Monthly talk: Tara Bowers – Healthy homes for wellbeing

The decision to invite Tara Bowers to speak at the April monthly meeting could hardly have been better timed. I won’t take the credit for this as it was the invitation came as a result of a fortunate meeting at our Open Day in September.

The subject of green energy has been at the top of the political agenda for some time now, although the discussion has now been complicated by the current surge in energy prices. The legacy of the pandemic together with the disruption to energy supplies arising from the war in Ukraine makes this an extremely complex but vital subject. There is little doubt that energy is going to be one of the most important issues for every nation for years to come. While governments address these national and international issues, individual consumers need to make their own decisions and judgements about how to manage their finances while being mindful of the broader environmental questions.

Tara Bowers represents Exeter Community Energy whose purpose is to enable local people to own renewable energy and energy saving projects. In addition to offering advice to individual households and the community at large on how to use energy efficiently and thereby reduce their bills, they also offer the chance to invest in green energy projects. You can learn more about their diverse range of activities on their website It makes interesting reading. You might also take the opportunity to drop into the Strand Centre for one of their clinics when you can receive individual advice tailored to your situation.

Tara invited members to offer their own tips on how to save energy and reduce their bills. Suggestions included: only boil as much water as you need in your kettle (a kettle costs 5p each time to boil, and that soon adds up!); if you do boil too much put the excess in a thermos; shower for just four minutes; shower every two days rather than daily; use energy saving light bulbs such as LEDs; keep your central heating set at 21˚C in living rooms, and 18˚C in bedrooms; seal drafts around windows and doors; use reflective backing behind radiators; bleed radiators; don’t leave immersion heaters on all day; an hour a day is enough; wear extra clothing rather than turn the heating up; make sure you close windows and doors when the heating is on.
All of these make sense – but if you need more ideas, Tara says Exeter Community Energy’s own list has an impressive 31 tips! You might like to think what you could add to the list above.

Next month’s meeting will be at 3.30pm on Monday 16th May in the Council Chamber of the Manor House. Well known local historian Robert Hesketh will be talking to us about ‘Smuggling in Devon’, a subject which I hope will attract a good audience.
John Vick, Chair