Press release: OxFutures GreenFund allocates over £32,000 of funding to low carbon and energy efficiency projects

OxFutures GreenFund project has approved over £32,000 of funding for two innovation projects in the low carbon sector and one project to install energy efficiency measures.

Energy saving

The Abbey Sutton Courtenay, a retreat and conference centre near Abingdon, is saving money and improving the comfort of guests with an energy efficiency make-over of their guesthouse. The majority of the measures recommended in their free OxFutures energy audit will be implemented, with the help of ERDF funding and a grant of £5,000 from TOE2 and Grundon Waste Management, who the Low Carbon Hub are collaborating closely with to provide match funding. The project includes replacing old, poorly controllable night storage heaters, with modern thermostatic electric wall-mounted heaters, preventing loss of heat with insulation for lofts and walls and new thermal window blinds, and installing efficient LED lighting. Much of the work will be done by volunteers, including from Shed Oxford, a not-for-profit organisation bringing people together in a community recycling and creative workshop based at the Abbey which uses and develops members’ practical skills, builds new friendships and fosters personal wellbeing.

Linda Hull, development manager at The Abbey, said:

“It’s great to be making such fundamental changes to our energy systems in the guesthouse – not only will we save money but our guests will be even more cosy and we’ll be doing our bit for the environment too. The whole audit process helped us to think clearly and we’re absolutely delighted to get funding to make the recommendations a reality.”

 

Innovation in low carbon

One innovation project successfully awarded funding was community group Hook Norton Low Carbon who have been offered an initial £4,500 innovation grant to help fund a Project Manager for the feasibility stage of their community-led housing scheme. The project will work with the local Hook Norton community to develop a small overgrown village site, currently owned by Cherwell District Council, with the aim of providing 8-12 affordable, low-carbon homes for those with a local connection to the village.

Alison Grunewald, Business Relationship Manager for the ERDF project said:

This project will be significantly shaped by the local community and Hook Norton Parish Council through a community-wide consultation. Some of the low carbon initiatives to be explored are really exciting and innovative, from building and transport options, to a micro-grid linked to on-site renewables and the feasibility of community funding, including a local share scheme.”

The second innovation grant of just over £16,500 was awarded to the community group Osney Lock Hydro, to work in collaboration with Low Carbon West Oxford, Co-op Energy and Energy Local.

Energy Local have developed a ‘local balancing’ market model that allows communities to produce and sell their renewable energy generation locally, which they have piloted in Bethesda in north Wales. The first roll-out of the model is planned for Osney Island, where electricity from the community owned hydro-scheme would supply residents on the Island. Local householders will benefit from becoming energy customers buying cheaper electricity and the wider community benefits from the increased income of the community-owned hydro. Energy Local will undertake technical and legal feasibility work and Low Carbon West Oxford will carry out community engagement and local market testing with the support of the ERDF funding.

 

About the OxFutures project

OxFutures is a partnership project funded by the European Regional Development Fund that will develop the low carbon economy in Oxfordshire. Led by Low Carbon Hub working with Oxford City Council, Cherwell District Council, Oxford University, Oxford Brookes University and Bioregional, the three-year project will enable knowledge sharing between academics, local authorities and small and medium enterprises, encourage networks, and offer grants for the development of new products, services and start-ups.

If you are a small or medium sized business and would like to receive a free energy audit, you can contact Low Carbon Hub on 01865 246099 or email info@lowcarbonhub.org or apply online at www.oxfutures.org.