Local Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF) Project
January – March 2012

The QE Bishops Lydeard Group has been successful on obtaining significant funding from DECC to undertake a number of energy related activities in BL.

We heard about  LEAF on December 7th 2011.   We had to apply for a grant from the Fund by December 23rd.  We got the news that we had been successful in getting a grant on January 13th 2012.   We heard how much money we have been given on January 19th.  We are launching our project on January 28th and
the whole project has to close by March 31st!
Do join us at our launch on Saturday, January 28th at 11.00am in the Church Room (upstairs) at Bishops Lydeard Church to celebrate and hear more about what we plan to do.

There are three parts to the QE LEAF project.

a)     We will establish an Energy Advice Centre in the upper room at Bishops Lydeard Church Rooms.
(The Church Rooms are immediately to the right of the church).

The EAC will be preparing householders so that they can benefit from the new Green Deal. The Government is proposing to introduce the Green Deal in 2012/13 as a way of improving the energy efficiency of the nation’s homes and reducing carbon emissions to the environment.
As we understand it at the moment, the government proposes a ‘Pay as you Save’ Green Deal by lending money for energy efficiency improvements which will be paid back (at little or no interest) over the long term.   Watch this space!

The Energy Advice Centre will be open  Wednesdays to Saturdays, 10.00am – 2.00pm and  Thursday evening 7.00pm – 9.00pm.
Access to the Energy Advice Centre will be free and each visitor will receive a 50p voucher to spend in local businesses on their first visit.
The Centre will be manned at all times by volunteers and training will be available for volunteers this coming Saturday, January 28th at 1.30pm in the Centre. Please ring Jill Gray 01823 432017 if you can help us.

  • The Centre will provide masses of information, leaflets and ideas about ways to save energy in your home.
    There will be advice on:                  draught prevention,
    loft insulation,
    cavity wall fillings,
    solid wall insulation,
    secondary glazing,
    central heating controls,
    damp and condensation,
    Economy 7 electricity supply,
    reading your gas/electricity meter,
    understanding your gas/electricity bill,
    room heaters,
    switching energy suppliers,
    using a night storage heater,
    how much electricity appliances in your home are using,
    grants available to help you improve the energy efficiency of your home.

We will also be able to arrange a free Energy Audit of your home.
We can arrange for a local Energy Advisor to visit your home at a time to suit you.  He or she will talk you through a questionnaire which will pinpoint specific practical actions to take in your home  to save you energy and money.
To put some of their advice into practice will cost you very little and save you money.  To put other advice into practice will cost you modest amounts and will save you hundreds of pounds in the longer term.
All the Advisors we will recommend are trained and vetted by Taunton Deane and will also be able to advise you on the grants available in this area to enable you to make your home more comfortable and cheaper to run by being more energy efficient.

We will also be offering the free loan of an energy monitor.  These are easy to set up and show the amount and cost of the electricity being used.

We are also hoping  to have the use of an infrared camera.   These cameras take thermal pictures of a house to show the parts of the house that most of the heat is escaping from.  For example – from the roof, through the walls, through the windows etc.
There will be a small charge for using this camera on your house.
More information about this exciting technology will be available from our Advice centre in the next couple of weeks.

b)     Home Energy Survey

The Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol will be helping us to run a survey on the housing stock of Bishops Lydeard.
QE has got the grant to do this work as it is thought that in-depth investigation of Bishops Lydeard will produce a body of information that will be of great value to our Parish Council and others like it as they prepare plans to reduce the carbon footprints of their communities.
No individual properties will be identified in the survey.
The focus of our information gathering will be to establish the types of houses that exist in our village and what are the energy use characteristics of those types of houses.
In order to carry out this survey effectively we will need the co-operation of householders.
We will also need lots of local volunteers to help with this survey.  Each questionnaire will take about 15 minutes and there are 750 houses in the village!
Please let us know if you can help us in carrying out the surveys. If you would prefer it as a householder you can complete the survey at the Energy Advice Centre at the Parish Rooms.
We will be leafletting the village very soon asking for your help and co-operation and will be very grateful to everyone who gets involved.
If we complete the survey in detail the information gathered will make a real difference to the quality of life of our village and the individuals in it so
please help!

c)     Community Renewable Energy Generation Scheme.

For some time now Quantock Eco members have been investigating whether it would be possible to set up, in Bishops Lydeard,  some sort of community renewable energy generation scheme,  probably using photovoltaic cells.
Through our LEAF success we now have the opportunity to pursue this more actively with the support of experts from the Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol.
There will be much more about this development in due course.  Please contact Mike Rigby (mike@mikerigby.org) if you are interested in this aspect of our LEAF project.

We do hope you will benefit from our activities over the weeks ahead.   We are aiming to save you money and improve the comfort of your home.
Please watch out for our leaflets and posters and join in our project.  This is a real opportunity for Bishops Lydeard.

If you would like to be more actively involved please ring me (Jill Gray) on 01823 432017.

