Opening Your Home: Advice on taking part

Before the Event

  • Decide on your opening hours. If you intend to open for most of one day (say 10am-4pm) we would advise creating a lunch rota for those involved, or closing between 12pm and 1pm to allow yourself a break. Weekends are likely to be the most popular option, but you could also consider weekday evenings. Remember: if all the events take place on the weekends then not everyone will be able to visit your home as well as all the others that are open.
  • Decide which features of the house you would most like people to see. You then have two options:
    1. Prepare a short 10 minute tour you can take people on. You might like to write down on cards what you plan to say at each feature – you might not need to refer to them (especially the fifth time you do it!) but it will help you to think through what you want to say and it won’t hurt to have them in your pocket just in case you need them!
    2. Create a display at each feature and arrange for someone (another member of your household, a friends or neighbour) to be at each feature to both explain the feature and ensure people stick to the route through the house that you want them to take. We would advise against allowing people to wander freely around any room in the house!
    3. As well as explaining what you practically did, please also explain why you did it. Your motivation may have been simply to save money, or you might have a deep concern for the environment. Either way, visitors are likely to be interested in this and you have a great opportunity to inspire them to begin their own journey towards a more environmentally friendly home.
    4. It’s okay to talk about what went wrong as well as what went right. Did you have difficulty sourcing the right materials? Were they harder to install than you expected? Has something not performed as well as expected? Would you do things differently if you were doing them again?
    5. You could also create a short handout to give to people to take away. This is entirely optional depending on if you have the time to prepare it.
    6. Remember to allow time and space for people to ask questions and don’t underestimate how long this might take. If you are giving tours allow at least 10 minutes for questions – if they don’t have any you’ll get a ten minute break!
    7. Do you have samples of any materials that are now hidden? For instance, if you have installed internal solid wall insulation it won’t be visible. Do you have a sample of the material to show people?
  • Decide if you would like to take a donation on the door. This could be used to cover costs you incur (printing out signs, providing coffee and tea if you intend to) or you could donate it to a local charity or to your local eco-community group. You don’t have to do this, and we do not want homes involved in this event to make a compulsory charge, but a donation system might ensure that only people who are genuinely interested in your home’s eco-improvements attend.
  • Find volunteers to help you on the day. We recommend that at least three people are on hand at all times; if you have four you can take it in turns to have a break. Jobs will include greeting people on the door, taking them on a tour, giving out refreshments (optional) and asking people for donations and filled out feedback forms.
  • Advertise your event! MEA will be posting information on our website ( and working with Local Authorities in the area to get information in to the local press, but we also need you to do as much as you can locally. You could:
  • Place posters and fliers in local venues: the library, cafe, shops, community centres, schools etc
  • Amend and send out the template press release attached to this guide.
  • Tell all your friends and ask them to tell other people.
  • If you are part of a local eco-community group ask them to advertise the event through their networks.
  • Warn the neighbours – especially if you think the road may become congested with parked cars. Of course, you should invite your neighbours to visit your home too – they may not mind lots of cars if they get to have a nosey in your house!
  • Consider if there are any risks or hazards in your home that people need to be aware of – low ceilings or doorways, steep stairs etc. On the day you will need to point these out to people.
  • Check your insurance policy. MEA and the LAEP are not providing insurance for this event and cannot accept any liability for your event or anything that happens during it. You need to ensure that your own insurer will cover you in the event of an incident.

On the Morning of the Event:

  • Place any small valuable items in a locked room within the house. Close off any areas were you don’t want people to go.
  • Make your home as inviting as possible from the outside – use our template posters to make it obvious you are hosting an Open Day.

During the Event:

  • Try to have three or four people on hand to help you – enlist some friends, relatives or neighbours. If you’re part of a local community eco group you might be able to help each other with this. DO NOT open your home on your own.
  • If you’re doing a tour, you will need to have someone on the door to meet people and ask them to wait in a holding area (maybe the living room) until the next tour starts. Someone else will need to be doing the tours. You might have a third person giving out drinks and biscuits.
  • Please ask people to spend five minutes filling out a feedback form at the end of their visit. 2015 will be the third time we've run this event and the feedback from the first two events has proved invaluable at the planning stage. Feedback will also help us to secure funding for future events and to improve any future events.
  • After the Event
  • Have a well deserved break! Many people who have run Eco Home Open Days have said that they are very rewarding, but also exhausting, especially if all day. Plan a relaxing evening: prepare your tea the evening before so that all you have to do is heat it up, or have something really easy to hand to cook.
  • Fill out a ‘Household Feedback Form’. We don’t just want feedback from those who visit your home, we also want to find out about your experience of opening up your home and the support we’re providing.
  • Remember to send completed feedback forms to MEA to the following Freepost address:

Marches Energy Agency
The Pump House
Coton Hill

  • Remember to email any photos to MEA for use on our website and in future publicity.

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