October 2014 Newsletter

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Welcome to this month’s Transition happenings in Bath…

October Newsletter

After a successful Bath Green Homes Open Homes Weekend at the end of September which attracted 700 home visits Transition Bath is settling into its winter program. We are launching the 2nd year of our thermal imaging service early next month and BWCE is busy raising the £1.6milion for the Wilmington Solar Farm it is developing just outside Marksbury.

Open Homes weekend success!

Bath Green Homes’ third Open Homes Weekend took place on 27th and 28th September, inspiring over 400 people from all over Bath and beyond. In total over 700 visits were made during the weekend, helped by the welcoming faces of 44 volunteer stewards, at 18 different locations around the city.

These featured homes of all ages and types, as well as new housing developments at Bath Western Riverside and Ralph Allen Yard, and an exhibition at the Building of Bath Collection. As one visitor said “It’s so helpful to see what someone else has done in a home like ours, as we start our retrofit journey”.

If you missed the weekend, you can still join us at our programme of talks and workshops, running through November – we hope to see you there!

Transition Bath Thermal Imaging Project 2014/2015

We are restarting our popular thermal imaging service in November after last year’s successful project. The aim is to offer low cost thermal imaging to home owners in Bath to help them quickly visualise and therefore identify opportunities to make their homes more efficient and reduce waste. Last year we shared the project with Energy Efficient Widcombe and Bathford Energy Group, and hopefully this year Transition Larkhall will be involved. We are also providing training to Frome Renewable Energy Co-op in their first year of surveying,

At the moment we are looking for volunteer surveyors who are interested in being trained to use the camera and have an interest in surveying not just their own homes but those of neighbours, friends and family. Free 2 hour hand-on training courses will take place during November and December.

This year’s project kicks off on November 4th with a project meeting to discuss what we can learn from last year and to plan this year. If you are interested in becoming a surveyor or helping out with the project, please come along to the meeting. If you are interested in having your home surveyed please complete this form and we will get back to you once we have got ourselves organised!

Thanks to University of Bath student volunteers

We already have student volunteers working on Vegmead, led by Integrated PhD Sustainable Chemical Technologies. At a recent volunteering weekend, some undergraduates built a wood store at our community nuttery at Smallcombe.
We cooked soup and baked potatoes on the fire and, being a food group event, there was plenty of cake!

United Nations Day of Peace on 21st September
The nuttery was also the venue for a Dawn Picnic to mark Peace Day, and to support Peace One Day. Remarkably, despite the early start, people did turn up at 7.30 am – bringing sausages and blackberry fritters, eaten sitting in brilliant sunshine.

Transition Bath has been providing environmental advice to Fungi Fruit’s Mushroom Farm under Green Park Station

In July Hugh Prentice, Transition Bath’s treasurer asked our energy group for help solving an overheating problem which had significantly reduced the yield from his mushroom farm.

Recommendations from ourselves and others resulted in zoning of the vaults and the installation of fans. We are also participating in further research which includes thermal imaging, temperature logging and testing blue LEDs.

Hugh’s farm ‘Fungi Fruits’ is now back up in full production and if you would like to sample the oyster mushrooms he produces he has a stand at Green Park Farmers Market every Saturday, about 2 metres above where his mushrooms are farmed!

A fuller write-up of this project, including background on growing mushrooms, our analysis, recommendations and ongoing research is available here.

BWCE installs 38kW of solar PV on council offices in Manvers Street, Central Bath

Bath and West Community Energy have just installed 38 kWp of solar PV on top of the council offices at Lewis House in Manvers Street. The installation should reduce the carbon emissions of the offices by 8%.The installation captures maximum solar radiation on a roof that is not ideally orientated by facing the panels east and west

We hope this installation serves as an example to other property owners in Central Bath that it is possible to unobtrusively install solar panels on their roof tops and reduce their carbon emissions. More information is available here.

And….the BWCE share offer is still open for its largest project yet, the Wilmington Solar Farm just outside Marksbury

BWCE’s public share offer is still open, raising money to build the Wilmington Farm Solar Array. Once built the community owned array will generate 2.34 MWp of clean energy. If you are interested in becoming a shareholder and want to help make Bath more sustainable further information is available here. The shares offer a target 7% per annum return over 25 years. For tax payers EIS tax credit is available which means you could get back up to £300 in tax relief for every £1000 invested.

