Following the Oxfordshire Open Eco-houses weekend in November 2007 we organised the Oxon Ideal Green Home Show on Thurs April 17th 2008 - an evening packed with advice, links and inspiration. This was a match- making opportunity for eco-renovators and service providers - from architects to material suppliers. See the report below for info.
The Ideal Green Home Show followed the success of the Oxfordshire Eco-houses Open Days held in November 2007. Over 1,000 visits to 18 eco-homes across the county demonstrated a rapidly growing interest by people in Oxfordshire in eco-renovation: "How do I do it, where do I go, who can I talk to.." was on everybody's mind.
Oxfordshire ClimateXChange and the Climate Outreach Information Network (COIN) organised an ‘Ideal Green Home Show' at Oxford Town Hall. Featuring 18 stalls of local Eco-renovation suppliers, presentations of home eco-renovation Case Studies presentations and Eco renovation ‘Action group' facilitation, it attracted more than 350 people over a period of three hours, bringing them together in an imaginative exchange of ideas and experiences. Oxford City Council supported the event financially.
The organisers wanted to showcase and magnify the vibrant spirit of local social enterprise and innovation in Oxfordshire.
Practitioners, businesses and community enterprises are pioneering eco-renovation pathways, and an increasing number of home owners are showing how it is possible to slash heating bills and make their homes warmer, brighter and more desirable.
"The second half of the 20th Century saw an explosion in DIY among home-owners. The 21st Century is going to be all about ‘DIG' - Do-it-Green. The Green Home Show will give tips on the substantial opportunities opening up - way beyond just changing a lightbulb or two" . Oxfordshire ClimateXchange
The 18 different suppliers ranged from architects and material suppliers to green technology installers and low carbon life advisors. The commercial stalls were complemented by organisations giving advice and info from Thames Valley Energy Centre (TVEC), Oxford City Council, COIN, Oxfordshire ClimateXchange, Brightwell Cum Sotwell community group who are conducting a thermal imaging study in their community, plus other eco-renovators on stalls giving advice, answering questions and relating their experiences.
The evening launched the draft version of the Oxfordshire Eco-renovation Directory.
Four different presentations showed the range of eco-renovation materials used to renovate different property styles: a Georgian terraced home, two 17th century cottages and a newly built house. The presentations were well attended and were a highlight for many attendees.
There was also space for visitors to take part in an action group to discuss and get involved in Oxfordshire wide Eco-renovation possibilities facilitated by George Marshall from COIN.
Feedback from visitors
60 visitors completed a questionnaire on the evening. When asked What would you recommend to stimulate demand and supply of eco-renovation in Oxfordshire? respondents identified the need for more widely available grants, clear information and more events, such as the Open Eco-houses and Ideal Green Home Shows.
All exhibitors who filled in a follow up questionnaire said that their reason to exhibit at the show had been met.
"It was a really positive event, and could well be worth repeating in other locations", "There was a great atmosphere",
"The Ideal Green Home is a good forum to continue with into the future. The event has helped us to focus our marketing strategy & to forge links with other consultants & companies . .... I wonder if there could be a similar 'Eco-renovation awareness' initiative touring schools"
"We need the same in other towns"
"Many thanks for organising such a useful evening; I really felt like I'd given some really useful info to several of the people I spoke to on the evening. The Ideal Green Home Show gave me the opportunity to talk to people who are seriously considering making sustainability based improvements to their homes. It was a really positive event, and could well be worth repeating in other locations."
"A lot of genuine interest - we ran out of literature! We need events like this in more towns - Banbury Bicester etc."
What we learnt
This evening demonstrated a clear interest in eco renovation, and the need for local information and experience sharing. We know from previous conversations and feedback, that making links with the appropriate eco-renovation professional for each individual project can be the hardest step to take.
We tried to offer a new approach to information sharing and service linking, which seemed to be successful for most visitors on that evening. The critique that stood out from feedback forms, was, that it was slightly overcrowded and lacking on quieter spaces for conversations. There was also an interest in specific services, which we couldn't fit into this evening, as we were fully booked out.
We are planning to deliver further events across the county, to highlight the services available locally, plus facilitating more in-depth workshops about specific techniques and application of eco-renovation.
We feel that we have made a big step forward in our local Eco-renovation community but need to continue working on a broader Network and improve the accessibility of an ever growing Eco-renovation business.
What happens next
A workshop series focusing on specific elements of eco-renovation,
Another Oxfordshire Open Eco-Homes event sin Sept 08, with specific emphasis on attracting the ‘unusual suspects' along for tailored talks.
District level Oxon Ideal Green Homes Shows, responding to the demand outlined above.
Like to know more?
Full information, plus materials to download, is available on www.ecovation.org.uk and
www.climatex.org. If you would like to run a similar event locally, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or
email@example.com / 01865 275 856.
Full information from www.ecovation.org.uk
6.40 - 7pm Lower Watts House presented by Liz Reason
8 - 8.20pm Countryside Cottage presented by Sally Harper
8.30 - 8.50pm A terraced Edwardian house presented by Gavin Killip