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Carbon Reduction Related Discussions amd Debate
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TOPIC: Energy reduction in the Community

Energy reduction in the Community 2 years, 4 months ago #1

We at Aylesbury Town Council have run a web based competition project aimed at getting householders to look at their energy meters, form a baseline and then follow recommendations to reduce their energy use and consequently carbon footprint. See www.zapcarbon.com
Two areas were selected, one urban and one rural. Funded by ourselves, Bucks CC and Aylesbury Town Council following a successful small scale trail carried out by ourselves (AVDC) in 2008.

With a couple of exceptions, this Carbon Contest achieved its objectives and has provided excellent value for AVDC.

Some very positive feedback and outcomes (see attached for summary and survey feedback detail, if required):
• Over 50% "Much more (aware) than before"
• Over 50% will "Definitely keep a (energy) Focus"
My favourite quote from a ZAP contestant responding in the attached survey ........

"It made us realise just how significantly bad we were at energy usage. Being able to see other's profiles meant you could judge if you were good or bad against other similar households (we were bad!). It has put energy saving at the forefront of our minds, we've even invested in an electricity monitor....."

This remains our difficult to reach but a key target group re-energy spend (Another, in the face of increasing domestic energy costs, is increasing numbers of fuel poor within the Vale).

Once engaged, on average households in Bedgrove (urban) saved 14.2%, with over a quarter saving more than 20% of their electricity use. In Haddenham (rural) the average saving was 11.4%, but again over a quarter of engaged households cut their electricity use by more than 20%.

The annual Carbon savings from the two leading teams in each region are projected to be 570 kg CO2 per household for Bedgrove and 650 kg CO2 from Haddenham through new-found awareness of their energy consumption. These savings represent electricity only and do not include future savings generated from heating fuel saving measures such as insulation.

Finally, a good level of corporate sponsorship was realised (principally prizes) for a successful Community Award's event (held at ATC in May) and was well received by the School assemblies (we presented prizes at Oakley CoE, with much excitement!).

We (AVDC and partners) will be arranging for the planting of native trees at those schools that were involved and within Bedgrove Community (Bedgrove Park) at the end of the year (the best time to plant!) to complete this initiative.

Any plans to extend this to other communities is currently being discussed via the Local area Forum (LAF) process (but would be potentially resource intensive in terms of officer time - coordination would be required to achieve scale participation).

We found the competition a positive experience offering real VFM, hope you find it interesting. Have you successful projects to share?.

Working with community (parish and town councils) 2 years, 1 month ago #2

My question is for Alan Asbury:

Are you aware of any examples in Aylesbury of the district council working with parish and town councils on carbon reduction programmes? What can this tier of 'hyper-local' government do, in conjunction with the district to help reduce carbon?
Last Edit: 2 years, 1 month ago by Scott Buckler.

Working with community (parish and town councils) 2 years, 1 month ago #3

Hi Victoria

Whilst we work successfully (given limited resources) with a range community groups (established and fledgeling) on a range of issues pertaining to carbon reduction, we have, to date had less direct involvement with parish and town councils. That said we have directly involved them and partnered with them in successful initiatives including school and householder energy and carbon awareness programmes, assistance with street lighting technologies, carbon modelling across the County and awareness raising over EPCs. I would be interested to hear what you had in miond regards this topic and always interested to explore avenues we have not yet taken...

In terms of what this tier of Government could do, I would suggest that addressing street lighting, energy efficiency of its buildings and considering renewables and the incentives available (RHI, FIT) would be a good starting point. As well as raising awareness of these issues more direcly through parish newsletters and direct conversations with specific pupulations... I'd be happy to discuss this further with you if you so wish..
Best wishes
Last Edit: 2 years, 1 month ago by Matthew Abbott.

Working with community (parish and town councils) 2 years, 1 month ago #4

Hi Alan
Thanks for your response! I was wondering if Aylesbury - as a kind of representative of your tier for this conference/discussion - had really thought about the benefits of engagement with very local (i.e. parish and town) councils. It sounds like you certainly work locally with the community groups you mentioned and have developed some great initiatives.

I have a couple of examples of local councils working with their Principal Authorities for you to consider: in Essex Great Waltham have worked with the County Council to provide a cycling and walking link in the parish; in addition the Parish Council also run cycling training in conjunction with Chelmsford Borough Council, who loaned a 'Bike Doctor' for the day. Barnstaple Town Council in Devon has conducted a 'green audit' which enabled it to install energy efficient lighting throughout all Town Council buildings, among other measures.
I was recently speaking to the Clerk at Lutterworth Town Council in Leicestershire, who has been working with the County Council to provide an thermal imaging camera, which will scan residents homes to identify areas of poor insulation. The Town Council will then assist residents with poor insulation to identify and apply for relevant grants to help insulate their homes more effectively. I thought this was a nice project!
I am particularly interested in your last comment on raising awareness - I recall one council has worked with its local schools to engage with young poeple on ideas to address climate change. Is this the sort of thing you were envisaging? What would you like to see town and parish councils in your area doing to raise awareness (and how could Aylesbury help them?!)?

Re: Energy reduction in the Community 2 years, 1 month ago #5

Hi Alan, Great piece of work. We have recently started a climate change project at London Voluntary Service Council and we work with a range of partners including London Sustainability Exchange, National Council for Voluntary Organisations, etc. I have been made aware that a number of local authorities are doing some really good climate change/energy reduction work including Merton, Richmond and Camden . It would be good to pass on your work as an example of how you can make a difference working with local communities, reduce energy and raise awareness within local communties. I am not sure at this stage if and how well local authorities work with their local councils for voluntary services (CVSs) or other voluntary and community sector organisations (VCS). The sector's strength often lies in acting as a conduit between the statutory sector and local communities and it would be good to develop closer links and am therefore keen to explore this further in London. Can you tell me if and if so how you have worked with CVSs or the VCS in Aylesbury particularly in order to reach the more "hard to reach" communities? Thanks!

Joining up the renewable energy systems to deliver integrated energy solutions 2 years, 1 month ago #6

Joining up the renewable energy systems to deliver integrated energy solutions
It may be easier to provide answers to the questions if we look at an actual example.
Herne Bay is a town of some 30000 souls living in largely dense private housing. The town enjoys an off shore wind farm with applications for extensions and nearby St Nicholas at Wade has a field of PV cells. The nearby Kent coal fields were shut in the early nineties. Town gas production ceased a little earlier. The 1 mile pier was part demolished in the early nineties but there is a local campaign to rebuild it providing the opportunity to install Thames estuary barrage power at the same time. The need to constantly repair the coastal defences provides the opportunity to provide wave power barriers to form part of those defences.. 
With all this in place there would still be an energy gap that would need filling. Could local clean power generation provide energy for the town combined with district heating schemes for the energy poor in line with solutions espoused at the recent “Brewery conference”?
We hear of clean coal power generation solutions. Prototype diesels in the USA and Germany using coal dust of 10 microns have been built producing electricity at up to 70% efficiency, depending on how you measure that.  There is the  possibility of using the coolant water in district heating schemes and cleaned exhaust gases to heat green houses to produce vegetables for local consumption and for meals on wheels and local hospitals.
Quality local light industry has collapsed and the loss of the coal jobs is still felt. There is an association with Cummins power generation diesels at Ramsgate that could give local expertise to build coal dust plant. Coal is a national resource that reduces the need for imports and improves our dire balance of payments. There is the possibility to turn problems into solutions with some joined up thinking.
There is still money available from the sale of the nation’s coal fields. I would like to see some joined up thinking.
Dave Ramsey
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