The SAVE Project was funded by Ofgem, the energy industry regulator. The project was a collaboration between Scottish & Southern Energy Power Distribution, Neighbourhood Economics, the Environment Centre and WinACC.
It was actively supported by key local agencies including the local council and public utilities (electricity, gas, water).
The aims of the project were to:
- Research how service agencies and communities can work collaboratively to reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency measures
- Make each community more sustainable – whether that be environmentally, socially or economically through collaboration
- Understand the opportunities for reducing energy consumption, especially peak electricity demand. The lessons learned will allow good-practice guidelines to be shared through Ofgem with all electricity network operators across the UK
- Understand the importance of change being achieved on a ‘community-led’ basis rather than a ‘top-down’ approach or imposing change on a community
Our role in the project was to provide project expertise including:
- Provision of the community coach
- Support on community engagement and behaviour change
- Technical support on environmental management
- Technical support in translation of energy concepts into layman’s terms
- Design of the community interventions
- Testing of the effectiveness of these interventions
- Analysis of the project results
The research resulted in both short-term and long-term successes, which we were key to delivering:
- the value of the ‘Connected Community’ concept as a compelling driver for collective behaviour, embracing both physical and emotional connections
- clear buy-in at the community level to reduce peak demand based on increased levels of energy literacy
- The final campaign ‘Big Switch Off’ event, resulting in an average reduction in peak electricity demand (6-7pm) of 10.6% across the selected substation feeders
- The importance of the ‘trusted messenger’ and best practice on message delivery
- The trial was so successful that a BAU model is now being designed to be used more widely across the various organisations involved
Our experience has shown that people are more willing to listen to clear, positive messaging to support environmental change if it is delivered by an messenger they trust such as a charity.