There is an increasingly clear need to reduce carbon emissions, including in the housing sector. A large share of the electricity produced in Britain comes from coal fired power plants (28.2 % of the total electricity generation in the second quarter of 2014) is thus a contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. The UK government has set a target of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050. The current trajectory in energy savings is not sufficient to achieve that target, which means that additional solutions are required.
Pragmatic and cost effective solutions can help residents save money whilst reducing the carbon footprint. A software tool for information sharing developed by Relish, located in the United Kingdom, aims to show residents that small changes in everyday life can significantly reduce energy use and energy bills. It offers advice and solutions for sustainable living for the homeowner. Relish has been championed by the Homes and Communities Agency as well as key individuals such as Tim Loughton MP. The project was initiated by Worthing Homes, working with Faithorn Farrell Timms (FFT) and Rydon. The education program has been fully financed by Worthing homes (private equity funding for development, demonstration and commercial exploitation) and tested in pilot projects that focused on the benefits for residents, such as involvement of the entire family as well as raising awareness on how they affect program outcomes. The pilot project was divided into two phases: Phase 1 tested outcomes in a small sample size comparing the benefits of education and low cost works; phase 2 applied to those lessons in a larger scale program through the whole supply chain. Further work is being developed on phase 3 and the Relish Smartwire.
Economic, social and environmental factors can be positively affected. The pilot project reduced energy bills and carbon emissions by 18-29% whilst maintaining a comfortable living environment, with minimal investment.
Why did it work?
The program increases economic, social and environmental standards for the residents, thus supporting a sustainable lifestyle. What differentiates Relish sustainable energy program from others is its ease of use, which makes it accessible to a broad population.
Since the program has been proven to work in its final form under expected conditions, the innovation is estimated to be 8 on the TRL scale