Project HEAT: Home Energy Awareness Training
A small consortium of community groups and local businesses have partnered on an innovative programme with the aims of helping Whanganui residents make their homes warmer, dryer, and healthier while saving power and money. This Win-Win-Win situation for people, the local economy, and the planet is the hallmark of the Eco-Thrifty Renovation, the Castlecliff project that inspired Project HEAT.
During the month of March, seven community presentations were held throughout Whanganui. The presentations highlighted seven of the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of home energy savings: compact fluorescent light bulbs, window and door seal, draught excluders, window blankets, hot water cylinder wraps, draught blockers, and the humble but effective ‘straw box.’ Each of these requires a very low upfront investment, which then pays for itself in energy savings in a matter of months or years: representing literally 10% to 200% return on investment!
These community presentations were the first of three stages planned for Project HEAT. The second stage involves a limited number of home energy audits to be performed within the city limits. The audits roughly follow the format used in the Eco Design Advisor programme that is used by Councils throughout New Zealand, the closest to us being Palmerston North. Any household is eligible for a free audit, but priority will be given to those where all decision-makers will be present at the audit, along with at least one adult (friend or whanau) that does not live in the home. This way we can extend the limited amount of funding to reach as many people as possible. To register your interest, either email Nelson, firstname.lastname@example.org, or ring Richard, 927 6635.
The third stage of Project HEAT is a DIY workshop being organized by Community Education Service for the 11th of May. During this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to make their own custom fit window blankets and draught blockers. The workshop may be particularly helpful for those people who do not have their own tools for making these eco-thrifty energy-savers. Contact CES to register: 345 4717.
The success of Project HEAT for the Whanganui community could not have been realized without the critical partnerships we have established. This is truly a project of the community and for the community. Partnering with The ECO School, the current list of local businesses and community groups includes: Tree Life New Zealand, Ltd., Wanganui Chronicle, Mediaworks, Bunnings Hardware, Sustainable Engineering, Ltd., Richard Collins – Freelance Software Development, Community Education Service, Sustainable Whanganui Trust, and the Whanganui Regional Primary Health Organisation. As well the following organizations donated the use of their venues for the community presentations: Josephite Retreat Centre, YMCA Central, Gonville Café Library, Progress Castlecliff (Duncan Pavilion), Wanganui Community Arts Centre, St. Barnabas Church, and All Saints Church. Thank you!