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Home energy questionnaire

Survey 2009

This page contains an analysis of the responses to the energy questionnaire issued by the Energy Initiative in the first months of 2009. It covers all responses received by 11 April.

Survey Result

The survey

We attempted to get responses from the 100 or so households who had opted for an energy assessment in 2006, and from a random selection of another 100 households who did not.

The data analysed

We obtained 112 responses from:

  • 60 (64%) of the 94 houses for which an energy survey was completed in 2006,
  • 37 (33%) of a random selection of 97 other houses which did not take part in the 2006 energy survey, and
  • 15 other houses which did not take part in the 2006 energy survey. Some of these replaced the selected houses for various reasons, and all were therefore included in the analysis below.

14 responses were from rented houses, where normally the resident has less freedom to make structural improvements to save energy.

It is likely that those who responded are not a representative selection of each group, and that the true level of improvements and changes is lower than estimated from these replies. However, the response rate of about 60% means that the results are probably reasonably representative of the village as a whole.


The results

   2006 survey Status
Number in sample 112 6052 9814
Structural improvements to save energy 85%92%77%84%93%
Loft insulation 27%37%15%30%   7%
Wall insulations 11%10%12%11%   7%
Hot-water tank insulation 17%17%17%18%   7%
Window replacement, e.g. double glazing 21%17%25%22%   7%
Draught-proofing 25%22%29%26%21%
More efficient boiler 22%27%17%23%14%
Low-energy lights 75%80%69%74%79%
Better heating controls 21%17%25%21%14%
More efficient appliances 27%28%25%29%14%
Generation of energy   5%   8%   2%   6%   0%
Other   4%   5%   4%   5%   0%
Lifestyle changes to save energy 90%92%88%89%100%
Switch off devices more often 79%83%75%78%93%
Lower temperature or period of heating 73%78%67%73%71%
More economical use of hot water 51%45%58%47%79%
Other 13%17%   8%14%   0%
Influences for structural or lifestyle changes 87%88%85%85%100%
General awareness, e.g. newspapers 72%73%71%71%79%
Family and friends 16%   8%25%16%14%
Energy companies 15%13%17%14%21%
Suppliers, e.g. double-glazing firms   1%   0%   2%   1%   0%
Blewbury Bulletin or Energy Initiative 43%53%31%43%43%
Other bodies, e.g. Energy Saving Trust 17%20%13%16%21%

There is very little difference between the different groups, apart from the lower implementation of structural changes other than low-energy lighting in rented accommodation.

  • 96% of all respondents recorded making structural or lifestyle changes or both.
  • 75% of respondents have introduced or have been adding to their use of low-energy light bulbs.
  • 51% of all respondents have also made one or more other improvements, while for 24% low-energy lighting is the only structural improvement.
  • 90% of respondents have made some lifestyle change.

The options given for the possible influences on the changes was flawed as we did not clearly identify the powerful effects of high energy prices, and the influence of shops in the move to low-energy bulbs. Of the 97 who reported on influences, 84% cited general awareness and 49% cited the Energy initiative. 5% of respondents (6 of the 112) have already taken action to generate energy.

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Comments arising from the survey

We did not include price rises and cost as a driver for saving. This was mentioned by several.

Some of the houses were constructed or completely renovated recently. If done in the last three years they have most improvements ticked. If before that the improvements had already been done. This is a random effect on the results but probably not enough houses are affected to be significant.

Several messages approved of the BEI, e.g.

"I have found the BEI very stimulating to make me think about energy wasting a lot more."

"Keep up the good work."

"Great initiative, keep it going to remind us."

"The BEI has been splendid initiative and I hope it will continue over coming months and years."

The other comments were:

"I make fewer car journeys and wear more clothes."

"I am not sure this (questionnaire) is relevant to the policy!"

A long plea for a cycle path to Upton.

"Most of the shops in Didcot have doors open with heat escaping. The same happens in summer with the Air Con on. Perhaps the Town Council/Chamber of Commerce should be approached. If all agreed to a voluntary code this could get positive reports in the local press, local TV etc. This could go on to be a national initiative. This would be a massive energy saving."

"Maybe some sort of review of some of the different energy saving products available "Which" style would be useful. When we got our new heaters and solar panels we had to do a lot of research, so having information that is easy to access would be great, especially users reaction rather than just company blurb."

"Perhaps other measures could be added to widen this survey? i.e taking your own bag to supermarket (many sea turtles die through ingesting plastic bags for example.) Also walk or cycle for short journeys etc. and recycling."

"I read somewhere of a local village that has cooperative purchase of boiler oil."

"Some expert analysis of the best electricity tariffs for Blewbury would be helpful. "

"What about a co-operative for the purchase of gas and electricity?"

"Keep Blewbury street light free!"

"Occasional snippets in the bulletin such as: changing light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs could save you £Y per year."

"Suggest all households who have had cavity wall insulation installed be made aware that a certificate of conformity/guarantee is issued by C.I.G.A."

"We are getting there and like others need the occasional push todo!"

"Had we nuclear energy there would be no need for energy initiatives."

"Local Authorities need to be more pro-active, and offer more advice especially to the elderly and young families living in social housing."

"Vacuum flask for spare use of kettle water."

"SSE Flexiheat (dual tariff)."

"High voltage explanation in Bulletin helpful (Xmas tree lights method)."

"I am very happy to participate in any energy monitoring schemes if it would help."

"Blewbury cannot have an energy policy it can only advise and encourage."

"Providing accurate information rather than generalisations should be the watchword unlike the EST."

"A very useful service the BEI could provide is a database of accurate information on energy saving equipment. e.g. It is not commonly known that CFLs are only 10-15% efficient. Halogen spotlight can be much more efficient (due to the narrow beam) in terms of illumination level per watt."

"Feel strongly that there is generally limited understanding of the thermal performance of old buildings and the suitability or otherwise of various energy saving measures (notably double glazing and insulation) which can be undesirable in technical terms trapping damp etc. "

"HIPs system unsympathetic to old buildings - anything that gets the message that "its not that simple" across is welcomed. (The government is talking about removing exemption from compliance with building regulations for old buildings.)"

"A far higher profile."

"12/24 V (or higher) from the streams"

"A village wide initiative for grant/lottery monies towards elements of "self sufficiency"."

"I would welcome some way of measuring the "carbon footprint" of the village and monitoring this as a regular feature via different indicators. "

"Rising costs are a major incentive for energy reduction - maybe the BEI could continue the awareness raising of money saving initiatives."


Discussion of these results

The high percentage of households that have taken some energy saving activity on board is encouraging, though the fact that less than 50% of these think the influence of the BEI was significant in their decision might be slightly disappointing. The cost of energy is probably the major motivator.

With several respondents specifically encouraging the BEI to continue and none expressing any criticism of our work, we can probably take the survey as an encouragement to continue our efforts.

If we wish to get a measure of the impact of our work we could make an estimate of the likely benefit of each mentioned improvement, extrapolate the percentages over the whole village, and then assume that a proportion of this – perhaps 15-20% is the result of the BEI.

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