43 houses in Knowle West and 57 flats in central Bristol took part in the project from April 2012 until May 2013.
Equipment was installed in 100 homes to monitor electricity and gas with data sent through a wireless router. Participants were given the latest touch screen Toshiba tablet so they could view their electricity and gas usage online every hour through an exciting, visual website developed by artist Dane Watkins. They could also monitor up to five appliances such as a kettle, washing machine or television, and track what they were spending. A number of tenants who were not online were also given free internet for a year so they could take part in the project.
KWMC Director Carolyn Hassan described the 3e Houses as “part of Bristol’s pledge to get more people digitally engaged as well as a way of helping to tackle fuel poverty and help people to live more sustainably.”
Participants living in Knowle West came to workshops run by KWMC to learn how to use the tablets and website and share energy-saving tips. Support was also given to participants through phone calls and visits to homes if needed, as well as visits from technical staff if equipment was not working or offline.
We produced a Best Practice Guide with tips, pitfalls and lessons learnt to help others looking to run similar energy projects in the future.
3e Houses was run by Knowle West Media Centre with partners Bristol City Council, Toshiba Research Europe Ltd (TREL) and IP Performance.
“British Gas were going to put my electricity bill up by £6 a month… because I could prove I had used less they kept it the same and even put my gas bill down by £6 a month!” Kirstine
“I only fill my kettle up with as much as I need now, so I’m using less energy.” Joan
“The main thing has been finding out how much electricity my sons use in their rooms, with the X box and laptop left on as well as the TV and stereo – and how much it costs. It has made them cut back and they don’t leave things on standby now.” Stephen
“During the winter I used to put £25 a week in the electric – now I put £20 a week.” Lisa