Thursday, 19 September 2013
The University of Worcester Students' Union has won funding from the National Union of Students (NUS) to implement its innovative project 'Energize Worcester' to tackle poor energy efficiency in private student accommodation.
The transformative sustainability project will build on a previous successful pilot, where local landlords and students were provided with practical skills and knowledge in energy efficiency and access to Green Deal energy efficiency assessments.
The new scheme adds a behaviour change element to the project. Students will be encouraged to use less energy by special software and house-specific information. Students will be trained to become energy assessors and provide home visits to encourage occupants to use their energy wisely and be shown how to set up their boiler controls.
The NUS is providing Worcester Students’ Union with the funding required for the first two years of the project’s delivery, with long term legacy being built into the project to ensure that its positive impact keeps expanding over the coming years.
Initially, the two-year plan has set ambitious energy reduction targets of 8% in Year 1 and 10% in Year 2.
Worcester Students’ Union President, Kynton Swingle, said: “We’re delighted to have been given the funding for this exciting project.
“Energize Worcester will not only benefit the students involved in the delivery of the project in terms of experience and employability, but will also save students money in the long run through encouraging landlords to make their properties more energy efficient and, in turn, saving them money on their utility bills.”
The project will be run in partnership with Transition Worcester, a group of local residents who are committed to working with local communities, organisations and local Government to help develop positive sustainability solutions.
Non-student shared housing is also traditionally characterised by being difficult and costly to heat. With the volunteer support this other significant contributor to Worcester’s carbon emissions will also get advice and support, helping to reach the carbon reduction targets set in the county.
The group’s Chairman, Adam Scott, says: “The Energize Worcester project fits in extremely well with our approach to local energy issues – Transition Worcester are taking a similar approach to neighbourhood action among local residents.
“The University of Worcester and the Students’ Union has had a really positive influence on Worcester over the last decade or so, and I am sure that this project will be a further great example of how they work in the local community.”
Katy Boom, Director of Environmental Sustainability at the University added: “This is a really exciting opportunity for our students to have a lasting legacy on housing in Worcester, and to change the habits of students as they begin to live independently.”
The funding award is from the NUS’s ‘Student Green Fund’, a £5m funding pot which aims to promote sustainability projects in universities across the country, whilst engaging 50,000 students nationally, and embedding sustainability into the core purpose of higher education across England.