‘Transition Together’, the street-by-street behaviour change programme developed by Transition Town Totnes and now being piloted in 10 other communities, has just completed analysing the data that has come back from the first 4 groups, comprising 32 households in Totnes. They have completed all 7 of the sessions set out in the workbook, and the data offers a fascinating first look at whether the process works or not. The results from the other 31 groups currently underway are expected this Autumn. Here, Fiona Ward of Transition Together shares the results that have emerged.

Carbon and financial savings so far

Total carbon savings pa: 38.9 tonnes

Total financial savings pa: £19,236

Average carbon savings per household pa: 1.2 tonnes

Average financial savings per household pa: £601

Projection – by the time all 35 groups or 278 households have completed the programme by end of Round 2 in March 2011:

Estimated total carbon savings pa: 338 tonnes

Estimated total financial savings pa: £167,109

One of the Bridge Road Transition Together group’s meetings.

The carbon conversion ratings used have all been approved by CRED at the University of East Anglia (the guys behind the gov’s Act on Co2 carbon measures) and are conservative. We have not been able to apply credible carbon and financial savings to all actions therefore the actual results will likely be higher than reported here, and account mostly for home energy and water use savings.

This also doesn’t take into account that the household will likely take on more of the carbon saving actions in the workbook once the ‘official’ T-Tog programme has ended – e.g. some of the groups are going round a 2nd time off their own initiative, and we are not tracking these additional savings. However, some of the actions are of course highly variable in savings, and we are more confident in some measures than others.

Numbers and types of actions

On average each households has undertaken 8 actions from the workbook (these are the only actions that we count in the figures above). They state they had already done, before starting T-Tog, 17 of the workbook actions and that they plan to do 2 more actions.

Top 5 most popular ‘new’ actions:

  • Know how much energy you are using (monitor your usage in your home)
  • Be a real turn off (always turn things off at the wall when not in use)
  • Control your heat (know how to use your heating system and thermostat)
  • Know how much you are using (monitor your water use at home)
  • Buy local & seasonal foods

Bottom 3 least popular ‘new’ actions:

  • Use car clubs
  • Get on your bike – cycle don’t drive (tho this is highest ‘plan to do this’ item)
  • Loft insulation (most have already done it)

Top 3 ‘already done’ actions:

  • Recycle (food, glass, plastics, tins…everything!)
  • Washing clothes (full loads, low temps, wear clothes longer)
  • Minimise food waste

Top 3 ’I plan to do this’ actions:

  • Get on your bike – cycle don’t drive
  • Draught proofing
  • Grow your own

Qualitative feedback The 5 (of 10) measures on which we show most impact are:

  • I feel well informed about peak oil and climate change.
  • I understand how these 2 issues affect me, my family, my local community, and the planet.
  • I know what practical, effective actions I can take to reduce the potential impacts on me/others.
  • I’m aware there are simple, easy things I can do to reduce household costs – and I know how to do them.
  • I feel positive about the future.

It is fascinating to note that from just the first 4 groups that have been assessed, total savings have been £19,236, pretty much what it took to develop and pilot Transition Together. Given that it is estimated that by the time the 35 initial groups have completed the programme, total savings are projected to be £167,109, it is an impressive return on investment. The Transition Streets project, which builds off the Transition Together project is now at the stage of installing PV arrays across Totnes, and during August the town’s Civic Hall will have its roof clad in PV, with a launch event in September.

For more information on Transition Together, or running the programme in your community, contact the T-Tog team….