We’re delighted to be joining a new mentoring service for Community Energy projects as a Peer Mentor, thanks to a new project funded by the Esmee Fairburn Foundation.
Like the other Peer Mentors across the country, we have a range of experience to share, in terms of scale and technologies, in renewable energy generation. And we are experienced in mentoring a range of projects, having run a similar service through the Energy Saving Trust, as well as our current advisory services.
Eligible community energy groups accepted onto the programme can access up to 6 days of support from the Peer Mentors. It is perceived that mentoring activities will be undertaken using a range of interventions to include face to face meetings (one to one or group), telephone discussions and email exchanges.
Full details will be provided when you apply for support, and you will be matched with the mentor who meets your needs in terms of project type and location – though there’s no harm in requesting us is there?!
Hockerton Housing Project is looking for community energy projects who want to learn from our experience, to take advantage of a new Mentoring Fund.
The scheme is only open to applicants until 12 December 2013, but successful applicants will receive support through to March 2015. It’s a rare offer of funding for community projects that aim to:
· Generate energy
· Reduce energy use, and/or
· Manage and purchase energy
We have a range of experience to share, in terms of scale and technologies, in energy generation, reduction and management. And we are experienced in mentoring a range of projects, having run a similar service through the Energy Saving Trust, as well as our current advisory services.
We would be particularly keen to partner with multiple organisations to improve the cost-effectiveness of our application, with the programme starting with a joint workshop here at Hockerton before moving on to a mix of one-to-one support, community outreach and shared learning initiatives.
Find out more about the fund here, noting the eligibility criteria. If you are interested in the mentoring scheme please get in touchby 2 December, telling us a little about your organization and what you are trying to achieve in the next 18 months.
It is great to this project go live, as it is very similar to our local Sustainable Hockerton turbine, which is also fully community owned, and we have close links to one of the Directors who is also a member of our scheme! We wish them every luck and success as the commissioning process gets under way.
Is it possible that we will now we start to catch up with the Danes where back in 2001 over 100,000 families belonged to wind farm cooperatives installing over 86% of the countries wind turbines? In Germany the national figure is 50% but in some regions 90% of installed wind capacity (700MW) is community owned1.
If this property’s share in a community-owned wind turbine were taken into account, it would have the lowest energy use and CO2 emissions of all properties in the recent Retrofit Revealedreport.
Two of HHP’s retrofit projects were included in a recent report by the Technology Strategy Board, and whilst the published results look good, they are not the full story due to the role played in our design by off-site renewable energy.
The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) funded the Retrofit for the Future competition to encourage innovation in the retrofit market and understand what actually works. 87 projects were awarded up to £150k each to retrofit social housing units, aiming to achieve an 80% reduction in CO2 levels compared to 1990 averages. HHP won funding for a project to retrofit 2 semi-detached houses in Newark, Notts, which have now been re-occupied for over 2 years.
The TSB has recently produced a report, Retrofit Revealed, providing the first analysis of data from the monitoring of 37 of the projects.
As we had split the (not inconsiderable) budget between two properties, we were pleased to see that one of our retrofitted houses (property number TSB023) still had the 8th lowest level of CO2/m2 (3rd best of the all-electric properties) whilst the other (property number TSB022) was a credible 26th. In terms of total energy use (per m2), our properties were 4th and 12th respectively. This shows the impact of being an all-electric property, as electricity has a much higher carbon intensity than gas; and the impact of resident behaviour, as the houses are built and retrofitted to identical specifications.
Our choice of going ‘all-electric’ was deliberate: it is not a finite resource like gas; and because our design off-set that electricity use through investment (from the project budget) in a local community-owned wind turbine.
The impact of this investment is not recognised by the TSB report but it has proven much more cost-effective and a lower maintenance approach than on-site renewables. Analysis of the energy data for Property TSB023, for which we have 2 years of meter readings, shows that if its share of SHOCK turbine generation were taken into account, it would have the lowest energy use and CO2 emissions of all properties. A £1,500 investment offset 43% of the annual energy use, and at the same time the social landlord has a regular income rather than a maintenance overhead.
This offsite offset would not be recognised in the properties’ Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) either. This matters because the Government said in their Energy Efficiency Strategy that it intends to make more policies conditional on energy efficiency. Onsite renewables would be recognised, but what about all those unable to install systems onsite due to property type, leasehold or planning restrictions? Or simply unable to afford an onsite system at higher upfront cost per kW?
Further key aspects of our design (passive solar gain, high thermal mass and buffer zones) are not fully recognised by SAP, the Government’s assessment tool, and so similarly the benefits would not be fully registered in the EPC.
Here’s hoping that TSB take a technology-neutral look at the results and feedback into SAP what really works for different properties, and their residents.