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Stay warm for Less – an energy booklet for everyone 

This week’s blogpost is brought to you by local and regular volunteer Judith Leary-Joyce, who shares how her ‘Stay Warm for Less’ booklet came to be shared from Southampton to Sheffield!

Winter is always tough but the winter of 2022 was a shocker. Energy bills rising at a great rate, weather unpredictable, cost going through the roof. Not to mention the inevitable increase in carbon emissions as the months move on. 

Sharing good food and nurturing good ideas

I had the idea of collecting energy hacks for the home while volunteering at St Albans Community Pantry. We gather ‘waste’ food from local supermarkets, separate the good quality from the poor and box it up for people in need. It’s a brilliant initiative on a number of levels: less food to land fill, good use of the energy involved in growing and transporting the food, not to mention answering a need for those with empty cupboards. Anything surplus to the food parcels is then made available to the local community too. It’s great to be part of something so positive but also heart breaking that we need it.

But food is just one problem

When families struggle to pay for food, it’s inevitable that other areas of life will also feel the pinch. Last year, the cost of energy was top of the list for almost everyone. 

I’d seen articles online and the Energy Efficiency information on Sustainable St Albans’ site too. With top 10 energy saving hacks; 5 ways to save energy at home, reduce your energy usage this winter – they were everywhere. Looking at the top 5 would be a great help, but what if number 6 was the one you needed?

Sitting at my laptop, I began surfing to see what I could find. Having just written my book – Beginner’s Guide to Eco Renovation – I was still thinking in chapters, footnotes and indexes. So why not do it again? 

I imagined a small booklet going out with the food boxes. Great start, but it soon became clear that this was a resource loads of people would find useful.  

From just a few pages at the outset, it ended up with 10 small chapters covering everything from windows and doors to general living hacks. 

Send it out far and wide

Since I’d ‘pinched’ all the ideas from the web, I claim no ownership or copyright, so it was a no brainer to make the booklet free to anyone who wanted it.  The Stay Warm for Less booklet can be downloaded from this website and my own blog too, with no requirement to sign up. Just click, download and it’s yours. 

The booklet is now being shared by local councils including St Albans, but also further afield in Sheffield and Southampton. The Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Trussell Trust are also distributing it to their clients. If you know anywhere else where it could be useful, pass it on. 

Getting the message out

Everyone who borrows our Thermal Imaging Camera is offered a printed copy of the booklet courtesy of Sustainable St Albans. As a member of the Thermal Imaging Camera team, I’ve had many a doorstep conversation about the weak spots highlighted by the camera. Every draught and cold bridge shows up as bright blue on the screen, so the booklet provides plenty of ideas for action. I’m so pleased that the ideas are being shared with people keen to take action and reduce their carbon emissions as well as their energy bills. 

I’ve also had many lovely conversations at the regular Sustainability Markets on Harpenden Common about energy usage and the climate crisis. Being able to give something tangible that can help improve the state of the home feels so positive.  And the look of delight when people know they’re not being asked for anything in return is magic. 

So, thanks to SSA for sharing and printing the booklet. Thanks to everyone who’s passed the link on. Thanks to all the different contributors on the web. We did something good! 

Please join us 

Use the booklet yourself and make your home more comfortable. 

Pass on the link – to individuals and any group that would like to make it available to their people: churches, schools, surgeries, interest groups, climate groups, councils, CAB’s – anywhere you can think of. Let’s spread the word for the sake of individuals and the earth. 

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