Green Friday - green energy

Posted by Tina Gardner on 04/09/2009

This week we take a look at being more energy efficient, and offer advice on how to access green grants.

Here are some simple tips…

The National Energy Foundation (NEF) empowers individuals and organisations to take action to reduce their carbon emissions through energy efficiency and use of sustainable energy sources to counter climate change.

  • Reduce dependence on your car.  Location, location, location. If you really cannot get to work, school or the shops without your car, you need to lobby your local authority for some decent public transport.
     
  • Wise up, turn down, and switch off. Turn your central heating down a couple of degrees and wear another layer of clothing. Each 1°C decrease should save about 10% off your fuel bill. Switch all electronic appliances off at the socket whenever they are not in use. Computers and their peripherals consume lots of electricity even when ostensibly turned off, never mind on standby.
     
  • Invest in energy saving technology if you can. Solar panels can be expensive and micro wind turbines may not produce enough power, but good insulation and draft-proofing is cheap and pays for itself almost immediately.  In addition, solar hot water systems on a south-facing roof can produce up to half a family’s hot water over the course of a year for relatively little cost.
     
  • Consider better insulation of your house and save on energy bills e.g. www.britishgas.co.uk/energy-efficiency.html
     
  • Switch to a green electricity provider or consider applying for a grant to install green energy generating equipment like solar panels.  For more information see Green Electricity or Low Carbon Building.

If you work, own or visit a climbing wall or club hut why not think about making the building a little greener and save yourselves some money in the long run. Useful information on grants available can be found at the links below.

  • Grab a grant  For a good overview of grants available for domestic and commercial renewable energy see the Renewable Energy Centre
     
  • Low Carbon Buildings Programme Phase 2 - the low carbon buildings programmme is funded by the government department DECC. Grants are available to not-for-profit organisations and the public sector in the UK for the purchase and installation of eligible renewable energy technologies. Applicants can request up to 50% of the total purchase and installation cost (excluding VAT) up to a maximum of £200,000 in grant funds per application.
     
  • Community Sustainable Energy Programme - CSEP is funded by the BIG Lottery. Grants are available to not-for-profit community based organisations in England only. There are two types of grants: Project Development grants for a registered consultant to undertake a study investigating a number of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures to recommend the best options for the applicant, and Capital grants for the purchase and installation of eligible renewable energy technologies, and any eligible energy efficiency measures in conjunction with this. Applicants can request a 75% grant up to a maximum of £5,000 for the project development grant, and 50% up to a maximum of £50,000 per organisation for the capital grants. Project Development grants are awarded on a first come first served basis. Capital grants are sent to quarterly competitive selection panel meetings.
     
  • Community Action for Energy (CAfE) is a programme from the Energy Saving Trust which helps community based energy projects and contains useful information and advice, as well as a funding database.

Other useful sites:
Small loans for alternative technologies
www.carbontrust.co.uk/energy/takingaction/about-loans

How to apply for solar energy grants
www.energysavingadvice.co.uk/alternative-energy-sources/solar-energy-grants.php

Examples:

The Castle Climbing Centre has recently launched an ambitious environmental policy.  Some of the targets include:

  • Becoming carbon neutral through minimising our emissions and genuinely offsetting what emissions we cannot eliminate.
  • Sourcing all of our electricity from renewable resources.
  • Becoming Water Neutral by collecting and recycling water ourselves.
  • Sourcing all of our supplies from companies with high environmental standards.
  • Sending zero waste to landfill.
  • Eliminating the use of toxic substances in our cleaning and maintenance processes.

To widen the impact and so that people can get involved away from the wall too, the Castle has also launched an innovative environmental awards scheme.  In total they are putting £30,000 toward these awards, made available through savings from the reduced VAT rate. Staff and members of the Castle can apply for funding to carry out their own projects.  Read more about what the Castle is aiming to achieve in terms of sustainability on UKClimbing and keep up with the improvements on their blogspot.

Gradbach Youth Hostel, near Buxton is another building of interest to BMC members which is aiming to lead the way in terms of renewable energy.  It has been granted £1,200 by the Peak District Sustainable Development Fund to investigate energy-saving measures and renewable energy schemes for three old mill buildings. It is also assessing hydro-power potential at the site. Gradbach aims to become a ‘Green Beacon’ hostel to lead the way for other YHA properties. There's a Gradbach community webpage of useful links to energy resources



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