ESW H2eco (2008)

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Jenny Taylor Mouchel

This report evaluates the project H2eco by Essex & Suffolk Water. It is the first in this series of water efficiency studies focusing on the installation of water-saving devices within domestic properties of Chelmsford, central Essex. Participants were equally divided into two focus groups of metered and unmetered households. A total of 17 customers attended the focus groups, for which they received a £40 incentive. Reasons for participation included free equipment, environmental concerns (e.g. saving water), and to reduce bills.

Executive Summary

Essex & Suffolk Water (ESW) want to encourage its’ domestic customers to be more water efficient. As part of ESWs long term water efficiency programme this project aims to increase their reputation while highlighting the environmental responsibility we all share to help reduce water waste and efficiently use current water resources.

Mouchel were commissioned to undertake the H2eco project within Chelmsford, Essex. This project was based on the concept of customers working through the self audit process by completing a workbook. The H2eco branding of the project reflected ESW’s aims to continually find new and innovative ways to deliver the water efficiency message to their customers. Including ‘eco’ in the audit title drew the customer’s attention towards the environmental benefits of saving water and saving money through reduced water use. The workbook asked a series of questions about their property, their appliances and how they currently use water. In addition it explained how they could use less in the future and offered a range of 13 water saving products. The project presented involved mailing out an application pack to over 7,500 domestic customers. Customers were able to reply direct to Mouchel with their order, either by post or by calling a dedicated customer contact centre.

The key objective was to reduce water consumption through customer engagement / education. Critical to this was the collection of data to enable a robust evaluation of the project and cost benefit analysis.

A bespoke database was constructed to store the large volumes of data generated by the project. Extracts of the ESW customer database, customer contact details, including customer survey forms were all stored in the project database. Additionally, the database was used to schedule appointments to deliver and fit the selected products and services, recording which items they received, collate meter read data and produce daily work schedules for the plumbers visiting customers’ homes.

Of the 7,524 customers contacted, 1,495 households completed the audit and were fitted with water saving products and services between December 2007 and March 2008. Water savings were determined by direct measurement from metered households and through measurement by proxy for unmeasured households. Consumption data was collected from those properties that had an externally accessible water meter, and additionally 193 flow loggers were installed to collect more detailed water use information. Point of use measurement by proxy has allowed savings directly attributable to products to be determined.