Notes on Energy Group meeting 21st July 2015

Present: John, Jon, David, Steve, Barry, Caroline

Big Energy Race Update

Jon gave a brief update on the BER – not heard anything about this Autumn’s new race so he assumes they are still trying to get funding for the next scheme. Decided to give them a nudge in August if we’ve not heard anything before then

ACTION: Jon to reach out to GAP to find out what the current state of play is with BER in August.

EnergyShare £400K M&S Energy Offer

Jon explained about M&S Energy Fund are offering a total pot of £400K towards energy projects. Its offering a range of funding (a regional pot for projects up to £12.5K and two national pots of funding for projects up to £20K and £40K respectively). We concluded that we don’t have any “spade ready” projects that are in a position to take advantage of this unfortunately.

Solar Schools

Jon outlined the LCC policy document about renewables in schools. The summary is that they would (sensibly) prefer energy efficiency measures to be taken before solar panels are considered, and then want schools to talk to LCC before talking/signing up for building surveys, etc as these can cost schools money even if no panels are subsequently installed.  It provides some basic advice to head teachers and/or governors of schools contemplating renewables.

Steve said it is difficult to form relationships with schools, as has been found with eco-schools and Loughborough in Bloom. Discussed the idea of promoting an energy efficiency competition where the school that saved the most energy is then helped to get renewables installed.

Getting schools interest in the first place is our first hurdle – do we approach head teachers, governors, PTAs, or LCC? Could appeal to their “bottom line” by pointing out savings that could be made on energy bills. Caroline said she knew of a lady who was employed by a council to save money in schools and paid for herself quickly by just going round and regularly reading meters as they’d had estimated bills for years and were vastly over paying.

We need to get in touch with school heads and governors – Steve suggested Mike Jones or Martha might be useful contacts, and John has a friend who is a school governor. Decided to try one school first so John offered to discuss with his friend (who also works with CREST at the University so is “into” renewables!).

ACTION: John to talk to his friend to see what sort of things school governors might find most interesting/useful in terms of energy efficiency/money saving/renewables advice/help.

Community Centres:

Community centres need to save money and energy efficiency measures can really help, but Caroline said its sometimes difficult to get people involved as they’re often volunteers and focused on day-to-day fire fighting of other issues (building maintenance, bills, booking rooms, etc). The people running community centres are also often different from the people who own the buildings (eg: David is on the board of trustees for Rosebery St Peters who run the centre day-to-day, but they just rent the buildings currently from the Church of England, although they are contemplating possibly taking on a long lease).

We really need to talk to some folk involved with running community centres to gauge how interested/responsive they’d be to us helping get an energy audit made and then getting the required measures installed.  Could we even help do some of the simple measures (eg run a thermal curtain making workshop where the demo curtains are for the community centre that the event is held in?). Caroline has put audits down as what we could do if we win the chance to apply for a £10K grant in a competition we’ve entered.

We’ve already had contacts with a number of community centres as we’ve hired rooms and/or held events in them in the past:

* Rosebery St. Peters,
* Fearon Hall,
* John Storer House,
* Shree Ram Krishna Centre,
* Gorse Covert,
* Moira Community Centre,
* All Together Place on Warwick Way (WAGS),

Maybe energy audits for four centres from this list? The audits could cover both easy, cheap (or free) simple energy saving measures that the people running the buildings can implement, going up to larger measures that the building owners will need to be involved with.

Caroline said that LCC have a fund that will pay 50% towards energy audits – could we get external funding for the other 50%? We thought we might need to pre-qualify community centres by finding out how interested they would be in this before hand – hence back to need to talk to people running the centres.

ACTION: Caroline to ask MEA for a sample energy audit report

ACTION: Jon to find out more about the LCC funding for 50% of energy audits.

ACTION: Jon to talk Meg at Fearon Hall and Bob at Moira Community Centre

ACTION: Caroline to talk to Vicky at WAGS

AOB: Caroline is still to contact person at University about landlords event.  Jon had contacted the University’s environment team about it back in June – no concrete ideas from that yet.

Need to decide on where to hold the next meeting. Options include Jon’s flat (which is a bit tricky to find!), ask if we could use the LAGS shed (OK in summer, but not so great on winter evenings), go back to using a pub back room or have a whip round to pay for the room at St Peters. We collected some money from people at the meeting to go towards the room hire in St Peters in 15th September (we’re going to skip August as lots of people are away).

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