By Mark Engineer
Well, it’s all been happening! And despite the challenges of undertaking a pioneering project during such unprecedented times, CommuniHeat is well on track.
By early February we’d been contacted by over 80 residents wanting to help Barcombe in its transition to net zero emissions by volunteering their homes for monitoring equipment installations and surveys. That’s a brilliant response – thank you everyone who has responded, signed up, sent in questions and attended our evening webinars.
To inform the CommuniHeat project we need a total of 200 homes to sign up to our free home energy assessments. With this in mind, we’re entering anyone responding from 1st March into a prize draw. One lucky winner will get to spend a night (in the week and out of holiday season) at Barcombe’s very own Secret Campsite, in either the Gridshell or Tree Tent, courtesy of the wonderful Tim and Lisa Bullen. Thanks guys! Remember everyone who takes part also receives a voucher to spend locally and we provide you with a bespoke home report and recommendations to make your home low carbon.
Our Home Energy Champions Frank, Bruce and Rafferty have been busy contacting residents, installing monitoring equipment and undertaking energy surveys. Don’t forget as well as undertaking the surveys the Champions can help advise you on your energy bills and the best ways to save energy at home.
In other news, in January we made the TV news! Many of you will have seen it, but if you haven’t it’s on YouTube – just put “CommuniHeat Project Barcombe – BBC London and South East” into the search engine of your choice, and you’ll be able to see the aforementioned Tim Bullen and Ovesco’s very own Chris Rowland being interviewed. Since the piece went out we’ve heard from many other rural communities – not just across Sussex but in Devon, Wales, Herefordshire, Hampshire and more – who have been inspired and want to do something similar. It’s great to see such appetite for change across the country. As you may know, we’re busy writing a book about the project which we hope will give guidance to other communities like ours who want to go zero carbon.
And finally, as part of our effort to understand the best solutions for the village to collectively move away from oil heating, you’ll soon see our new weather station, which will be installed at The Secret Campsite. The station will closely monitor local conditions, including temperatures and the amount of solar radiation and wind in the area. We’ll use the data from the weather station along with the data being collected from homes to more accurately predict how new low carbon heating and generation in the village will behave. This will allow improved understanding of how heating demand and solar PV generation would change depending on local weather. This is particularly important to assess those times when the electricity network might be struggling – especially in extreme conditions such as the cold winters of 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.
Keep an eye on FaceBook, www.communiheat.org and Barcombe news for updates. And keep those questions and ideas coming! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01273 472405 and speak to one the Ovesco team. Or stop me for a chat if you see me out and about – I really don’t mind!