About this group
A Green Energy initiative being developed within the Higherford Community.
We are based around the old waterpower site at Higherford Mill, a grade II listed building which the Higherford community, working with the Heritage Trust for the NW, saved from demolition several years ago. The mill is being regenerated as finance permits for local employment, as a centre for creative industries and as a community heritage venue.
Our aim is to encourage people to reduce their own carbon footprint by raising awareness of energy saving techniques and appropriate green technologies as well as make a significant contribution by generating green electricity from reinstated water power.
We are working with the Heritage Trust for the North West which supports many different sustainable community initiatives. The Trust has been working on these since 1999 at Higherford Mill where a sequence of heavy structural repairs has secured this historic mill for future generations. Reuse of the existing building has already saved a vast amount in embodied energy compared with the previous proposal to demolish and replace with new construction. Subsequent programmes of conservation and conversion works have created spaces for many new employment opportunities within our community and are sustaining this cherished local landmark.
Earlier phases of work have started to improve energy performance by incorporating insulation, starting to modernise building services and implementing other thermal efficiency measures. A unique high performance yet low maintenance glazing system has been developed here for the extensive ranges of north lights. This is designed to restore the original Victorian timber frame appearance but also incorporate double glazing, the elimination of serious draughts and better weather and vandal resistance. So far only modest prototype installations could be afforded, so most of the roofs still remain to be done - but work could restart as soon as funding is obtained.
Most of the tenanted units are electrically heated at present, so, as efficiency measures at the mill reduce its own consumption of power, then more green energy could be exported via the grid to reduce the carbon footprint of the community as a whole. As well as insulation other initiatives are being studied including additional control of heating and lighting, solar PV electricity collection from the vast area of south facing roof over the south weaving shed and biomass or air/water/ground source heat pump heating measures. However, the waterwheel driven state of the art electricity generator would be the single most important environmental contributor to the reduction of the local carbon footprint.
Initial engineering studies indicate that a waterwheel hydro generation proposal would be technically and financially viable subject to the necessary local agreements, statutory approvals, funding packages and implementation work being put in place.
Those who have attended open days and other events will have observed the almost full sized waterwheel mock up in the wheel house. The drawings on display show how Pendle Water provided power to the mill for about 140 years until the mid 1960s. They indicate how the proposed new waterwheel might generate clean energy and save tonnes of carbon by producing green electricity for this community once the waterworks have been restored to working order.