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Energy-Saving Project Draws Praise After Successful First Year

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The University of Worcester’s student-led Energize Worcester project continues to earn praise from both local and national figures as it nears the midway point of its two-year run.

The project, which is funded by the National Union of Students’ Green Fund, works in co-operation with students and landlords in Worcester to ensure that all students are ‘energy aware’ as they move off campus after their first year of study.

The first year of the initiative has seen a number of students in private rented homes supported with peer to peer help by professionally certified student Energy Advocates, as well as having achieved significant savings on students’ energy bill. 

Last month, representatives of the project met with Steve Egan, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the body responsible for providing the National Union of Students with the money to fund Energize Worcester and similar programmes across the country.

After visiting a Worcester student house which has benefited from the Energize Worcester project, and viewing a presentation on the scheme’s success thus far, Mr Egan said: “It’s great to meet with a group of people who are intent on making good things happen, rather than just talking about it.

“What I like about the project is how it focuses on the issues facing both students and landlords, and works on mutual benefits. You see students motivating and encouraging other students to benefit themselves and their communities.”

Mr Egan was also on hand to present the inaugural Energize Worcester Energy Saving Champion award to the student who has cut the most from their energy bill over the last year. The 2014 prize was handed to Anthony Ball, a History student who managed to save 56%.

A workstream of the project compares the situation for non-student houses of multiple occupation in the Arboretum area of the city.  Four students from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Massachusetts, are currently based at the University of Worcester to lead this work initially.

The students, Chas Frick, Alex Shoop, Nick Lemere, and Stefan Smith, recently met Lord Faulkner of Worcester, a Fellow of the University (pictured), who commended them on their work.

He said: “I’m delighted it’s proved possible to get students from WPI here, it’s something I have been hoping to do for a couple of years now. I’m sure they are having a great time and doing some very useful work.”

Peng Li, Energize Worcester Project Manager, added: “We were delighted to welcome Lord Faulkner and Steve Egan and to hear their thoughts on Energize Worcester as the first year of the project draws to a close.

“We hope that, during the next academic year, we can involve even more students in Energize Worcester so collectively we can achieve even more.”

Katy Boom the University’s Director of Environmental Sustainability, added: “This is a fantastic project for Worcester Students’ Union to lead on.  The learning from the first year is not only ploughed back in to a second year of the project in Worcester, but the team will also be working with Birmingham University and their Students’ Union where they are now recruiting 30 students to be energy advocates and assessors to run the project with their 500 student homes.”