BWCE also aim to donate to surplus profits to the Community Fund to make grants for other low carbon projects. The fund could receive up to £750,000 over the life of this array.

If you have any questions, please contact BWCE or visit one of their roadshow events at Keynsham, Bradford-on-Avon, Radstock, Wellsway, Larkhall, or Central Bath . The deadline for the investment is 14 November 2014.

Update on the Chelsea Road Project

In July Transition Bath’s Transport & Built Environment group launched the second phase of its Chelsea Road Project.The project’s aim is to promote walking, cycling and bus travel to the Chelsea Road shops and services in the Newbridge area of Bath.

The design group, which was made up of local people, fed suggestions into the design of a questionnaire which was delivered to the households within a 10 minute walk of Chelsea Road in July. The questionnaire asked for feedback on 7 suggested improvements to the built environment of Chelsea Road including pedestrianisation, moving bus stops and opening up the cemetery for walking and cycling.

The initial feedback varied from very positive support for opening up the cemetery, to concerns of traffic being displaced onto surrounding residential side roads if pedestrianisation were to take place. We will provide a full report once we have collated all the feedback. We hope to use Chelsea Road as a model for other local shopping areas throughout Bath.

Bath Western Riverside Energy Centre and District Heating System opened in September

Bath Western Riverside Energy Centre opened in September and has the capability to provide 800 of the newly built Crest Nicolson homes with low carbon hot water and heating via a district heating system. This is achieved using biomass and gas CHP boilers, the centre has the capability to deliver 2,000 showers for 5 minutes!
There is a more detailed write-up of how the centre works, its capability and specifications on our website.

Help required: have you used the Green Deal and can you help us provide case studies?

Bath council are currently offering up to £7,000 in subsidies on energy efficiency measures like solid wall insulation and gas boilers under their Energy at Home scheme. If you have used the scheme or are considering it, we would like your feedback on your experiences so we can encourage others to make use of the scheme and upgrade their homes.

We are looking to provide brief anonymous case studies to illustrate some of the costs and benefits of using the scheme. For example “Chris had external solid wall insulation installed on the side and back walls of her Victorian end-terrace house. The work cost £4,000, but she received a £2,000 subsidy from B&NES, and apart from making her home less damp and more cosy it is estimated that she will save £300 from her gas bill each year“.

If you can help us we would really appreciate it, please contact us at energy@transitionbath.org


Transition Bath is a charity that relies on donations to fund its activities run by volunteers. We use the money to fund events and produce marketing material for those events. At the moment we have about £2,000 of outgoings each year, approximately £720 for accountancy fees and £450 for insurance but only £600 of income from gift-aided regular donations from a small number of individuals. We do get some income from a 10% charge for administering funded projects like Bath Green Homes but this income is sporadic and can’t be relied upon. We therefore would like to make up some of the short-fall between our £600 income and £2,000 out-goings otherwise rather than focussing on helping make Bath more sustainable we will have to ask our volunteers to focus on fund raising which we would prefer not to do.

Any donations either on a regular basis or a one-off would be appreciated and would help us to continue to work towards a low carbon future, click here if you can help us. Even £2 per month would make a big difference!

Other news

  • LED lighting: The LED lighting ‘try before you buy’ kit is ready; we are just waiting for Bath Central Library to process it. In the meantime it is being passed around the our Energy Group volunteers for evaluation and feedback
  • Curo Planning Application for 700 homes at Foxhill: Curo have recently submitted their outline planning application for Foxhill. Unfortunately the baseline sustainability application is for the lowest energy efficiency standards under current building regulations, despite ‘the highest environmental standards’ being the 2nd top priority in their survey of residents (after affordable homes). The submission includes no onsite allotment provision, although Curo claim to be providing offsite provision, but it is not part of the application. They are also providing 25% less open space than the council requested in its ‘Concept Statement’. You can make your feelings known to the council’s planning officers here, but the deadline is Oct 30th
  • Is your tradesperson suitably qualified? B&NES council under their ‘Energy at Home’ scheme are providing up to 75% subsidies to train local tradesman in more sustainably building methodologies and technologies. Next time you employ someone to work on your house, could you ask them whether they have taken any these courses and if not could you encourage them to do so?

Please contact group convenors if you’d like to get involved, plan an event or start a project: