WPD fund supports 55 communities

LED lighting popular in this year’s grants for greener community buildings

1 December 2015

This year’s £50,000 Community Chest funding pot has been fully allocated. The grant scheme is for community facilities within the area covered by Western Power Distribution, who provided the funding. The money was shared out between 55 buildings including village halls, arts centres, sports clubs, learning centres and other community buildings to make their premises more energy efficient and cheaper to run.

This is the fourth time the scheme has run and over 200 buildings have now benefitted from grants of up to £1,000 for energy saving improvements. In this round we noticed a big increase in the number of applications for LED lighting. This reflects the huge advances in LED technology over the past five years and a wider understanding of the benefits.

LED lights can save a whopping 90% of a building’s lighting bill, which for community spaces can be quite significant. So it’s no wonder that so many have opted for lighting upgrades, with plans to use the savings made to pay for further improvements in the future. Patchway Community Centre in South Gloucestershire was one of them. The applicant told us: “We have had the LED panels installed in our dim hall and the difference is amazing. It is as if someone has come along and cut skylights in the ceiling, the hall is now very bright and cheerful.

“Of course we have two other added advantages: the total power usage has been halved, or better, and I will not have to balance precariously on the old step ladder changing tubes and starters in the old fluorescents. The money saved means we will not have to put up our room rentals this year so a great saving to all the groups who use the premises.”

Other improvements funded by the scheme include loft and cavity wall insulation, new windows or doors, new heaters or boilers and more efficient electrical appliances. The Old Post Centre in Derbyshire was able to replace three very draughty windows and building managers are delighted with the improvement in both comfort and aesthetics. And the Arts Factory in Rhondda, South Wales are looking forward to a warmer winter thanks to their new combi boiler. Elsewhere Knappe Cross Community Centre in Devon will be making huge savings from installing cavity wall insulation to keep the heat in.

Another aim of the scheme is to encourage community building users to think about their energy use as a whole and to find low cost and free improvements to make as well as more expensive upgrades. Applicants complete a walkaround energy survey before applying to help identify where improvements can be made.

Robert of St Andrew’s Church, Whitestaunton, Somerset said: “Your grant has incentivised us to conduct an energy efficiency audit which has been most helpful. The church is the only community building in the village so we hope to bring more folk in.”

Read about some of the other community buildings which have made energy improvements:

Case study: Heating improvements at Greenway Centre and St Martin's Community Hall

Case study: Lighting upgrades at Trinity Centre and Whisty Community Association

Case study: Secondary glazing at Roll for the Soul and Zion Community Arts Space

Case study: High-performance thermal doors at Dyrham and Hinton village hall

The WPD Community Chest was a grant scheme funded by Western Power Distribution (WPD) and administered by CSE. There was a total funding pot of £50,000. Read more about the scheme here.

Image: flickr, Mike Mozart, reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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