We have written a short evaluation report of the first few groups. Download it info sheet 3 – Evaluation. In summary; it’s a great project, and it really works. There are measurable benefits for the households that take part. The first few groups to complete in St Albans have found;
- an average reduction in household bills of £380 per year,
- an average reduction in carbon footprint of 0.8 tonnes per year,
- 96% of participants agree that they know what practical and effective action they can take to help the environment,
- 100% now feel connected to their local community, and
- 96% say the changes will last.
What participants say they like most:
“Meeting so many lovely people who live close by”
“The chance to talk about these things and meet new people who think the same”
“The ability to discover and share experienced in an atmosphere that built up community and allowed us to know our neighbours better”
“It was very easy and a great success socially. Thrilled at how easy it was to get a group together and that they kept coming!”
“Now I CAN be bothered” [to deal with all the recycling]
“It is more about just being aware of things, approaching things in a different way”
“an awareness of what I use, how I can think about saving more of it – and this compelling feeling of ‘what am I throwing away, noone can repair it; it’s pricked my conscience”
“It helps you have a sense of well-being and community; helps you appreciate the street a bit more”
“Hearing the views of others in the group and recognition of their efforts and difficulties in taking action. Reinforcing a sense of community.”
“doing things on a small scale involving neighbours works well”
“Facts and figures to back up changes – useful to justify changes with family.”
And what are people doing differently?:
The evaluation forms show that different households do different things, but everyone makes changes. Here are just some of the things people tell us they are doing after completing Streets.
- Installed energy efficient light bulbs.
- Draught proofing
- Less use of the central heating; turning the thermostat down a little and having the heating on for less of the day.
- Planning cooking better to make best use of the oven.
- Monitoring electricity usage.
- Monitoring water usage.
- Becoming more aware of what appliances and lights were left on.
- Installed a low-flow cistern.
- Getting a water meter fitted.
- Using washing up water on the garden.
- Using a shower timer.
- Buying a water butt.
- More recycling; making the effort to separate everything (even tearing the windows out of envelopes!)
- Buying food with less packaging.
- Trying hard to use the car less, and walk instead.
- Driving more fuel efficiently.
- Some of the group growing fruit and veg in one of the neighbour’s gardens.
- Buying organic food.
- Wasting less food; being less fussy about sell by dates and using the freezer to save food.
- Eating more vegetarian meals.
- Helped a neighbour to register for Freecycle.