ESRC – Energy and Communities Collaborative Venture – The role of community-based initiatives in energy saving

‘A 4 year year study to assess the impact of community greening groups on a roll out program insulation upgrades in privately owned housing’


The aims of this collaborative study between researchers of the School of Social Sciences and Civil & Environmental Engineering are as follows:

Examine whether community action on climate change and energy security issues is likely to achieve significant energy savings through encouraging behaviour change and the establishment of new social practices.

Examine the household energy savings from practically achievable improvements in the thermal performance of existing dwellings, taking into account both direct and indirect rebound effects.

Explore the conditions required for successful community intervention on energy security and climate change issues, across a range of initiatives and contexts.

Inform policy on climate change and energy security, including schemes to upgrade the UK housing stock motivated by government carbon reduction targets as well as third sector relationship strategies. Relevant bodies include government departments such as DEFRA, DECC, CLG and the Office of the Third Sector as well as related agencies such as the Energy Saving Trust.

Inform the work of community initiatives and third sector organisations working towards transition to a low carbon economy and society. Relevant initiatives include the Transition Towns movement, greening groups, environmental charity and campaign groups.

Research Team

The project is led by Prof. Graham Smith, School of Social Sciences, University of Westminster.

Research Investigators:

Research Staff:

AlertMe Troubleshooting

We are using Alertme hardware to monitor the energy consumption in houses in this study. On occasion the hardware may “get stuck” and require resetting. This may be caused by a number of things such as an unreliable broadband connection or a router which drops its connection from time to time.

We have produced Adobe Acrodbat pdf help files to enable householders to fix common AlertMe faults:

1) How to reset an AlertMe hub. Diagnosis – it is glowing red!

2) I cannot see some of the sensors in my AlertMe system – what to do?