On Sunday 10 October 2010, Open GreenHouse beat its previous record, with up to 250 visits to 17 homes across Winchester district.

In a partnership between Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC) and local climate change campaigners in Alresford, Bishop’s Waltham, Colden Common, Fulflood and Sleepers Hill, home-owners showed their energy-saving initiatives to callers including local councillors, and discussed the advantages and problems. Rob Veck’s retrofitted eco-home in Colden Common had over 50 visitors.

Over 30 different ways to cut your carbon footprint were on display, backed up by new WinACC briefings on roof, wall and floor insulation, government funding for renewable energy, and how to calculate your carbon footprint. Anyone who missed visiting the houses and wants the briefings can go to www.winacc.org.uk or ring 01962 827083.

Solar panels created most interest. They now attract considerable government subsidy, so that householders can recover their costs in about ten years and then have free hot water or electricity for life. There was also much interest in double-glazing that preserves the original look of older houses, and wood burning stoves which cut fuel bills and greenhouse gasses.

Visitors also signed up for a new scheme to measure and reduce their energy bills. WinACC and the Environment Centre in Southampton are lending up to 20 Winchester district householders an electricity monitor for six months. This project, to be launched next Monday 18 October, provides an owl meter and a short course to explain how to use it and how to cut electricity use. At the end of the scheme, WinACC will measure the energy saving across the 20 homes.

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 GreenHouse.

Phil Gagg, Chair of the Greening Fulflood group which had the original idea for Open GreenHouse, said: “This shows that more and more people want to do something practical to cut their energy bills as well as take action on global warming”.

The next step for the Winchester groups is to link with groups across the county to make the next Open GreenHouse Hampshire-wide.