It’s not too late to apply for a grant to improve the efficiency of your community building. Community facilities across WPD’s region are invited to apply for up to £1,000 to spend on energy saving improvements like insulation, heating and lighting.
The WPD Community Chest is a £50,000 grant scheme, funded by Western Power Distribution and administered by CSE, which is now open for the third time.
The scheme aims to help local groups make energy saving improvements to village halls, scout huts and other similar community buildings. Groups in WPD’s area of the Midlands, South Wales and the South West can apply for up to £1,000 each.
In 2012, the Community Chest helped 66 local groups to carry out simple but effective energy efficiency improvements, making their community buildings greener and cheaper to run.
“Government’s vision is that every community that wants to take forward an energy project should be able to do so.”
The Department for Energy and Climate Change today published the long-awaited Community Energy Strategy, promising that local communities will be able to take control of their energy bills and help transform the energy system.
Over 50 per cent of people surveyed by DECC said that saving money on bills would be the major motivation for getting involved with community energy schemes, and around 3.5million bill payers are ready to get together with other people in their local community to take more control of their energy. Meanwhile while four in ten respondents said they were already interested in joining a community energy group, and taking part in collective switching or collective purchasing schemes.
Under the plans Government will broaden the support available for community energy projects, whereby people come together to reduce their energy use or purchase and generate their own energy. Plans include:
£10m Urban Community Energy Fund to kick-start community energy generation projects in England;
£1m Big Energy Saving Network funding to support the work of volunteers helping vulnerable consumers to reduce their energy;
a community energy saving competition, offering £100,000 to communities to develop innovative approaches to saving energy and money; and
a “one-stop shop” information resource for people interested in developing community energy projects.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said:
“We’re at the turning point in developing true community energy.
“The cost of energy is now a major consideration for household budgets, and I want to encourage groups of people across the country to participate in a community energy movement and take real control of their energy bills.
“Community led action, such as collective switching, gives people the power to bring down bills and encourage competition within the energy market.”
Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker said:
“The Community Energy Strategy marks a change in the way we approach powering our homes and businesses – bringing communities together and helping them save money – and make money too.
“The Coalition is determined to unleash this potential, assist communities to achieve their ambitions and drive forward the decentralised energy revolution. We want to help more consumers of energy to become producers of energy and in doing so help to break the grip of the dominant big energy companies.”
Since 2008, at least 5000 community groups have participated in energy projects in the UK. The Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral project in Cheshire, for example, saved local households an average of £300 a year through encouraging behaviour change and installing simple energy efficiency measures.
In the future, the generation of electricity by communities themselves could put pressure on energy suppliers to drive down prices, creating warmer homes, cutting carbon emissions and diversifying the UK’s energy mix. Estimates suggest that energy generation schemes involving local communities, such as installing solar panels on social housing buildings, could supply enough electricity for 1 million homes by 2020.
The potential of community energy beyond this is even greater. Community shared ownership schemes with renewables developers will be an important future part of ensuring that local people reap the financial and social benefits of energy developments built in their area.
Government’s vision is that every community that wants to take forward an energy project should be able to do so. The Community Energy Strategy sets out how we are removing barriers faced by communities that want to take action on energy to create opportunities for more people to get involved.
Urban Community Energy Fund (UCEF):
£10m fund will support urban communities in England to develop renewable energy projects which provide economic and social benefits to the community;
sits alongside the existing Rural Community Energy Fund (RCEF), and have the same method of application. Details of RCEF can be found onthe WRAP website;
will be open to all communities in England that are not eligible to access RCEF;
as with RCEF, there will be two stages of funding: Stage one allows applications for grants of up to approximately £20,000 for feasibility work. Stage two allows applications for loans up to approximately £130,000 to support planning applications and develop robust business cases which will attract further investment.
Big Energy Saving Network (BESN):
The Government funded Big Energy Saving Network launched last year with £900,000 to support eligible third sector organisations and community groups to deliver an extensive programme of outreach to vulnerable consumers, focussed on helping them to reduce their energy costs through assisted action on tariffs, switching and take-up of energy efficiency offers. The funding has been extended for 2014/15 to an additional £1million, which will enable Government to continue supporting and growing the Network of volunteers this year.
£100,000 community energy saving competition:
As part of the Community Energy Strategy, Government is launching a new community energy saving competition that will offer a minimum of £100,000 to incentivise communities to develop innovative approaches to saving energy and money. Six of the finalists will be given access to mentoring support to help them develop their business plans in more detail.
DECC will support the establishment of a “One-Stop Shop” information resource for community energy, developed with community energy groups using funding from Government.
The renewables industry has committed to facilitate a substantial increase in the shared ownership of new, onshore renewables developments and is already developing ever more ambitious and innovative approaches to community engagement and benefits. The Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change has asked an industry taskforce to work with the community sector and report back to him by spring 2014. This report will include a framework and timetable for implementation, and a level of ambition for community ownership of new renewables developments. We expect that by 2015 it will be the norm for interested communities to be offered some level of ownership of new, commercially developed onshore renewables projects.
