The Community Energy Efficiency Outreach Programme was funded by DECC in 2012 and carried out by Groundwork UK, a national regeneration charity. The evaluation of the project was undertaken by Databuild UK.
The CEEOP/Groundwork project was a community outreach programme to understand how community engagement, and outreach, can be effective in promoting energy efficiency measures in people’s homes. A number of community engagement techniques were tested in pilot areas, such as the use of community anchors, community events, doorstep engagement, cascading messages through networks using community champions and mobilising online communities. The 6 pilot areas were: Bridgend, Bristol, Cornwall, Leeds, Manchester and Milton Keynes. The pilot schemes in the six areas, and one online survey were also run alongside 6 ‘comparator’ areas, which were similar in many respects (e.g. housing type, demographic profile and energy efficiency measure offers) but did not receive outreach engagement. This was done to assess whether community outreach activities facilitate the uptake of energy efficiency measures in homes.
The results revealed that community engagement initiatives are effective when they focus on fewer, simpler steps and where advice is provided through a trusted, local source. In particular, if timescales for delivery of energy efficiency offers are short, schemes are more likely to succeed in securing interest and uptake if they are focussed on cost effective ‘simpler’ measures (such as cavity wall and loft insulation) and if there are a small number of partners involved in delivery. In general the most important drivers to uptake of energy efficiency offers appear to be local knowledge, trust and simple and available energy efficiency offer(s). But the report also highlights the importance of continuing to use engagement measures to retain householder’s interest before completion of energy efficiency offers, as a high number of drop outs can occur otherwise.