Those Waitati people, so much energy

Researchers from the Otago Energy Research Centre will present research results in early December from recent or ongoing research projects in Waitati. 'Waitati Research Feedback' meeting on Thursday 4 December will be held straight after work, from 5.30 – 7pm at Waitati Hall. There have been four different energy research projects in Waitati this year:

1. "Is Small Beautiful? Attitudes towards community owned wind energy in Waitati" is the title of a dissertation by Matthew Hoffman, who conducted 13 face-to-face interviews in Waitati. This is a really interesting study because the WEP has been operating for over a year now, but despite well attended public meetings, successful expos, support for initiatives, and a big email list, we can't assume that all of Waitati is supportive or interested. We'll discover much more about ourselves through Matthew's work. And what would getting a locally owned and pperated wind turbine running involve?

2. "Visualising Home Energy Efficiency" is Jess Hugh's Research Project. Jess followed the implementation of the government's Home Energy Rating Scheme in Waitati. Her study took place through an interesting period – remember the drama? – and should answer some of the questions aired locally about the usefulness of energy ratings in general. (I'll have the last of those HERS certificates on hand as well).

3. Claire Freeman will present on "Children and Transport": research on children's travel patterns in their day-to-day lives - how they move around (on foot, bicycle, Mum's car etc). Children at Waitati School participated in this study, which includes a number of schools around the Dunedin and Claire will talk about her findings including differences between Dunedin locations. There are big implications in this, for children, parents and road users.

4. The "baseline survey" is coordinated by Martha Bell for the Otago Energy Research Centre. Janet Stephenson will be on hand to explain the survey, which has only just begun. It has gone out to 178 Waitati households and in the survey we householders are asked about how energy is used in our homes and our lives, we're asked our views on energy-related issues, how we learn new ideas, and if/how we are making changes in our energy use. This piece of research is very valuable for the Blueskin area because it will give us hard data and help the WEP design actions in and for the community. Please complete the survey! (the OERC is putting completed surveys in for a prize draw, with prizes to be distribute just prior to Christmas).

Following the presentations we'll have some cups of tea as usual and a brief WEP get-together to begin forming a more focused steering group/committee for the WEP. This will be a short meeting of interested people. So if you have a burning desire to get more involved, this is the moment!

Library expansion

The Waitati Energy Project is keen to support the project team for the Blueskin Bay Library Expansion to make the new structure energy efficient, innovative and local. I'm excited about our community expertise (engineers, architects, builders, pragmatists) working with DCC Energy Manager Neville Auton, and the DCC architect in a partnership as the library is such a crucial local institution and a public building reflecting our community.

More on Waitati Energy Group: http://www.transitiontowns.org.nz/waitati

by Scott Willis

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