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Gabby Mallett's picture

Superhomes Newsletter No5

Almost as soon as I mentioned our 50th,
Tony Almond, than we are now (almost)
able to welcome our 60th SuperHome.
Mark Brown in High Wycombe has
accepted as our 59th and we are just
waiting for confirmation from our 60th. I
don’t know if this sudden flourish is
based on more people achieving our
60% carbon reduction criteria or
whether it is due to a sudden spate of
assessments, or the increased number
of houses being transformed.
Whatever, it is very good news. So a
big welcome to all our newcomers.
Life in the office here has been very
busy as we have now linked up with a
number of other organisations who are
going to support our activities and
promote the SuperHomes programme.
The Energy Savings Trust is working
with us to provide expert advisors to
support SuperHomers who would like
help at open events. I believe they have
offered help at two events this
September to trial the idea, but will
happily roll it out to more if it proves
helpful. They have also offered us
some funding to improve the website
and to pay for a few other administrative
tasks which we are working away at.
For some time WWF have supported
SuperHomes and now, through the
Great British Refurb (GBR) Campaign
are working with us to further raise the
profile of the project. Their GBR
campaign has great plans for getting
ministers and MPs to all the homes,
finally creating those elusive tri-fold
leaflets for each property, getting full
case studies done and some fantastic
ideas for putting retrofit of existing
buildings on to the coalition
government’s agenda.
With Kevin McCloud fronting their
campaign they have already signed up
over 10,000 supporters, all of whom will
get to hear about the September
Openings. These will, of course, be
publicised more widely to the whole
WWF network, via EST’s website and
local advice centres and in local and
national press.
I have sent a form to all of you asking
for more details about your
refurbishments and what were the
challenges you faced and the best bits
of the refurb etc. If you haven’t already
completed and returned these, then it
would be great to have them back as
soon as possible. They will be used as
the basis of articles to inspire the local
press and more widely in possible case
studies or leaflets.
The campaign will also be arranging for
a project leaflet to be developed which
will endorse our partnership with them.
These will, hopefully, be available
before the open house events to be
given to visitors. They are also hoping
that 25 copies of the October edition of
the Grand Designs Magazine, and its
special renovating supplement will be
available for each SuperHomer who is
opening in September and can be given
to the first 25 visitors.
We have had a really good response
from the media recently and have a few
good pieces of press coming up. In
particular we are expecting a number of
pieces to advertise the September
openings. Some of you will already
have fed into these pieces, so thank you
once again for your support.
If you have already agreed to open your
home in September then again, thank
you. Some of you are opening for the
London Open House, some for Heritage
Open Days, a couple for Open House
Wales and even one for Birmingham’s
Science week. If you weren’t able to
open for any of those dates, but would
like to open at a different time in
September then please do get in touch.
With the amazing publicity that this
September is going to have it would be
fantastic if we could advertise that all
our SuperHomes would be open.
I know it is very early to even mention
this to most of you, but we are already
starting to plan for the 2011 Spring
Openings. The GBR campaign is likely
to support at least a year of activity,
particularly designed to cover the
energy white paper readings and
therefore this year is going to be a very
busy one. This is our one big change,
with all the different organisations
involved, to get this kind of energy
efficient refurbishment well and truly on
the agenda and fully supported by
Although we
aren’t able to
arrange anything
in time for
September, we
are hoping to
make it easier for
people to open in
the spring. The
GBR Campaign has asked us what we
can do to make it easier for you. They
mooted the possibility of providing
additional staff to be able to assist with
the openings, possibly cleaners to offer
a ‘once over’ after the events. I am sure
you can think of other things. Please do
drop us a line to tell us how we could
support you better.
One move which we have taken is to
purchase some additional insurance.
We know that most Open House events
are covered by SuperHomers usual
house insurance, however it has come
to our notice that not all policies would
cover in the event that someone was
injured during a visit. From 1st
September we will have “£5m Public
Liability including contingent property
owners’ liability whilst the properties are
taking part in open house events to
showcase energy efficient exemplar
homes”. This insurance is the same as
that offered by London Open House and
Heritage Open Days (and presumably
Open House Wales etc), but at least we
know that SuperHomers who open at
other times now have this additional
cover too.