About this group
In a nutshell, our group's aim at this stage is to make our village community buildings more energy efficient. If we can get funding we will use the buildings to demonstrate how many ways there are, and how easy it is, to save householders money and deliver the kind of reduction in carbon and energy use that we need across the country.
We competed in the launch round of energyshare and came fourth in the 'large' category. Although we didn't win we are proud of what we achieved.
We want our children and grandchildren to look forward to a bright and sustainable future - but what do they want? We asked Harbury School children what they want the world to be like in 2050.
These are some of their replies:
No pollution ٠ No smoke in the air ٠ No oil in the sea ٠ Clean air, clean rain ٠ A peaceful world ٠ No war ٠Lots of flowers and butterflies ٠ More bees – more honey ٠ More recycling ٠ Vehicles powered by electricity ٠ Every house has a solar panel ٠ More home-grown food ٠ Litter free
And so we had to start somewhere....
Doing something is better than doing nothing.
Doing something with someone else is better than doing it on your own.
And doing something in a group, and with other communities is better still....
WELCOME TO HARBURY’S PROJECT
Our Energyshare project aims to:
- Reduce the running costs of Harbury’s community buildings by making them more energy efficient. This will help to ensure that our community buildings remain viable if energy costs continue to rise
- Demonstrate a wide range of very practical technologies and encourage villagers and visitors to use them at home
Our aspiration is for:
- Insulation for the library and Harbury pre-school building (Wight School), including underfloor heating pipes
- Loft and cavity wall insulation at the Rugby Club
- A new modern efficient boiler in the church – either a biomass boiler (woodburner) or a pair of highly efficient condensing gas boilers
- LED lighting in the church and library
- Solar panels for the Rugby Club
- Interpretation guides to explain what is being achieved, what energy is being saved and generated
- A display panel to show what the village hall solar PV array is generating
- The project is supported by Harbury's Home Energy Advisers
Harbury is a very lively village of about 2500 people with many clubs and societies. As a result the projects would be on display to the many visitors to the village.
HOW OUR GROUP STARTED
The Harbury Energy Initiative began over a pint ... of blood. At the local blood donation session. David Bristow and Bob Sherman, possibly slightly light-headed from loss of blood, decided that they had had enough of talking green and wanted to see it happen for real.
At that time there were few solar panels to be seen in Harbury, little positive discussion of carbon reduction, nowhere obvious to go for advice, and a general feeling that climate change was perhaps a politically inspired myth and individual effort insignificant in delivering any worthwhile benefit to the planet. Villagers talked about wind turbines and electricity generation from other sources than the grid but in terms of some remote technological wonder beyond their means and their reality. Something needed to happen to change this inertia and that something was the Harbury Energy Initiative, which came into being in January 2010.
A small steering group of 8 discussed and determined a programme of influencing opinion and inspiring change. First step was to ensure we were properly connected to the village's leadership and we requested approval and support from the Parish Council. No problem there. Two councillors were already on the team making sure we had a good link. Our first appearance, only two months after we formed, was in support of a Parish Council event to raise awareness of energy efficiency and new technology. From that we were able to bring together a larger group of enthusiasts, all linking into other village activities and networks. In all we had a group of talented and committed people all able to bring their professional skills to play in achieving our goals:
- To reduce the village carbon footprint
- To promote behaviour change to more sustainable living
Another key partner for us has been the school. Children are wonderful ambassadors for great ideas and so they have been for us. You can read more about them in the report below on our Green Memories Green Future event. They need little encouragement - but a lot of guidance! - in promoting a greener world. Cajoling their parents into action will help to deliver the strategy!
ENERGYSHARE AND HARBURY
Energyshare appeared like a shimmering and unfocused mirage in the desert at Ecobuild 2011 through a chance conversation with some British Gas employees. The fund was yet to launch at that stage. When it came clearly into focus and turned out not to be an illusion, we decided that this might well be a way to bring our aspirations to reality.
We are fortunate enough to have members of HEI with experience of efficient buildings, energy solutions and fund raising. Having generated some momentum and lots of interest in the village in the first phase we concentrated on developing a bid aimed at village buildings that are used by both residents and incoming visitors, technologies that deliver energy efficiency and thus savings and new energy generation methods that would provide cost reductions and even income. We had too many ideas, of course - so in the end we had to prioritise rigorously, and our final choices for this bid are listed above.
A key element of this will be demonstrating to users of the buildings what they could do at home and firing their imagination. Individual small efforts, we hope to show, when combined can make a significant difference.
GREEN MEMORIES - GREEN FUTURE EVENT
In October Harbury School and Harbury Energy Initiative put on an all day event. Hundreds joined in celebrating our past and looking to a green future at the Green Memories - Green Future exhibition opened by our MP, Jeremy Wright. The archive photographs showed images and faces from a simpler time, green by default as we had fewer electronic gadgets. There is no doubt that new technology has transformed our lives for the better in terms of efficiency, comfort and convenience but it has also brought threats and complications as our environment suffers from too much carbon release.
Technology, we wanted to show, will undoubtedly have a part to play in solving those problems but we should not underestimate the contribution we can make to the solution through the aggregate of many individual actions. The display of stunning pictures from Earth from Air was enough to show us what we have to lose. What worked well was the exchange of information between people who know and trust each other backed by exhibits that explained what can be done. Having people there who have already invested in change to share their experience was invaluable.
We had both an electric bike and an electric car to demonstrate .....
We have to acknowledge that the Year 6 children from Harbury School were real stars. Not only did they produce an impressive display of potato clocks and solar powered vehicles, but earlier in the year they produced with our support a sustainability survey. This was delivered it to every house in the village. We received over 400 replies, a terrific result. The children then analysed the information and displayed it at the Green Memories - Green Future event in pride of place right behind the head of MP Jeremy Wright as he opened the day. The produced some fabulous graphs - here are some examples.
From the survey replies - assuming that everyone was being honest! - it seems that Harbury residents are setting a quite a good green example. Nearly everyone reuses shopping bags and recycles through the fornightly collections and most of you turn off the tap when cleaning your teeth. Some people go to the trouble of catching the first run off of cold water when you turn the hot tap on for watering plants; others recycle cooking oil and many walk or cycle rather than drive relatively short distances. And there was no shortage of ideas of what else people might think of doing in the future. Many people want to grow their own food!
Harbury Energy Advisers
The Harbury Energy Initiative is working with Act on Energy, Warwickshire's Energy Efficiency Advice Centre, to provide a free Home Energy Check to help you find ways to save energy in your home, save money on your fuel bills, and cut your CO2emissions.
We are not experts, just people from the village who are concerned about energy, and we do not gain any financial benefit from our work. We may be able to offer some suggestions and some contacts, but you will need expert advice if you want to have any major work done.
We start by asking some questions about you and your home – you do not need to answer any of these questions, particularly the ones about your circumstances, but they will allow us to give better advice. For example, depending on your age and whether you are on benefits, some insulation may be available free.
Interested? Contact David Bristow on 612536
To anyone local visitingb this page:
STICK WITH US FOR A BRIGHT GREEN FUTURE.