of the associated savings onto the community in the form of a fund for facilities and future initiatives. What this money is spent on is up to residents in each area, and suggestions for Trelissick and Tremorva are currently being taken by the project team at Community Energy Plus.
Less is More is also looking to change behaviour, shifting times of peak use and therefore easing pressure on substations during periods of maximum demand, which generally occur between 5pm – 7pm. “We recognise that some of the energy people use at this time may be essential – like cooking evening meals,” said Neil. “However residents may be able to shift other electricity usage to different times. For example turning on the dishwasher, washing machine or tumble dryer at the end of the evening or using timers.”
Several community events have already taken place in order to raise awareness and inspire change. You can track the progress of the project online. There are Facebook and Twitter accounts which provide the latest information on the project. If you live in the Trelissick or Tremorva areas of Hayle, why not make a suggestion as to what you would like your future community fund to be spent on? Remember, it could be as much as £5,000! Email [email protected]