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    Green Doctor Programme

    In an initiative aimed at reducing fuel poverty and encouraging more efficient use of resources in the home the Breyer Group has formed a partnership with Groundwork London and Southern Housing Group to deliver a Green Doctor Programme.

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Green Doctors are specially trained to provide advice to residents on ways to reduce home energy use. They can also install simple energy efficient products while in the residents home to help lower bills and reduce CO2 emissions. Our Green Doctors are typically specially trained Resident Liaison Officers. They all attended a certified course to gain their Green Doctor credentials. On site our Green Doctors visit Southern Housing Group and Newlon Housing Trust households along with our operatives with the purpose of addressing Green and environmental issues such as heating, lighting and water use, using a combination of technical and non technical measures.

Visits

The Green Doctors are currently visiting both Southern Housing Group and Newlon Housing Trust households as part of our contracts for maintenance.

Our Green Doctors have installed a number of small measures, such as radiator panels, energy saving light bulbs, water saving devices and draught proofing. They also provide advice, signpost residents to other services and encourage residents to make more environmentally friendly lifestyle choices. The water saving devices are provided by Thames Water, another Green Doctor partner.

Results

During the pilot scheme our Green Doctors installed measures such as radiator panels, draught proofing, light bulbs, power down plugs and water saving devices such as shower heads and save a flush. The majority of residents visited were female; more than one third of those visited were aged between 25-44, while 15% were 16-24 and 13% were 65 or over. Although the measure installed was not major, almost all residents explained that budgets and lack of know how would have prevented them installing them personally.

Measures

Installed During March Green Doctors fitted a total of 474 measures. The most popular measure was radiator panels of which a total of 341 were installed in 67 homes. The second most popular measure was the installation of energy light bulbs, 133 light bulbs were fitted in 62 homes. Green Doctors installed 81 power down devices in 65 properties and 178 water saving devices (save-a- flush and showerheads) in 62 properties.

CO2 Savings

A total saving of 13.43 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year has already been achieved by installing the measures.

Pledges

As well as advising residents on their energy use and installing efficiency measures, Green Doctors also ask residents to ‘pledge’ to change their energy consumption behaviour. Asking people to pledge to change their behaviour is an effective way of encouraging them to make small yet valuable changes to their lifestyle. During March 2011 the most popular pledge was to boil just enough water in the kettle, followed by drying clothes outside; to turn off electrical equipment rather than leaving it on standby; and to turn down the thermostat by 10 C. These small but important pledges have been more popular than larger pledges such as installing insulation which have significant cost implications. Furthermore, most residents did not own their own home and therefore did not have the authority to make certain changes to the property. The Pledges graph illustrates the variety of commitments made.

Challenges

Breyer Group and its partners recruited five Green Doctors who began visiting residents. More are currently being trained. Our main challenge is ensuring the Green Doctors spend enough quality time at each resident’s property. We are currently part way through a pilot project, meaning the Green Doctors have to adhere to the strict timing regime of the scheduled works. If a Breyer Group operative spends more than an hour in one property, then a Green Doctor can install measures effectively. If the operative is in the property for less than a hour and the measures are left for the householder to install the Green Doctors carry out follow up calls to ensure they are installed correctly.