The Quest to find Power NI’s energy saving group continues…

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The aim of Quest is to increase energy awareness amongst communities in Northern Ireland with the six chosen groups; Claudy Rural Development, Cloughmills Community Action Team, Newcastle Yacht Club, Castlewellan Futures, Lakeland Community Care (Fermanagh) and Focus on Family (Coleraine).

Launched in June 2013, Power NI began their latest energy saving project, Quest, as a follow up to the award winning BIG Energy Saving Challenge. The bespoke, ten-step competition, comprises of six carefully community groups from across Northern Ireland competing to become Power NI’s energy saving champions.

The aim of Quest is to increase energy awareness amongst communities in Northern Ireland with the six chosen groups; Claudy Rural Development, Cloughmills Community Action Team, Newcastle Yacht Club, Castlewellan Futures, Lakeland Community Care (Fermanagh) and Focus on Family (Coleraine).

Almost a year later, how successful has Quest been and how are the groups performing?

All six groups still remain in the competition, and to date have made many positive steps towards becoming more energy efficient. The groups have all completed the first three stages of Quest. The first of these tasks was to complete an initial community meeting, which allowed the groups to meet with their own specific Power NI mentors and receive information on the Quest project. The second stage required the groups to source 100 Power NI free online home energy checks. This provided homeowners with a personalised report on their homes, and helped identify how they could reduce their energy costs.

At stage three, Quest required the six groups to source 20 homes in their area which were eligible to receive free insulation, funded by the Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Programme (NISEP). This package contained loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, a hot water tank jacket and energy saving light bulbs, which helped the homes in the community benefit from warmer homes.

The fourth stage has involved the groups attending an energy efficiency workshop, developed in conjunction with Power NI and National Energy Action (NEA). Currently, five of the six groups have passed through this stage. The members who attended the workshop now have the opportunity to pass their energy saving knowledge onto other members of their community which will spread the energy efficiency message.

Two of the groups, namely Claudy Rural Development and Lakeland Community Care have progressed to the sixth step of working with local businesses in their area to help reduce their energy costs. The remaining groups are currently tasked with sourcing 30 subsidised boiler services from Power NI. These boiler services will help improve the efficiency of the boilers, and again help homeowners save money on their fuel costs.

Since the from the launch of Quest, it’s clear that Power NI’s Quest programme is making a real difference to local communities throughout Northern Ireland by educating residents on the means and benefits of energy efficiency.

Power NI’s project coordinator, Neil Coleman is delighted with the progress made so far. Commenting on the success to date; Neil said; "Last year, we set out to help local people become more energy efficient and save money in their homes. By educating people on the ground and within communities, we can help promote energy saving measures they can take to cut costs; it is enormously rewarding to see how local people across all of the groups are embracing energy efficiency."