Over the past 18 years we’ve hosted thousands of students of energy, water, and environmental sciences but increasing number of visits from other strands of academia is both heartening and fascinating.
“HHP showed me that I was wrong and it is possible to live in a (much more) sustainable way without diminishing our quality of life. I would even argue that the ‘Hockerton lifestyle’ might even be far more enjoyable than the busy, consumption-focused lifestyle most of us enjoy”
“Highlights on the day included “the house tour as we got to see how it all came together in reality”, “the aquaponics, as this was not something I was aware of before, the conservative and careful use of water (e.g. less filtered water for showering and the toilet), their own water filtration systems and being off the grid for water”.
“[we] were all surprised at the toasty warm floor despite the absence of any central or secondary heating!”
You can read their views in full here, or contact us to find out how we can bring your area of work or study to life for your students, colleagues or clients.
Every 3 – 4 months we read our 50 power and water meters to check how we are doing in terms of consumption, generation and export.
Each household pays for their share of consumption relative to use, with any income from the export of renewable energy shared equally between us.
The resultant figures help us remain aware of our use, not least because we see it relative to (or in competition with?!) our neighbours. It also reminds us how well these houses perform. This can become easy to forget when the house is your home – until heatwaves like this week, when we could feel the difference as the thermal mass soaked up any heat that made it through shaded windows.
* Our average daily energy use was around 23% of a standard house (per house, not incl the garages).
* We exported 38% of what we generated, compared with 48% in the winter
* We earn around 4p for a kWh exported but pay on average 7.5p per kWh we use, so over the last 4 months we’ve missed out on energy worth £145.
* In the last 4 months we’ve generated the equivalent of 95% of our total household use (not including our shares in our community-owned wind turbine of course).
* And we are using 260 litres of water a day per house on average. Potable: non-potable is 1:11. This is a similar ratio to that in the first quarter but an increase overall. Average usage per person is 82 litres, compared with Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 and 6 target of 80 litres – perhaps due to higher number of washes during peak vegetable gardening season!
This autumn, HHP is racing against the clock to install further solar PV roofs funded by local community energy co-op Sustainable Hockerton.
The plan is to install two roofs on local businesses – one of 10kW and a further one of 27kW. The businesses benefit from lower cost power, Sustainable Hockerton members benefit from continued returns from their investment, and the community benefits from a village sustainability fund.
These new installations will be funded by the co-op’s income from its 225kW wind turbine, potentially with some top-up loans from its members, and will help further diversify the renewable energy systems in our parish.
The clock is, as many of you will know, ticking. The Government plans to substantially cut the feed-in tariff and, as of 1 October, removed the ability to pre-register schemes for the feed-in tariff, removing the certainty that community schemes need to raise investment. These cuts appear far too big and far too early, whilst the attack on investor certainty pushes up costs – which is no way to help reduce energy bills in the long-term. We have sadly also begun to see the impact of specific cuts and a wider policy vacuum on jobs, with the loss of an estimated 1000 jobs at Mark Group and Climate Energy.
We can only hope this attack on renewables is a last gasp from a system historically reliant on the fossil fuel industry. Interest in our approach continues to engage and inspire other communities (pictured above are York Community Energy on a recent visit); and at a crucial time in the run up to Paris talks, the climate now has the Pope, Barack Obama, the governor of the Bank of England and Nanny McPhee firmly on its side.
It is, to say the least, disappointing that the UK Government is no longer leading the green agenda, but this is a global challenge and, as the business world opens its eyes to the high risks it faces, it feels like the balance is shifting.
If you want to find out more about what we’ve achieved at the street and community level, our next Sustainable Living tour is on Saturday 7 November.
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?!