Before Christmas Taunton Transition Town applied for a grant from the Department of Energy and Climate Change around local energy assessment…. succinctly entitled Local Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF – http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/pn11_107/pn11_107.aspx).
Happily we had confirmation that we have been successful in our bid and can now run a series of assessment and education projects in the Taunton area. (Queue lots of happy dancing!).
“This is great news for the public sector. Not only do we need to encourage energy efficiency in our schools, hospitals and universities, we also need to get green energy generation and energy efficiency into our communities. That’s why we are also making £10million available for communities to help spur an energy revolution at a local level.”
(Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change)
So what are we going to use the money for:
1. CSE research
The bulk of the money will be going to the Centre for Sustainable Energy to give us street by street data on the best measures for energy efficiency in the area, population profiles to identify areas most and least likely to take up energy efficiency measures, and analyse what housing stock would benefit which energy efficient and renewable energy projects. This will give us a body of research that can provide a focus for future work.
2. Green Doors Scheme
Commissioning one or more freelancers to work to research and prepare a Green Doors open house scheme, to showcase energy efficiency and generation measures in existence in the town. This will result in a “map” of between 30-50 examples of low carbon living (private dwellings, commercial premises, public buildings) and a commitment from relevant parties to take part in an open Green Doors weekend in May. An example of a green doors scheme is in Bristol – www.bristolgreendoors.org
3. Digital Artist
We will be partnering with Taunton’s Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre to commission an artist to use thermal imaging equipment to create a new work that would help people “see for themselves” the relationship between the way we live and the energy we use. It could result in a tourable exhibition of images, a film, something interactive, or something that takes advantage of emerging technologies.
4. Open Space event
We will hold a facilitated public event for up to 200 people in a town centre venue (probably The Genesis Centre – http://www.genesisproject.com). Open Space events are specifically designed for participants to agree and discuss the topics that matter most to them, in this case under the broad theme of Building Local Resilience. Making energy usage sustainable into the future would inevitably be a core topic. Open Space is also more than a talking shop. It is specifically structured to lead to actions that participants have decided for themselves they want to take together, and is frequently a way of birthing new networks and working groups. This will take place in March 2012, and be co-ordinated and delivered by Taunton Transition Town members.
5. Transition Together
The project involves groups of 4-8 householders meeting on a monthly basis to look at different low carbon topics, including energy, and support each other in making changes. To date this has resulted in specific outcomes including Solar PV installation, cutting energy bills by up to 30%, and lowering water usage. Taunton Transition Town already has funding for this project from the Council, but will be able to use CSE data to roll out its pilot project beyond the current 30 householders and target areas/population profiles more likely to take an active part.
6. Deane Energy Savers
This voluntary group, initiated by Taunton Transition Town, is already funded by the Council to cover costs for carrying out a number of energy audits of private dwellings each year, and making referrals to Warm Streets. This project will enable them to target their resources more effectively within Taunton. In particular, the purchase of a thermal imaging camera will enable them to take “before and after” images of homes that are undergoing insulation measures during the period Jan-March and become a long term resource in the locality. The team will also be involved in collecting paper based survey information on the doorstep to help validate desk based research carried out by CSE (see 1).
What We Need To Do!
Validate Desk Based Research Carried out by CSE
In order for the CSE to sanity check their research they have to have some on the spot researchers to do some door-to-door surveys…. the Deane Energy Savers can do some but they need help. If you can give up just a little of your time to conduct some surveys then please get in touch. We have some provisional dates for a ½ day of training to take place which you will need to do. Please contact Chrissie Godfrey (email@example.com) for more details as the training days are scheduled shortly.
Green Doors Scheme Volunteers
If you own/could suggest a property that you would be willing to show to the general public as an example of energy efficiency or renewable energy then please step forward and volunteer. We aim to hold the event in May sometime (date yet to be decided). If you own a property with all the draught-proofing you could possibly do on a house please come and show your house off! If you have put insulation in your cavity walls please step up! If you have installed a ground heat source pump then please let us know! You might want to show off you solar panels, or your under-floor insulation; it could be your secondary glazing on sash windows or an example of a PassivHaus building (http://www.passivhaus.org.uk)….
Even if you do not know of an example we will still need help on the day by having some event stewards to help support householders and hand out useful information.
Please contact Chrissie Godfrey (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in helping out or are interested in becoming a host.
Thanks to everyone involved in putting the grant application together and signing up for various tasks…..