When neighbours in Totnes chat over their fences they could easily be sharing tips on how to save energy. The ‘Transition Together’ scheme (now known as ‘Transition Streets’), run by Transition Town Totnes, brings together groups of neighbours and helps them to save carbon and cash.
After a facilitator has kicked off the process, a group will meet in a neighbour’s house six times over several months to work its way through a guide that gives practical sustainability tips on energy, water, food, waste and transport. Group members chose their own steps to shrink their carbon footprint like walking or cycling instead of driving in town, monitoring their home energy consumption or getting insulation installed. To make sure money is not a barrier to anyone taking part, many actions are no cost, low cost or grant supported. Some households have also had solar PV fitted through a linked scheme providing a grant towards the installation.
‘Transition Together’ has engaged 468 Totnes households in carbon-cutting activities which together have reduced CO2 emissions by almost 600 tonnes a year. Each household is also saving on average £570 a year, no small prize for a process that is often both enjoyable and rewarding, and brings communities together. Their success has spurred other Transition Towns across the UK to use this approach to inspire communities to be more sustainable, and the low carbon journey for Totnes will continue.