Bishops Lydeard LEAF Project Progress Report   10.03.2012

Jill Gray & Ian Myers write

We are now just over half way through the BL LEAF Project so it’s a good time to take stock of progress so far. It seems ages since Jeremy Browne joined us to open the Energy Advice Centre back at the end of January as so much has happened since then.

The BL team, and others have worked incredibly hard in the village and we have created a real awareness of energy efficiency and a real buzz around Quantock Eco.

The Energy Advice Centre Church Rooms

One significant element of the project is the Energy Advice Centre. This is open Wednesdays to Saturdays 10.00am – 2.00pm and Thursday evenings. You can find us if you go up the path through St Mary’s churchyard, Bishops Lydeard, keeping the new Daisy Cottage café on your right (well worth a visit!).We have displays that cover all aspects of energy efficiency and energy generation. We are able to direct householders to special deals currently available for loft insulation and cavity wall insulation and have extensive information on grants available in Taunton Deane and West Somerset. We can also advise on switching suppliers if that is appropriate. There are models that show methods of external and internal solid wall insulation which so many people still need.All the information sheets can be taken away to study at home and energy monitors can be booked for hire. Our QE BL Energy Audit team and the TDBC Energy Advisors are available to do Home Energy Audits where this would help.There is no charge for any of these services, indeed to thank visitors for coming to the EAC – each visitor gets a voucher to spend in local BL businesses. We’ve had over 50 visitors to date – some people come with specific problems and we can direct them to experts elsewhere, other people don’t know where to start and find the variety of leaflets very helpful. When appropriate we can refer people for grant support and so far we have been able to help over thirty families some of whom we came across during the Housing Survey described below. We’ve had a great team helping to staff the EAC and are very grateful to the Parochial Church Council for the lovely accommodation and all the help they have given us.

Last week we held a most informative evening organised by John Holden of Utilities WareHouse explaining how it is possible to save a lot of money on your household utility bills by amalgamating under the one supplier. (For details see our website www.quantockeco.org.uk/whatsnew). Ian Myers, our QE BL Chair also gave us an excellent, wide ranging presentation on society’s use of energy worldwide and emphasised how utterly unsustainable our present behaviour is.

Our final focus from the EAC will be a campaign, running over the next three weeks, to offer as many people as possible in Bishops Lydeard the opportunity to have a thermal image taken of their house but a charge will have to be made. These thermal images show where the heat is escaping from a house and are often very surprising. The challenge is that the images are best taken in the very early morning before the sun warms surfaces. The heating also has to be left on all night so the camera can record a true picture of heat loss. If you live in Bishops Lydeard and would like to be involved please contact us at the EAC or ring 07503 331530.

The BL LEAF Housing Survey has also been a massive effort. We have interviewed over 220 villagers by knocking on doors with each survey taking on average 10 minutes. Remember some of those beastly cold days in February? We were out there! We had to get information on a representative spread of Bishops Lydeard households.
The actual conversations we had with householders were often really stimulating and we were very rarely turned away. Sometimes we arrived at just the wrong moment with hilarious consequences!
The survey we were using is presented below and you might find it interesting to complete questions on your own property. Don’t forget, if you don’t have good, deep loft insulation and cavity wall filling (where appropriate) do get in touch – we can help, wherever you live.

We haven’t had any feedback yet from the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE). They are doing the number crunching of the survey returns. We anticipate that when the final report does materialise it will be of great interest to us and to Bishops Lydeard Parish Council. We have three members of the Parish Council in QE BL and Ian Myers was able to address the Parish Council last month to bring them up to speed on what we are doing.The Green Deal, due to be introduced in the Autumn of this year, will allow householders to borrow finance for energy efficiency measures which will be paid back from the expected savings. Our Housing Survey aims to highlight property types in the village and what can be done to reduce the carbon emissions from each type of house.Every family that completed a survey for us will be entered into a prize draw next week. We anticipate three happy sets of winners enjoying a free meal in either The Lethbridge Arms, The Bird in Hand or Daisy Cottage.

The third aspect of our LEAF bid was to secure funding to investigate how we might organise a renewable energy generation (Photo Voltaic) project in BL. Clive Martin from BL PC has already done a lot of work in this area. We now await a report from CSE which will use nationally held geographic information to draw up some broad guidelines as to how we could proceed successfully. Meanwhile Clive has enlisted the support of local eco-architect, Keith Dicken (RIBA) to visit three community owned premises in the village that could benefit from installing energy efficiency measures and a PV system.  He will then negotiate with the management committees of the community owned premises to facilitate the creation and circulation of reports from Keith Dicken.

BL LEAF group

The LEAF project has put energy issues on the map in Bishops Lydeard and raised the profile of Quantock Eco. The challenges around energy costs and climate change are significant but we can take positive action to help people many of whom are stuck in a cycle of fuel poverty’. Ian Myers

LEAF Housing Energy Survey

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