Major Funding Win for Home Retrofit Advice Services

South West consortium one of six successful bids for new government funding

Plymouth Energy Community and partners of the Far South West Retrofit Consortium (FSWRC), including Tamar Energy Community (TEC) are about to embark on an ambitious £1.4m project to design and test new methods of retrofit advice delivery across the South West region.

The consortium comprises six community energy organisations in partnership with Plymouth City Council and Devon County Council.

The £1.4m grant for this new project comes from the Local Energy Advice Demonstrator programme, which is led by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero working in partnership with the South West Net Zero Hub. This project is one of six funded across the South West and will run for two years.

The project will drive engagement with housing retrofit to improve energy efficiency resulting in lower bills, reduced emissions and improved occupant health and wellbeing. Three population groups have been identified that represent a broad spectrum of homeowners across the region who are either often overlooked or seldom reached by the current advice provision available. These are the digitally excluded, low-income households and owners of traditionally built properties.

TEC Director and Project lead, Kate Royston said; “TEC is excited to be part of this new project working with this experienced and established consortia, together with our partners at Dartmoor Energy, and our sister community energy organisation in the South Hams, South Dartmoor Community Energy. The project will provide much needed resource to enable us to explore and refine new approaches to delivering in-person advice and engaging communities in housing retrofit, this is something that we don’t have the capacity to undertake under normal circumstances.”

Central to this project will be a focus on how best to conduct in-person retrofit advice visits in people’s homes, with high quality resources, advisor training and follow on support services all contributing to the solution. An iterative design and testing cycle will explore innovations throughout the customer journey. At the end of the project  the findings will be shared with other retrofit service providers across the UK.

Jon Rattenbury, South West Net Zero Hub Programme Manager, said; “We are pleased to be able to award this funding on behalf of the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to six south west based groups that have shown a real appetite to support their communities to take action to save carbon and improve the energy efficiency of their homes. We look forward to working with these groups to share the learning from the pilot projects on providing tailored advice and developing the provision of advice to support as many people as possible.”

Justin Bear, PEC’s Project Lead for the Conssortium added; “This work is incredibly important as it addresses a number of important societal challenges – reducing regional emissions of greenhouse gases, improving living standards and occupant health and reducing bills at a time when many are struggling with the rise in the cost of living.”

Over the course of the project the consortium will aim to provide in-person advice to approximately 13,000 people from across Devon and Cornwall.

Dress smart, not pretty!

This current cold spell has been named the ‘Troll from Trondheim’; and on Radio 4 on Sunday a resident of Trondheim in Norway explained that the way to beat the chill is to ‘dress smart, not pretty’ to help keep you warm and cosy.

Dressing for the season was the norm before widespread adoption of central heating systems within homes. This is a practice which many seem to have forgotten or consider unnecessary.

It’s common practice in cold outdoor environments to ‘layer up’, and this is equally as important indoors as outdoors, particularly when it is very cold outside.

You may be surprised at how much more comfortable you feel with some additional layers.

Layering up your clothes

Start with thermal underwear: a long-sleeved thermal top and thermal leggings or long johns.

For your top half, ideally next a rollneck jumper or similar to keep the neck area cosy, followed by a jumper/hoody, then ideally a sleeveless vest top/gilet (zipped is good) to keep the body core extra warm. You can top off with a fleece jacket.

For your bottom half a pair of warm trousers (fleece is excellent); and if you’re still chilly, add an additional pair of trousers.

Feet, hands and head

Keep your feet, hands and head warm as well as your core.

Thick thermal socks (e.g. heat warmers) on top of your normal socks work well; and a pair of fingerless gloves will keep your hands warm whilst still enabling you to use them.

Top off with a warm hat like a beanie.

If you don’t have enough warm clothes or you’re concerned about keeping warm enough please get in touch with us at Tamar Energy Community on 0800-233-5414 or email

If you’re warm enough and not wearing a jumper indoors, we suggest you help the power grid which is struggling to meet demand at the moment, and your pocket, by turning it down and adding some layers!

