Llangattock Green Valleys in Wales has been named by British Gas as its greenest energy community after winning the British Gas Green Streets challenge.
The team in Llangattock have won £100,000 to spend on a local environmental project of their choice after they impressed judges with their ambition to become a carbon negative community.
Over the last 18 months a number of measures were installed in homes and community buildings helping the people of Llangattock slash their energy use and CO2 emissions. In that time the local school installed solar panels and 100 radiator panels, the village hall installed an air source heat pump and 43 local homes installed 655 energy efficiency and generation measures including insulation, solar panels, a biomass boiler, multi-fuel stoves and new efficient boilers. As a result the community expects to save £62,000 over the next five years and nearly 200 tonnes of CO2.
Llangattock was chosen from 100 nationwide projects to be one of the final 14 communities who would go head-to-head over 14 months as part of the Green Streets challenge - a project helping Britain's communities to save energy and generate their own energy. The competition, which asked communities to come up with their own innovative energy projects, ended on 31 March 2011.
The two runners up in the competition were the Meadows Partnership Trust in Nottingham and the Bradford Bandits BMX Club with both projects receiving their own energy prizes. British Gas will work with a school chosen by the Bradford Bandits to make the school more sustainable and help cut their energy bills by providing measures like solar panels and insulation. The Meadows project will receive support from British Gas to set up its own eco-taxi service of electric cars. Both prizes will be worth around a combined £70,000.
The challenge was independently audited by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) whose report, ‘Green Streets: Strong Communities', analysed the 440 residential houses and 32 community buildings taking part in Green Streets and interviewed 1,300 individuals who were involved or who lived near to one of the Green Streets projects.
Earlier this month, British Gas launched the energyshare tariff, a new Ofgem accredited green tariff which supports community energy projects with funding. The energyshare website has already seen over 800 community energy groups register online highlighting the scale of projects across the UK already taking place.
Gearóid Lane, Managing Director of British Gas New Markets, said:
"Over the last 14 months the people of Llangattock have shown some amazing levels of commitment to cutting carbon emissions, changing their behaviour and educating the wider community about what can be done. We are thrilled to crown them Green Streets champions.
"We believe it is people at a local level who will help revolutionise the way that energy is generated and consumed in Britain. The British Gas Green Streets project is about helping people act as trailblazers to inspire others. Already we have seen 800 other community groups across the country wanting to set up their own energy projects."
Michael Butterfield, Project leader at Llangattock, said:
"We're committed to building on this success, and to helping neighbouring communities develop their own sustainable vision.
"Through Green Streets we've learned that, together, ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things. The past 18 months has been a huge success for us here in Llangattock because we've all been working with a common purpose and a firm belief that our future is not being written for us but by us."
Finalists key achievements:
IPPR estimates that every year;
- Llangattock Green Valleys will generate 3280kWh from microgen on community buildings, 10,717kWh from microgen on households and save 143,055kWh from participating households, resulting in a total financial saving of £12,506.
- The Meadows and MOZES will generate 16,711kWh from microgen on households and save 42,942kWh from participating households, resulting in a total financial saving of £9,821.
- Peel Park BMX will generate 8,115kWh from microgen on community buildings, 3,623kWh from microgen on households, and save 43,695kWh from participating households, resulting in a total financial saving of £7,439.
- The majority of the 14 communities cut their household energy use between 8-15% during the challenge;
- 61% of householders said they would be more likely to take action on energy efficiency and renewable energy in the future as a result of hearing about their local Green Streets project resulting in a community ‘multiplier' effect;
- 50% said they had been inspired to take action on insulation as a result;
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Notes to editors:
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Llangattock is a small hillside village in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Consisting of just over 400 homes, ranging from working farms to holiday lets, and a population of around 1,300. There is a vibrant primary school, a community hall, a church, a chapel, and a small industrial estate, as well as two pubs and a hotel. Llangattock also has a thriving allotments society (entering its third growing season), a community woodland group (working in partnership with private landowners and public bodies including British Waterways) and a dedicated group of litter pickers.
The community began its green journey in late 2008 with NESTA's Big Green Challenge. Residents across the National Park worked together on this year-long project, ultimately winning over £300,000 for community-based green initiatives. Now, through Green Streets, the community is continuing that journey on a local level, finding ways to reduce residents' energy bills and make the village more sustainable.
About The Meadows Partnership Trust, Nottingham
Through donations from the British Gas Green Streets programme, The Meadows has received over £100,000 which has gone to improving the energy efficiency of over 32 homes in the estate. These improvements include providing new, more energy efficient central heating systems, external solid wall insulation and over £2,000 pounds worth of energy efficient products such as eco-kettles and energy efficient light bulbs. In addition to the financing, British Gas has donated on-going specialist engineering and energy-saving advice, which the Meadows has found to be of great support. The funding has also gone towards converting The Embankment Club into an "eco-restaurant" and coffee shop that will benefit the entire community, starting by installing 4kWp of solar PV panels.
About Peel Park BMX, Bradford
Peel Park project, located in Bradford, has the single aim of producing a sustainable source of power for the BMX club's floodlights. To do this the club got involved with Green Streets and created a community made up of club members and local people who are willing to be involved to help achieve this goal. As part of the project, 20 houses also received energy assessments.
About British Gas Green Streets
British Gas Green Streets is a groundbreaking project helping Britain's communities to be greener. British Gas has provided £2 million to fund microgeneration and energy efficiency measures to help 14 communities around the UK save and generate energy. From inner city communities in London and Birmingham to a remote Scottish island, the 14 communities came up with their own innovative energy projects and were selected from 100 applicants to take part in Green Streets 2010/11.
What are the communities doing?
Each community had to come up with an energy project that focussed on saving energy, generating energy locally and engaging their wider community. Each project had at least one community building and at least 15 homes. As a team, they worked with British Gas to execute their plan.
British Gas provided advice and support, as well as technological expertise and carried out energy assessments on all of the residential homes to help all those participating to choose how to save energy.
How did British Gas select the 14 projects?
In October 2009, the Green Streets team set off on a tour of Great Britain to select 14 communities from 40 community shortlisted applications. The shortlisted communities were invited to pitch their idea to a panel of experts who had the tough task of deciding the winner of each heat. The panel consisted of a British Gas Director, an expert from the Centre for Alternative Technology and where possible, someone from the local media.
The panel was chaired by the Institute for Public Policy Research who ensured the decision was fair. 12 projects were selected at the heats plus 2 ‘wild card' places which were allocated after all of the heats had taken place.