Community centres with energy!

Over 20 South Pennines community centre representatives enjoyed the “Community with Energy” event in Mythmolmroyd on 24th April, where they found out about a range of energy efficiency and renewable energy methods to make community centres greener and cheaper to run.

Enviro Lighting stall

The event was organised by Bradford Environmental Action Trust (BEAT)  to sum up and celebrate two years of South Pennines LEADER funding, which it has used to help community centres in the area to become more energy efficient and reduce their carbon emissions.

St Michael’s Enterprise Centre, where the event took place, was one of the community centres to benefit from BEAT’s support, receiving advice and £4,000 funding which enabled it to install low energy lighting for the church and the enterprise centre. This saves around £1,000/year.

low energy lights - and bright

 It’s not all about saving money – it’s for the sake of the planet

John Milne, representing the Haworth West Lane Baptist Church, came to the event looking for information about more energy saving measures for the church and community centre. With help from BEAT, they have already installed underfloor insulation and carried out a thermal imaging survey. The benefits haven’t all been about saving money, John says. “I’m a firm believer we have to use much less energy to achieve what we want to achieve, for the sake of the planet.”

walking home from the Community with Energy event...

Micro-hydro

Among a variety of workshops and case studies, Peter Hill from Hebden Bridge AlternativeTechnology Centre outlined how micro-hydro works, and talked about the potential of micro-hydro at old mill sites in Calderdale. These will generate less than 100 KW of electricity and are ideal for community schemes.

Peter Hill talks about micro-hydro

In response to a question from the audience, Peter was at pains to make it clear that there’s no potential for a large amount of hydro power in Calderdale. “If you developed every micro-hydro site in the Upper Calder Valley, you could get 2.5 mega watts – the same as one wind turbine.” He also pointed out that Yorkshire Water has six micro hydro turbines each producing between 50-150 kilo watts. “But compared to the amount of energy used, this isn’t producing much. Together they produce less than Yorkshire Water’s one wind turbine.”

Improving energy efficiency at Slaithwaite Community Centre

Sharon Hockins described how Bradford Environmental Action Trust had carried out a community energy report for the Slaithwaite Community Centre. It focussed on energy and water use, energy efficiency recommendations, renewable energy. It also prioritised the various measures.

Sharon Hockins

Sharon described how the Community Centre acted on BEAT’s recommendations. It monitored the use of energy & water, gained a South Pennines LEADER grant of £1,530 to pay for insulation in the form of a suspended ceiling, installed low energy fluorescent TS lighting with a £2,988 grant from Kirklees Council  and took various other measures, including claiming a VAT rebate of gas heating and lighting bills. From 2010-11, the savings on energy bills were £1,500 – a lot of it due to the VAT rebate.