Alongside the Community Energy Strategy, DECC has also published today a series of research reports assessing the scale, ambition and achievements of current community energy projects including:
It is true that wall and loft insulation are very important in terms of energy savings. Getting your loft insulated can save you hundreds of pounds every year. But a Green Deal report does much more than just recommending insulation measures; it provides 1 to 1 tailored advice on where you as a household can save energy and of course, save money!
The little behavioural things are so often overlooked, but they really do add up. Here are some of the typical pieces of advice we offer at an assessment.
Lighting and Appliances
So who leaves their TV on standby? Your games console? laptop? Maybe your stereo and microwave as well? You are using lots of energy right there. If you are having trouble remembering it all, there are gadgets out there that track movements in a room and as soon as they notice you have left, all appliances connected get turned off.
LED lights are one of our favourites! Switching your home from incandescent bulbs to low energy lighting can save you £50-100 a year. But be careful – halogen bulbs are not very efficient, always go for LED. They even come in dimmable, so there are no excuses!
Doors and Windows
Draught proofing, those little strips of fur along the seal of your doors and windows. They make a much bigger difference than you think – in fact they usually pay for themselves within a year or two. How often as an assessor we see old, worn strips that have long since become ineffective at stopping draughts. Check yours and make sure you have some. Brushes underneath the door are also a great way to stop draughts.
Close your curtains at night. It is amazing how much of a difference this makes. Some people ask me if it is worth knocking out their 10 year old double glazing and replacing it with triple, when they don’t do simple things like this. It’s a lot cheaper!
So you are leaving some rice on the hob to cook while you watch TV – put a lid on it! Lots of energy is wasted this way – your food will cook more quickly, or you can set the heat a little lower once the lid is on.
Don’t fill your kettle to the brim for one cup of tea. It takes longer to boil and wastes energy. Just heat what you need.
Doing your washing or putting on the dishwasher? Make sure you have a full load. It takes the same amount of energy however much you have in there, so make sure it is full. If you only have a half load – make sure you use the half load option on the machine.
Drying your clothes? Don’t use the tumble dryer unless you really have to. If you have a clothes line and it’s a dry day, stick your washing on the line.
All the more important if you are on a water meter, there are lots of ways to save water in the home. Taking showers instead of baths, fixing leaky taps, watering the garden with a watering can.
Saving hot water is even more important. Remember to use your timer to heat your water only when you need it (if you have a hot water cylinder) and to ensure you have your cylinder thermostat set correctly. Most cylinders nowadays have them and making sure you don’t overheat your water is a great way to save money.
So those are just a few tips that could save you hundreds of pounds each year, and every household can do it. But of course, these things can only get you so far. Installing insulation and better heating systems etc. are also worthwhile ways to improve efficiency, and as Green Deal advisors we are always on the lookout to try and recommend the best deal for you. An example of some of the ‘big winners’ are below.
Winner – Loft insulation, despite the cliché, is very much one of the biggest most rewarding measures on the Green Deal. It really can save you hundreds of pounds a year. Even if you already have some, it may be insufficient (270mm is now the standard), so get it checked out.
Winner – Wall insulation. There are so many properties with solid walls, built before cavities came along in the 1930’s. It is expensive, but long term getting solid wall insulation (and throw in some ECO help) will make a big difference to your bills. Cavity walls are obviously more efficient than solid walls, but getting them filled is also a big winner.
Winner – Heating controls. Many people underestimate how much they can save with good room thermostats, programmers and thermostatic radiator valves. If you install all the insulation and a new heating system you need heating controls to ensure that you keep the temperature of the home at the same comfort level, otherwise the home will be warmer than it was before, but you won’t be saving on your bills. They also help you better control the heating of each room, and the times you want them heated – no more ‘forgetting to turn the heating off’, or overheating the little study while the big bedroom freezes. Getting good controls pays back surprisingly quickly.
Of course, the Green Deal is also there to help you get involved with renewable energy and with the Renewable Heat Incentive kicking in soon, there has never been a better time to look at these new technologies. Solar PV, with the benefit of Feed-in-Tariffs, will now pay back in around 8 years in many cases. Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps offer another way to save energy at a time when the cost of gas and electricity is spiralling upwards.
So the Green Deal is not just about insulation – it is a real holistic approach to improving your home. You stand to gain so much from just a few hours of an assessor’s time, why not book an appointment today?
The Energy Act 2011 includes provisions for the new ‘Green Deal’, which intends to reduce carbon emissions cost effectively by revolutionising the energy efficiency of British properties. The new innovative Green Deal financial mechanism eliminates the need to pay upfront for energy efficiency measures and instead provides reassurances that the cost of the measures should be covered by savings on the electricity bill.
The Green Deal will enable many households and businesses to improve the energy efficiency of their properties so less energy is consumed and less money is wasted.
The key focus of the new energy company obligation – or “ECO” will be on those householders who cannot achieve significant energy savings without an additional or different measure of support. For example, this includes vulnerable and low-income households and those living in harder to treat properties, such as solid walled properties.
A quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions comes from the energy used in homes and a similar amount comes from our businesses, industry and workplaces.