Save Energy and Save Money

Forum 21 has a team of volunteers trained to City and Guilds standards waiting to carry out free home energy surveys for householders in West Somerset.  You can get free, independent information on grants and discounts and other suggestions on how to make your home warmer and cheaper to run, all for the cost of a phone call.

Lorna Scott of Forum 21 said,

“The service is quick, easy and professional.  A friendly, knowledgeable volunteer can survey your home in less than an hour and provide you with guidance and suggestions tailored to your specific needs.

“The surveyors can give you information about grants for insulation, heating and other improvements.  For some people these can be carried out free of charge. We are hoping that people will come forward and take advantage of the free surveys, especially with the recent fluctuations in fuel prices and the uncertain economic climate.”

The volunteers gained their qualifications last autumn with training grants from West Somerset District Council and the West Somerset Strategic Partnership (WSSP). They are now members of Forum 21’s energy saving team which carries out carbon reducing projects in West Somerset. With a grant from the district council, the team will have a presence at local events during the year – look out for us at village fetes and at the Dunster Show. It will carry out house to house visits in areas where fuel bills are least affordable, aiming to improve home insulation and reduce heat loss from homes.

West Somerset has one of the highest levels of fuel poverty in the country. This means people who have to spend more than 10% of their income on home heating, and it’s no surprise that the levels are high locally. 60% of West Somerset homes are built with solid walls which leak heat and are very expensive to insulate. And 60% of homes are ‘off gas’ (still the cheapest fuel, believe it or not) which means the householders have to use more expensive forms of heating – oil or electricity – to keep themselves warm. We want to do what we can to get local homes warmer, healthier and cheaper to live in.

Two other projects are under way: carrying out surveys of tourism businesses in Exmoor, funded by the National Park; and working on energy saving with three local schools, funded by the WSSP. In each case, the potential saving from more energy efficient buildings and activities is considerable.

The Forum team of volunteers have all passed police checks, have identity cards and are ready and waiting to get to work. They can bring you information on:

Grant funding or discounts

  • Loft and cavity wall insulation
  • New or replacement boilers
  • Installing or repairing central heating systems
  • Solar panels for heating domestic hot water
  • Other green energy grant funding
  • Draught proofing

Money saving tips

  • Tips on actions that cost little and save lots
  • Changing energy suppliers for lower fuel bills
  • How to make your central heating more efficient
  • Low energy-consuming electrical appliances
  • Meter reading and help understanding fuel bills

All this and free low energy lightbulbs too!