Supporting bids to the Local Energy Assessment Fund

CSE services were procured by 20 community groups who were awarded funding from the Government’s £10m fund

Project duration: December 2011 to March 2012

CSE’s expertise and unique modelling tools proved invaluable for delivering professional energy assessments across the country in the first part of 2012.

In December 2011, the Government had announced the launch of a £10 million funding package to support communities in investigating energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in their area.

The Local Energy Assessment Fund (LEAF) was aimed at not-for-profit groups and designed to help them assess how they could improve energy efficiency in their local area, increase renewable energy generation, and benefit from policies such as the Green Deal and the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Around 200 groups benefitted from awards of around £50,000 to cover the costs of work such as:

  • analysis of potential for energy efficiency and renewable energy measures (e.g. street-by-street home energy audits)
  • community engagement to highlight these opportunities
  • demonstrations of technologies in local buildings (e.g. installing and showcasing solid-wall insulation)
  • feasibility studies for community scale renewable energy schemes

CSE was able to draw on experience in supporting community energy projects and also on our technical and research expertise. We carried out in-depth analysis of housing stock and renewable energy potential for defined geographical areas, and supported groups who were successfully awarded funds with advice, training, and resources.

At the final count we worked with 20 groups whose bids to LEAF were successful – a terrific hit rate:

Polperro United Renewable Energy (Cornwall) | Quantock Eco (Somerset) | Bedminster Energy Group (Bristol) | Fillongley Carbon Reduction Club (North Warkwickshire) | Knowle West Media Centre, Future Fit (Bristol) | Low Carbon Gordano (Somerset) | Transition Town Taunton (Somerset) | FLoW Community Energy (Somerset) | Ovesco (East Sussex) | Bristol Green Doors | Guildford Borough Council | Greening Alton and Holybourne (Hampshire) | Transition Town Cheltenham (Gloucestershire) | Windmill Hill City Farm (Bristol) | Transition Town Marsden & Slaithwaite (West Yorkshire) | Transition Montpelier (Bristol) | Easton Energy Group (Bristol) | Transition Town Louth (Lincolnshire) | Energy Efficient Widcombe (Bath and North East Somerset) | Transition Town Wilmslow (Cheshire)

“It was a privilege to support so many groups and working with many of them to get their projects off the ground," said Rachel Coxcoon, CSE's Head of Local and Community Empowerment. "The new fund proved very successful in helping to motivate groups and support them in assessing local options for either saving energy or generating renewable energy, and it represents a real boost for the community energy sector.

The funding meant that a huge number of groups across the country were able to commission work and carry out community engagement activity that might not otherwise have taken place.

Many groups are now better equipped in terms of structures, set up, experience in installing improvements and owning their own resources for events and demonstrations. And as a result of the CSE energy assessments there is now an unprecedented amount of data owned by community led groups which can be used to identify the best opportunities in a given area for reducing energy use or harnessing green energy potential.

CSE's 'Housing Assessment Model' proves its worth

In order to carry out the housing assessments, we used a unique ‘Housing Assessment Model’ which generates a robust dataset linked to address point data for a specified geographical area, using a range of data inputs.

For every property in the dataset the model produces a baseline assessment of household energy consumption, CO2 emissions, fuel costs and the SAP rating. It then calculates the best combinations of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures that could be applied to improve the thermal efficiency and sustainability of the housing stock.

The results provide an excellent basis for community groups to identify options and opportunities for developing future projects and schemes to reduce their community’s carbon footprint.

One of the things that community groups said would help them in their public engagement were scale models of cavity-wall and solid-wall insulation. This is what we came up with:

Two of the community groups we worked with have given us permission to upload copies of the reports we produced for them. Note that these are summaries based on much longer reports.

Summary of housing and renewable energy studies in Taunton

Summary of housing and renewable energy studies Failand, Long Ashton and Wraxall

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