Open Homes for a more Sustainable Future
At the weekend over 750 visits were made to 12 homes in the Stroud area to see renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in action and in addition well over 400 people visited Randwick Village Hall to see the eco-exhibitions and the official opening of the hall (i). Below is the press release that I sent out - I have to say while it was a great weekend I am kinda of glad it is over now as lots to catch up with!!
See also the childrens poster competition here, my blog re the opening of the Village Hall plus photos here and lastly more re the Village Hall here.
Photos Tranquilty House and Bowbridge Lane Wood Pellet boiler.
Philip Booth, the Coordinator of the Transition Stroud project who organised the opening of the 12 homes and exhibitions in Randwick Village Hall said: "We've been blown away by the response. Interest in energy efficiency and renewable energy is huge. The homeowners have had constant flows of visitors all weekend and most could not have coped with larger numbers. Enormous thanks must go to these pioneers for opening their homes to help others and give advice - indeed the whole project has been put together by volunteers and thanks must also go to them all (ii)."
WI nearly run out of cakes!
Randwick Village Hall had over 150 attend the Hall Opening with speeches by the Village Hall Committee members Alan Tomlinson and Val Flack, the District councillor for the ward, Cllr Philip Booth and Wap Mayor Stan Giles who cut the official ribbon. Flowers were presented to Krista Harris of Stroud District Council for her help with gaining the grants and to Alan Tomlinson's wife, Sue for her support. In total on the Saturday well over 400 people visited the hall, which is claimed to be the countries first carbon neutral village hall and has various insulation measures, PV and a Ground Source Heat pump which were all on show to the public along with exhibitions on energy advice, grants and various technologies.
Photos: details of external insulation at one home, the cycle group off to visit another home and in another home learning about lime plaster.
Philip Booth commenting on the Village Halls' eco-makeover said: "The Village Hall committee, Alan Tomlinson, Val and Harden Flack and Mort Watkins have been absolutely amazing with this: it is lots of hard work to pull in the grants and get a project like this together. We are very fortunate to have such a great team which has been supported by so many in the village. It was amazing to have over 400 people visit the hall and see the exhibitions. At one point I got worried the WI would run out of cakes - but I should have remembered that has never occurred in their history and somehow other cakes were rustled up for the teas there. Indeed the money raised from the teas will be going towards the next project; improvements to the hall's toilet facilities."
Tranquility had over 250 visitors
Most of the homes were having over 50 visitors to see measures including wood pellet boilers, lime plasters, solar thermal, green roofs, co-housing, rainwater harvesting, external insulation and more (see website with details: www.stroudopenhomes.org.uk).
However Tranquility House that has been dubbed by the Building Contracts Journal as ‘the most energy efficient house in the world’ had over 250 visitors over the weekend.
Philip Booth said: "Tranquility House takes a very different approach to some of the other homeowners. Those who joined the tours there were given much thought-provoking information. I had the chance to talk with some of the people going around the various homes and they were grateful for the chance to discuss the possible measures and get views about the best way forward for their homes. I was also surprised to find that folk had travelled from Worcester, Bristol and a whole host of other places to see the homes. Apparently there are only two or three similar Open Homes schemes around the country - Stroud leading the way again!"
Walks and Cycle
A cycle and walk tour went around the homes over the weekend and one further walk is going ahead on Sunday 21st September as part of the Walking Festival The four mile walk will be 10am- 4.30pm (approximately) and go around Rodborough including Tranquility House.
Philip Booth added: "Many people expressed concern about rising energy prices and the challenges climate change presents. Houses account for a quarter of UK CO2 emissions. New builds only account for less than 1% of homes and so even if we do them more sustainably we still have to sort out our older homes. Retrofitting older buildings is preferable to demolition as it avoids waste and saves the embodied energy within them rather than using more energy to make new buildings - quarrying, transporting and processing raw materials as well as construction all take lots of energy. It has been great to see the enthusiasm from the community for this Open Homes project from people in all walks of life. Let us hope it translates into eco-renovations across the whole District!"
(i) Transition Stroud will be compiling a brief report on the day: not all feedback forms from the homes have been collected yet, but the figures are based on numbers counted or estimated by the homeowners.
(ii) In addition to thanks to the homeowners thanks must also go also to Stroud District Council for funding the leaflet, Debbie Hewitt for organising the walks, the Greenshop for funding our website and Transition Stroud members who helped organise especially Paul and Claire Sheriden, Greg Dance, Dave Crane, Dave Cockcroft, James Beecher, Imogen Shaw and John Albar