Saving Energy - Stafford's North End Community Centre
The many users of Stafford's North End Community Centre can look forward to a warmer and cosier time in the cold weather thanks to a package of measures to improve the building's energy efficiency. This popular venue, located on Holmcroft Road, has benefitted from an energy audit and funding package through the Warmer Holmcroft project, run by Sustainability Matters in conjunction with Stafford Borough Council. The measures include a new, more efficient condensing gas boiler for the central heating, plus cavity and loft insulation. Taken together, these improvements should drastically cut the heating bill, saving around £1200 each year, or roughly half the total energy costs for the building. Furthermore, the building's annual carbon emissions will fall by more than 5 tonnes.
A few streets away, the Arthur Findlay Centre has also taken on the energy efficiency challenge. Again, with support from the Borough Council and Sustainability Matters, through the Warmer Holmcroft project, an energy audit was undertaken, indicating a number of priority measures and actions. Subsequent improvements have included two new boilers, cavity wall insulation and a lighting upgrade, and these were celebrated at an ‘open day’ attracting 250 people, where there was also a stall to promote energy efficiency and provide advice to regular users, local residents and visitors. With energy bills going in one direction and cooler weather around the corner, make sure you keep the draughts out.
Saving Energy - Signpost Centre, Highfields
This way to energy saving!
Ken Down, who looks after the Signpost Centre at Highfields, shares his energy saving journey so far:
“When I began my job I soon discovered what a lot we were spending on electricity bills, especially over the winter.
I wondered if there was more we could do to improve the energy efficiency of our building, to not only save us money - which could be put to better use in our community work - but also to improve our carbon footprint.
We thought a good place to start would be to improve insulation. Our building on Highfields is rented from Stafford Borough Council, and, after going through the right channels we got quotes for both cavity wall insulation and extra loft insulation. We were able to obtain a grant via the Council as part of their programme to support sustainable development and tackle climate change. The cavity wall insulation was thus installed in early July. We also eventually found funding for loft insulation.
Since then we have been able to save energy in another way - and now have some prominent new cycle parking stands outside the Centre too.
Stafford and Rural Homes Eco House
A while ago Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) embarked on a project to restore a vacant house on North Avenue, off the Stone Road in Stafford, as an ‘eco house’.
SARH asked the Council's Partnerships Co-ordinator to get involved in this project who in turn encouraged the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Sustainability Matters, plus staff from the Health Team here at the Council, to get involved too, thus tapping into a range of expertise.
SARH have emphasised energy efficiency in the new home, installing external wall cladding, super efficient lighting, double glazing, loft insulation and an electrical car recharging point, plus solar thermal and solar photo-voltaic systems on the roof. They have also installed raised beds, a greenhouse and shed, compost bins and several water butts.
In addition to these features, the Council has been able to provide advice and some funding, to upgrade the Solar PV system, install permeable paving and purchase two adult electric bikes, as well as to introduce features to make the garden more wildlife friendly. Bird tables, nest boxes and a bee house have been installed, and various habitats created. Climbers have been planted up the fence and shed and a wildflower border created to attract bees and butterflies. A native hedgerow, a bog garden and a ‘habitat pile’ have been created plus two herb planters, which will also provide fragrant herbs for the new family to use. We are also providing support through a Gardening and Cooking Course for the new family.
Stafford and Rural Homes were keen for the new family to take up the eco-banner so set up a selection process to choose tenants with a commitment to living a greener lifestyle.
The winners convinced the judges that they were the right tenants for this special home, partly as a result of their daughter's lovely artwork.