Glenelg SAVES – understanding the lived experience

Glenelg SAVES – understanding the lived experience


Jo Brown, Penny Fraser and David Lynch

Organisation of Presenter:

SGGPCP, Australia


Understanding the lived experience and the power of trusted relationships is essential to developing effective interventions to improve energy efficiency for low income households. Overcoming the of the barriers presented by “one size fits all” energy efficiency campaigns delivered using cold calling techniques alongside confusing information disseminated by mass media forms the foundational philosophy for the Glenelg SAVES Project. Delivered in South West Victoria, the Glenelg SAVES Project was funded as part of the Federal Government Low Income Energy Efficiency Program. Capitalising on the trusted relationship with low income households, Glenelg SAVES partnered with Home and Community Care (HACC) staff in the Glenelg Shire Council. By understanding the lived experience of not only the HACC client but also the HACC staff, the project instigated a “participatory” training approach to build the capacity of this trusted workforce to work individually with clients to prioritise home energy efficiency needs and support implementations at a household level. Considering the conflicting and the many daily concerns HACC staff communicate with their clients, it is often challenging for staff to prioritise energy efficiency among competing these concerns. With this in mind, the “participatory” training approach enabled staff to assess their own homes and be supported to implement change providing a real life experience. Staff were then able to consider their own experiences when working with their clients, understanding the impacts and benefits of household energy efficiency improvements and balancing this with individualised approaches. As a result, more than 20 staff participated directly in the project and over 300 HACC clients were supported to make changes to improve energy efficiency. Furthermore the Glenelg shire has used the results of the project to begin to integrate changes into their systems and procedures to facilitate long term change.