The Community Buildings event that I mentioned last month went really well. There were about 22 groups represented, of whom half were churches.
The evening opened with a presentation from a member of the United Sustainable Energy Agency who began by urging us all to REDUCE ENERGY CONSUMPTION FIRST before considering alternative methods of generation. He recommended checking the energy efficiency of boilers at www.sedbuk.com and replacing those over 15 years old. He gave a variety of tips including mentioning that foil behind radiators and energy saving light bulbs will usually be paid back in energy savings within a year. For those considering alternative energy schemes he urged us to ensure that the installer is MCS accredited and explained the various finanical benefits. In the discussion following it emerged that it is important to get advice on ensuring you have the best inverters available (generally European made ones since these companies are more established).
Then Rev Rob Weston of Park URC reported on their scheme for pv panels and a biomass boiler. On the latter subject the ethics of wood burning were discussed and one of those present explained that in Britain we have a problem of unmanaged woods at present so that, on a certain scale, demand for wood for such boilers will lead to better management and therefore better wildlife habitats.
Anne Wheldon of the Society of Friends explained how they'd made spectacular cuts in their emissions by a long list of measures, each of which alone often looked quite small. She also pointed out that it is a much cheaper way of cutting emissions than the initial outlay of microgeneration. She explained that the first step is to start reading meters at least once a month and make an audit, looking for opportunities that will tie in with routine maintenance, such as the thermal reflective blinds when their old blinds needed replacing.
Gabriel Berry briefly introduced Reading Energy Pioneers who are currently organising a bulk buy of pv panels to enable homeowners to buy them more cheaply.
Jane Wallis of LoCUS (Low Carbon Understanding for SMEs) explained how they could help negotiations between landlord and tenant businesses to arrange for energy saving measures to be installed in their buildings.
The event was primarily organised by RITE with help from GREN volunteers and those present have received copies of the slides presented so if anyone would like these forwarded to them, just let me know.