You can download this article here

More about our Exhibitors

New Generation Energy – Renewable Energy Solutions

Designing, supplying, installing and maintaining bespoke renewable energy systems for the past nine years with an emphasis on customer satisfaction and an ethos of ongoing support and maintenance for our current and future client base.

Established in 2007 by Andrew Metcalf and based in the South West we have installed hundreds of renewable systems, from small photovoltaic arrays to large commercial biomass boilers and are MCS accredited for all our technologies.

Lendology cicLending decisions for people, by people

Lendology CIC disrupt traditional lending with our decisions powered by partnerships and people, enriching homes, and lives through affordable finance. 

Working in partnership with West Devon Borough Council, we lend council funds to homeowners for home repairs, improvements, renewable energy measures and to improve the energy efficiency of homes. 

Unlike other mainstream lenders, Lendology doesn’t use algorithms or credit scores. People make lending decisions for people.  They believe that everyone should have access to a home that is safe, warm, and suitable for their individual needs and works across the community to enable this, reduce fuel poverty and establish the link between health and homes.  If you are worried about the rising cost of energy, we recommend taking action now to ensure your central heating is working and that your home is as energy efficient as possible.

Lendology will be available until 14:00 on Sat. 12th November.

Lovely Savings – A Utility Warehouse Partner

Lovely Savings, a Discount Club helping families and small businesses save money on their essentials

Devon Wildlife Trust – Protecting wildlife for the future

Devon Wildlife Trust logo

Established over fifty years ago by a small group of volunteers, Devon Wildlife Trust is the only charity that exists to protect all wildlife in Devon and to safeguard Devon’s unique natural environment.

NEA – National Energy Action – Action for Warm Homes

From October, with the government’s price freeze in effect, National Energy Action predicts 6.7 million UK households will be in fuel poverty. It means they cannot afford to live in a warm, dry  and safe home. National Energy Action is the national charity working to end fuel poverty in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Find out more about the challenge we face, the difference we make, and the difference you can make.

Transition Tavistock – Working towards a sustainable future for Tavistock and District

Local travel as it could be?

Our meetings share views on how easy it is to use sustainable transport around the Tavistock area and to nearby towns – and ideas on how it could be better and more inclusive. Frequent, well-connected public transport in all directions; easy to walk, use a wheelchair or cycle to reach facilities; leading rather than lagging in the shift to low emission vehicles for both personal and business travel? What changes would you make?

We’re keen to involve individuals, groups and businesses who want to shape this vision for mobility, influence decisions and encourage low-carbon travel habits. Whether your concern is potholed pavements or diesel fumes, cycle safety or bus routes, get in touch on

Tavistock Neighbourhood Plan

Have your say on the future of the parish of Tavistock

A Neighbourhood Development Plan gives the residents of Tavistock and surrounding areas a say on how the community develops, how land will be used and how we can protect what’s important to us. We can address topics like affordable housing, community infrastructure, protecting green spaces and more.

Helping others through the energy crisis

Energy conversations

The energy crisis has encouraged more of us to think about energy and our usage, and the impact on our communities, businesses, and energy security in general. This growing interest is welcomed.

We encourage conversations amongst friends, family, neighbours and within the community to share knowledge and understanding; and importantly, as a way of checking in with others.

Concern for others

If you have concerns for someone within your community or close circle you can, with their permission, refer them to Tamar Energy Community (TEC) for an energy advice call or home visit.

Triggers for concern may include:

  • a cold, draughty home; in a poor state of repair; damp and mould
  • a householder struggling to afford daily essentials; living in one room to avoid heating the house; using room heaters instead of central heating

It can make a real difference to someone’s life if help can be offered and is welcomed.

Getting more involved

You may have an interest in volunteering and getting more involved in helping local people, including spreading the word. Support with social media, events and data management welcomed.

We can also offer community talks/drop-ins; or you may be interested in becoming a community energy champion.

