Starting a project is a bit like the story of the chicken and the egg – which came first? In this case is it the idea? Is it the Steering Group? Or is it the Community Partners? What matters is that we are working together towards a common goal.
In March 2020, the Steering Group and the School, Community Association, Church and Cricket Club leaders collectively agreed to support the sustainable buildings project. Once the objectives had been formally discussed and agreed, and the leaders had received the support of their management committees, volunteers were appointed from each group to work together on the project. Since then they have shared information and factfinding research. In May all the partners unanimously agreed to apply for the Feasibility Study grant which requires us to conduct a Community Survey.
The Partners working together
Already, we have had some notable success with buildings data and knowledge willingly shared. By benchmarking the utility prices and supply contracts the Church, for instance, will make a projected saving of £800 per year.
Analysis of the energy surveys led to the research tasks being shared between the volunteers and this reduced the overall workload for each organisation.
The Feasiblity Study
If our application for an independent study is granted then the viability of our project will be established. The study will provide alternative approaches and practical solutions for our ideas and give useful facts and figures to aid our decision-making.
It will provide tailored information on viable technologies with running costs and specifications to enable us to obtain quotes for the works. It will also suggest possible sources of funding from both loans and grants.
Carbon Neutral Buildings: The challenges
What makes our project interesting to Selby District Council as a pilot project is that our range of buildings is typical of many villages.
A Village school – built in the 1990s
A Village Church - a listed heritage monument
and Village Hall – built in the 1960s
A Sports Club – well cared for but short of basic facilities such as connections to mains gas and main drainage
A Community Centre – run by volunteers
A great idea but how will we pay for it? We will apply for grants from many different organisations
What sort of technology will we use? We don’t know yet that will depend upon the study
Who is going to do the work? Normally the work would go out to three tenders to meet grant criteria
Which organisation will get priority? It depends from which fund we obtain the grant. Some might be specific such as Sport England for the Cricket Club.
Do you have any other questions? If so just contact us.
The Steering Group
The Steering Group comprises Chris Hailey-Norris, CEO of Selby District AVS and Development Officer for Selby District Council Western Community Engagement Forum (WCEF), Kate Urwin, the Yorkshire Energy Doctor CIC, who offers free and independent advice on energy matters in the Selby Area and Ray and Sue Newton, village residents, who approached them with the idea and asked if it was something they would support.
Ray is acting as Project Manager.
The WCEF were about to discuss and formalise their support for this project in March, when the Pandemic and lockdown stopped everything. Their leaders recognise the villages’ efforts towards making their buildings carbon neutral and how they could serve as a role model for other communities. When their normal activities restart, we look forward to receiving their formal support.