An innovative Government scheme to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions is looking for Community Ambassadors for events in and around Birmingham to introduce locals to the benefits of the Government's money-saving Green Deal initiative.
Representatives of Birmingham Energy Savers (BES) - a partnership between Birmingham City Council and Carillion Energy Services - will be present at a series of public meetings and events in a quest to add to the 2,300 BES customers that are on the verge of accessing cheaper energy bills.
BES is offering energy assessments across the city to discover which improvements - like replacing old boilers and insulating walls and lofts - could help customers make savings. The work would be done as part of the Green Deal, so the cost of the improvements can be repaid over time in instalments via electricity bills. This year, BES has completed over 570 energy assessments and made improvements to 83 homes, 480 high rise flats and 10 schools/ community centres.
Local community engagement has been a key part of BES' activities, working with over 500 faith, social and community groups to inform the Birmingham public of the availability of assessments as the first step to potential savings.
BES' Community Engagement Manager, Natiesh Marshall, said: "In these tough economic times, it is great for us to offer the chance for people to make large savings on their energy bills. For example, replacing an old boiler could save up to £310 per year and wall insulation could save as much as £490 annually."
Student Dave Taylor of Northfield (pictured right), whose loft, external walls and interior doors were insulated, said, "My life was once controlled by the coldness of my flat. I used to spend so much time at libraries because it was so cold and I couldn't afford to spend too much money on bills. Now I can be at home more because it is so warm and I don't always need to have the heating on like before! My winter heating bills have been cut by nearly 50%."
Pamela from south Birmingham is another happy BES customer: Living on a tight budget as a full-time carer in a three-bedroomed, end terraced house, she said: "We had external wall insulation and my winter gas bill was less than two-thirds what it used to be! Our house is so warm in winter that we don't need to have the heating on all day. Now the gas company owes us money!"
BES is now looking to enlist Community Ambassadors to relay its money and carbon-saving messages to their network of friends, colleagues and organisations.
Natiesh said: "We have taken out advertising in newspapers and on buses, and you can access us via Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Still, it is important also to communicate through face-to-face engagement through trusted networks. We are keen to hear from anyone who would like to know more about working with us or arranging for us to visit their organisation. Positions are voluntary but we will provide training if required and reimburse agreed expenses."
To book an assessment or get more information about being a Community Ambassador, call 0800 917 5772 or email BirminghamEnergySavers@carillionplc.com and quote 'Save.'