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!