Local resident talks about winning regional energy saver award

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By jmitchell27 | Thursday, October 01, 2009, 13:46

This summer Nick Barnard of Alveston was declared ‘Energy

Master’ for South Gloucestershire, and I was lucky enough to be able to ask him

a few questions about how he came to achieve this feat.

Nick won his award as part of a scheme that was operated

through the Severn Wye Energy Agency (SWEA) - a group that he came into contact

with through our own Sustainable Thornbury. SWEA asked Sustainable Thornbury if

they wanted to enter a team and Nick was the only one to respond to their

request (though many other teams were recruited through other contacts). In order to win the award Nick and his family were required

to reduce their energy consumption through behavioural changes, for example,

having extra insulation fitted wouldn’t count as entrants were required to

reduce their energy consumption through change of habit alone.

I asked Nick what methods he used to cut back on energy consumption

in his household, and he explained that the real key to saving energy was

vigilance. Nick changed the heating timers in his home, but he also became more

disciplined when it came to switching things off – a large number of products

like computers and microwaves use energy even when they are turned off and are still

plugged in; despite all this good advice though my favourite energy saving

method was probably the instruction to iron less.

If you want to reduce the level of energy you consume in

your house then Nick advises that you borrow an energy monitor from your

library. The monitors are easy to use and very enlightening, if nothing else

they should enable you to save some money on your bills – one person in the

scheme found out they had been paying around £140 a year to run a pump in their


Hopefully this information has been eye opening for you and

will encourage our readers to help reduce carbon emissions and save themselves some

money in the process.



  • Profile image for Dilbar

    I should also say that we didn't WIN the award - our team came second.

    By Dilbar at 23:16 on 05/10/09

  • Profile image for Dilbar

    I should point out that although Nick headed up the team the winning of the award was a joint effort. We were the only team in South Glos and were competing against several in Gloucestershire. One family who were recording their energy use were unable to be included in the competition because they had new cavity wall and loft insulation installed. They found that they were using 25% less energy.

    By Dilbar at 22:52 on 01/10/09

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