Donating to Energy Crisis Funds

If you’re in a position to comfortably manage the increase in Energy bills this Winter, you may consider opting to donate your Energy Bill rebate to those in need.

An option is a donation through National Energy Action ( ).

If you would like your payment to go directly to residents of West Devon, you could donate to TEC’s crisis fund. This support is offered to the most vulnerable local residents and ensures that 100% of the donation goes directly to support people who are genuinely struggling. Find out more here:

To find out more or get in touch call in to see us at the Tamar Energy Fest on Nov 12th (Butchers’ Hall: 10:00-15:00).

Draught busting and glazing

It’s getting much cooler in the evenings now and you might be starting to feel any draughts you have in your home. A draft is usually a sign of inadequate insulation which allows cold air to enter a home while warm air will leave the same way.

On average 15-20% of the heat loss from a home will be as a result of draughts.

Some ventilation or airflow into a home is important. This is particularly true of rooms where high levels of damp air are generated such as bathrooms and kitchens. These should be ventilated to prevent the warm damp air collecting on colder walls and condensing which can result in damp and mould. Hydrostatic extraction fans work well in these areas. They are generally low powered and only come on when humidity levels are high.

Ventilation is also essential in rooms with open fires and open flues.

How to find draughts

A good way to start to find draughts in your home is to choose a cold breezy day, and walk around your home, holding the back of your hand up to the gaps around doors, windows, light fittings, your letterbox, loft hatches and cat flaps. External doors are often a priority; and you may also find draughts coming between the wall and the window/door frame, and windowsills. Chimneys can also be a source of draughts if not in use.

Dealing with draughts

There are different ways of dealing with draughts, many of which can be low cost and DIY. These include letter box brushes, door brushes for the bottom of doors and draught strips for around windows and doors.

Chimney balloons/sheep can be used for chimneys but be sure to follow the instructions and remember they are there.

Draughtex can be a good solution for filling in the gaps between floorboards and can be easily removed if needed:

A good reference is a guide from the Centre of Sustainable Energy:

Glazed areas and insulation

The glazed areas of your home (windows and doors) can be a source of heat loss, particularly if single glazed, or where double glazing is old or has failed (e.g. you have misting between the glazing layers).

Secondary glazing can be less expensive than replacing your existing glazing. There are a number of options which include:

  • Glazing film – a sort of cling film attached to the window which needs to be reapplied each winter
  • A sheet of Perspex material attached to the inside of the window. Designed well it can be reused each year. Magnaglaze is a version of this. It uses magnetic strips attached to the window frame, and strips attached to a sheet of Perspex cut to size. This allows the secondary glazing to be removed easily.
  • A more expensive solution is to have an internal window fitted. This can be a solution in situations such as listed properties where double/triple glazing is not favoured.

Heavy curtains and thermal blinds can also help keep the heat in but remember not to let them cover the radiator.

Sources of information

There are a number of different sources of information if you want to find out more including:

Helping our Purses and the Grid

You may have heard discussion about the potential for energy blackouts and whether householders and businesses should be encouraged to ‘turn it down’ or ‘shift demand’.

The likelihood of blackouts is, we understand, remote.

The opportunity for turning down and/or shifting demand is real, considerable and can save you money.

One of the causes of the energy crisis is increasing global demand for energy and a restricted supply of gas. This impacts us here in the UK because our gas fuelled power stations get switched on and/or turned up to help generate enough power to meet times of peak demand; and this power is the most expensive.

One way of helping reduce this impact is if we all do what we can to reduce our demand for power at peak times by doing things differently. This should also save you money. A “win-win” outcome!

Opportunities within the household

The peak period for power use is between 16:00 and 20:00. This is when many households come back to the home and/or are thinking about an evening meal, household tasks and settling down for the evening.

Whenever you can, consider how you might be able to do things differently!

Slow cookers and microwaves rather than ovens and hobs

There are several options for cooking food using appliances with a lower power rating. These include microwaves and slow cookers. They can also save you time and will save you money. For example preparing a meal in a slow cooker and/or using a microwave for cooking food could cost a tenth of using the hob or the oven. This really adds up over a week and a month.

Washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers etc.

We would encourage those of you who can, not to use household appliances such as washing machines and tumble dryers during the peak periods, but at other times of the day.

Additional incentives

The National Grid is working with energy suppliers to roll out a scheme called the Demand Flexibility Service. This will enable households with a smart meter to take part in a national turn down during peak hours. We understand that this will take place on twelve occasions between November and March, with an incentive payment of £100 for households who take part.

Octopus Energy and Ovo Energy have now announced their schemes. They are being marketed as ‘Saving Sessions’ and ‘Power Move’ respectively. Other energy suppliers are expected to follow.

The importance of smart meters

These initiatives emphasise the importance of having a smart meter installed. Your smart meter should help you better understand your usage through your In-Home-Display monitor; and can also enable you to participate in schemes such as the Demand Flexibility Service.

Find out more?

If you’d like to find out more about reducing/switching your demand check out the links in this article and below. You are also welcome to come along to the Okehampton Energy & Retrofit Fair on Oct 22nd 2022 (Ockment Centre: 10:00-14:00) or Tamar Energy Fest on Nov 12th 2022 (Butchers’ Hall: 10:00-15:00).

Useful links and further information

There is further information about plans from the National Grid here. Please note that this is aimed at organisations within the power supply industry and contains a number of technical terms.

Tamar Energy Community was a partner in a National Grid project pre-Covid called Open LV. This was also looking at the levels of household energy demand through the day, and the opportunities for reducing this. There is more information about this project here: The Power in Your Hands – OpenLV.

The Energy Price Guarantee and what this means for you

On Thursday 8th September, Liz Truss announced the government’s new Energy Price Guarantee – new support for households and businesses replacing the Energy Price Cap mechanism.

What does this mean for households?

The Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) will mean that an average household should pay no more than £2,500 a year on their energy bills, with effect from 1st October 2022. The EPG will be in place for two years.

Households will also receive the previously announced £400 from the Energy Bills Support Scheme, paid in 6 instalments, as a credit on your electricity bill, from October.

The most vulnerable households can also receive ‘Cost of Living’ payments, already announced. These include the Cost of living payment for those on low income benefits and tax credits (£650), Disability Cost of Living Payment (£150) and Pensioner Cost of Living Payment (£300 on top of the Winter Fuel Payments)

How will the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) be applied to your energy bills

The EPG limits the amount you can be charged per unit of gas and electricity. Your actual bill/payment will be based on the amount of energy you use and the unit price as well as the standing charge.

For households on a pre-payment meter, the EPG will be applied to the rate you pay on your meter for each unit of electricity.

If you’re on a standard variable tariff, the average unit price for dual fuel customers paying by direct debit will be limited to 34.0p/kWh for electricity and 10.3p/kWh for gas, inclusive of VAT, from 1st October. This rate may be higher if you’re not dual-fuel or have different payment terms.

If you’re on a fixed tariff which is at a higher rate caused by recent energy price rises, we understand your unit prices will be reduced by your energy supplier.

Whatever your tariff, your energy supplier will automatically adjust your rates. You don’t need to apply for this, and don’t need to contact your energy supplier.

Households outside of the scheme

If you are not connected to the gas or electricity grids, and don’t have a standard gas and/or electricity contract the government has said you will be no worse off and will receive comparative support through a discretionary fund (to be announced).

What does the Energy Price Guarantee mean for businesses?

A six-month scheme is being introduced for businesses and other non-domestic energy users which will be “offering support as is being provided for consumers”; and following the initial six-months “ongoing focused support” will be provided “for vulnerable industries”.

We’re told that further details on how this will work will be published shortly.

Tamar Energy Community, the Tavistock Times, West Devon Borough Council and Citizens Advice are cooperating to bring you weekly articles on the cost-of-living crisis.

Our autumn energy advice and retrofit programme

Are you interested in energy saving and improving the energy efficiency of your home or business?

