Ambleside Action for a Future (AAFAF), established in late 2018, has been working hard on many fronts to achieve their ambition to get their community to net-zero carbon by 2030.
One of their sub-groups is the Warmer Homes group. Their focus is to help their neighbours to understand how they can reduce heat loss in their homes. This has multiple benefits – eliminating draughts and making homes more comfortable to live in, while also reducing energy usage, which saves both money and carbon emissions.
The group members collectively have a good level of knowledge about causes of home heat loss and what can be done about it. To supplement their knowledge, the Warmer Homes group has a very good relationship with CAfS, who can provide the next level of advice and support.
Developing the project
In 2020 the group started developing the idea of offering residents free thermal imaging surveys of their homes. A thermal camera can pick out colder spots on walls, ceilings and floors where heat is escaping to the outside. These surveys would be alongside simple tips around how to make improvements and advice about how to get further support from CAfS.
A quick survey of AAFAF’s 120 members showed that a considerable number (20 individuals) were interested in this kind of support. The next step was then to get a camera. AAFAF was successful in securing a total of £3,500 funding from South Lakeland District Council and Cumbria Community Foundation to buy a camera and associated training, which was later provided by CAfS.
The group hoped to undertake surveys in the winter of 2020/21, but unfortunately were prevented from doing so by Covid restrictions. Instead, they took the opportunity to have phone calls with the 20 AAFAF members who had expressed an interest. The purpose of the phone calls is for the surveyors to get some understanding of each property and any issues that the homeowner is concerned about. They take about 20 minutes and have become a standard part of the survey procedure
During September 2021 AAFAF engaged with the local community through a questionnaire and Climate Action Day to raise awareness about AAFAF’s many initiatives and to identify residents who wanted to get involved. As a result, an additional 20 people signed up for a home heat loss survey, and a further 7 have come forward since.