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Setting a good example? Why we decided to test the energy efficiency of Britain’s biggest soap homes.

Last week I found myself on Sky News talking about the energy efficiency of some of the most famous properties in the country. However, these were no normal buildings – they were the houses, flats and cottages inhabited by the fictional residents of EastEnders, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and Emmerdale.

It all started when we decided to carry out virtual Green Deal assessments on the homes of Britain’s best-known soap characters – revealing whether legends like EastEnders’ Dot Branning or Hollyoaks’ Tony Hutchinson are living in warm, cosy homes, or inefficient, draughty ones.

Why did we decide to do this? Well, over recent months there has been much debate about the cost of living, especially the impact that rising energy bills are having on household budgets. But for many people energy costs – and the factors that make our bills go up and down – can be a bit of a mystery, and that’s why this Big Energy Saving Week we decided to try something a little different!

Having completed over 1,000 Green Deal Assessments across London, we at TheGreenAge have come across many households who (despite being aware of the issues) have no real understanding of how to improve their home’s energy efficiency or what their options are.

That’s what this project was all about: making energy efficiency a more accessible topic by applying it to something fun and popular – soap operas. Every day, millions of people tune in to their favourite soaps on TV, so by asking them to look at each home in a different light we hoped to inspire them to think about how the Green Deal could work for them.

We started off by conducting virtual Green Deal Assessments on each home – using pictures to identify the property type and layout and then speaking to super fans about the behaviour of its residents! Using this information, we were able to put together an accurate picture of how each home worked – identifying where energy would be lost and which Green Deal improvements would make the property more efficient.

Take EastEnders’ Dot Branning, for example. She lives in a draughty Victorian terrace property on Albert Square with an ancient boiler – wasting hundreds of pounds extra a year on her heating bills. But by showing how Dot could use the Green Deal to improve her home (as well as highlighting that she could access the types of financial support available to vulnerable people) we wanted to encourage others living in similar situations to find out how the Green Deal could work for them

Our assessments predictably revealed that soap homes suffer from the same energy issues as most properties in the UK. In fact, homes in the UK are some of the least efficient in Europe and while these soap homes may be fictional, the heating dramas revealed are not.

The core message we wanted to get across is that booking a Green Deal Assessment for your property is a great starting point – with an accredited expert identifying issues and recommending improvements that will really make a difference to your living experience, as well as to your bills!

4 Responses to “Setting a good example? Why we decided to test the energy efficiency of Britain’s biggest soap homes.”

  1. Peter Bates says:

    What a great idea to try to engage with people. I see that there has also been a “Green Deal with it” billboard advert appear on Eastenders. Now we need need a TV series with a games show format – on energy saving – to further popularise and spread the word. I designed a bried about 18 months ago. Any TV company interested in taking up the challenge??

  2. Angus says:

    I have tried to get 5 separate local Green Deal assessors to come and visit my house. Only only one occasion have I received an email reply and that was to say that they were so busy I would have to contact them again in a couiple of months time.

    I thought my luck was in when I was cold called by a company claiming to be registred for the Green Deal – they explained that the assessment would cost £300 but this was refunded twice by the grant. On digging deeper they decided that I was not suitable for a green deal and put the phone down on me.

    I don’t want choice I want a single number that I can phone and know that I will get a qualified Green Deal assessor to come and visit my house and explain the options to me.

    The whole green deal process seems a lot more complicated than it needs to be.

    It is an important part of the governments energy policy and is essential if we want to meet our green targets.

  3. Steve says:

    Don’t you think it would be a good idea to help real people make their homes more energy efficient rather than effectively pulling the plug on ECO for a political expedient?

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