Come along to one of our events and have a chat …

You may be thinking about options for saving energy and improving the energy efficiency of your home (retrofitting), but not sure where to start.

Here at Tamar Energy Community we’d like to see what we can do to help. We’ve arranged a number of events to meet you and have a chat, with information stands to browse.

We’re kicking off in Great Big Green Week with an information display in Tavistock Library, available from Sat. 24th September through to Sat. 1st October. You can also find us on the 24th Sept at Tavistock Farmers Market (tbc) and the Okehampton Coffee Morning.

We’re going online on Fri. 30th Sep (19:00) with a discussion about retrofitting your home (or business) in practice. You can book via Eventbrite. Here’s the link:

Our first Energy and Retrofit Fair in Okehampton will be at the Ockment Centre on Sat. 22nd October (10:00-14:00). You can find out more here: ; and our annual Tamar Energy Fest will be at Butchers’ Hall in Tavistock on Sat. 12th November (10:00-15:00). You can find out more here:

Do come along!

If you would like to host our information display in a community space local to you, get in touch and we’ll see what we can arrange. Email

Join us as a Home Energy Advisor in our Energy Advice Team

Join us as a Home Energy Advisor in our Energy Advice Team

Hourly rate £15 –  Flexible working  –  1 year fixed term contract (Self Employed)  

We’re looking for a Home Energy Advisor to join our Energy Advice Team.

Looking for a new role?

Why not help to deliver grass roots action on the journey to Net Zero in West Devon, reduce fuel poverty and address the climate emergency.

Interested? Apply by Sun. March 20th 2022.

Read on here …

Great Big Green Week 2021

Great Big Green Week 2021

Great Big Green Week is all about local events taking place across the country as part of a national week to raise the profile of climate change and nature. Importantly, it’s to show why it is relevant to our community and to celebrate our local activity.

Across West Devon and the Tamar Valley we’re working with the West Devon Climate Forum, WDBC, Transition Tavistock, Tavistock Library and others to encourage individuals and communities to take part.

Moths to a Flame

As a unifying theme for Great Big Green Week in the Tamar Valley and West Devon, Art & Energy Collective, supported by Tamar Energy Community, invite groups to join in their inspiring Moths to a Flame project.

This involves hosting moth-making events or mini-installations where people can hang moths they’ve made (from milk bottles – instructions here!), before or during the week.

The installations will be collected up, during the first week in October, in plenty of time to be taken to Glasgow for a mass participation artwork to the COP26 climate summit. When you’re making your moths you can also record your messages and these will be shared online.

There are two online moth making sessions planned over the next few weeks, and subject to demand more could be added. It may be possible to arrange a session for specific groups as well subject to availability of team.

Once you’ve made your moths as a community, come together and hang them somewhere for everyone to see as part of a mini-installation.

On Saturday Sept. 18th we’ll be touring the area looking at your mini-installations and having conversations with you.

To let us know about your plans, get involved, find out more, seek support, offer help … please email

This is an enjoyable opportunity for people to come together. We hope this can also provide a stepping stone to developing collective action to combat climate change across the area.

Other TEC Events during the week

The first of our evening supper talks will be on Thu. 23rd Sept at 19:00. The topic will be the importance of Whole House Retrofit. This first event will be via Zoom: ‘Retrofitting your home. What’s it all about?’. You can register here.

Meet us at Bedford Square, Tavistock on Saturday 25th September. We’ll be at the Farmers Market and look forward to discussing whole house retrofit with you between 09:00 and 14:00.

More events …

Transition Tavistock and Tavistock Library are planning a programme of displays and activities as well.

If you have an event, or ideas for an event please get in touch (see below) and/or sign up to get your own event on the map – anything from an open garden to a film showing. If your event is in West Devon, pick out “West Devon Green Week” from the drop-down list of area events to link to.

Transition Tavistock is aiming to pull together local publicity for Great Big Green Week activities in the Tavistock area. If you are running one, let us know on info[AT] by 6th September 2021, as well as listing it on the national site.