Residents all over WInchester district are throwing their energies into the campaign to cut the carbon footprint of the district by opening their homes to all comers to show energy-saving initiatives on Sunday October 10 1.30-4-30.  In a partnership between Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC) and local climate change groups in Alresford, Bishop’s Waltham, Colden Common and Fulflood, no fewer than 17 home-owners promise to show callers what they have done, and also to discuss frankly the advantages and problems.

The national 10:10 campaign calls on us all to cut our carbon footprint by 10% by the end of 2010. This is why the Winchester campaigners chose 10.10.10 as the day for their Open Green House.

Over 30 different ways to cut your carbon footprint will be on display. The cheapest and easiest is plastic film “double-glazing” costing under £10. The most amusing is the double cat flap, which lets the moggies go in and out as they please without letting in the cold air, which is trapped between the two flaps. People who have installed the most complex gadgets, such as solar water panels, will pass on information about what they cost, and whether the company they used came up to expectation. Many of the Open GreenHouses will also be able to describe how much money and energy their changes saved.

This is also an opportunity to find out more about government funding for home energy-saving, both grants for insulation and the paybacks or “feed-in tariff” and “renewable heat incentives”.

Open Green House was first launched by the Greening Fulflood Campaign, which got over 150 visits to its eight Open Green homes in February 2010. This time, as the event moves district-wide, the campaigners are hoping for at least 300 visits across all seventeen houses.

A downloadable map giving the addresses and details of what is to be seen at each house is at http://www.winacc.org.uk/sites/winacc.org.uk/files/100920%20Green%20House%202%20Flyer%20v8.pdf .

There is also a leaflet at public outlets, or from the WinACC office on 01962 827083.

Another new scheme starting in Winchester allows homeowners the opportunity to monitor their power use for free. WinACC, in partnership with the Environment Centre, has organised a scheme where 15 houses will get a free monitor to measure their own electricity use for 6 months.  The monitors allow the user to see exactly how much electricity is being used instantaneously at any moment, and so you can easily tell if your TV or computer has been left on.  It will also show you exactly how much energy is wasted by leaving electrical goods on stand-by and hopefully lead you to having a smaller carbon footprint.

The scheme uses OWL sensors which can be safely and easily connected to an existing circuit without any electrical knowhow and then can be wirelessly monitored from anywhere in the house.  For those who are not sure what a kilowatt is, the monitor will also convert the electricity used into how much you will be billed for it.

The Environment Centre is offering a free two-hours course to show people how to use the monitors, and explain how they can cut their energy use.