Saltford Environment Group
Solar power over Saltford. © SEG 2014.
SEG Home > Energy (low carbon)
Energy (low carbon)
"Wasting energy costs the earth"
We can all take steps to stop wasting energy, whether it's changing our habits or through improving our homes. In our businesses, reducing energy costs and carbon emissions also makes perfect business sense.
As global demand for finite fossil fuels outstrips available supplies leading to higher energy costs and the prospect of energy shortages, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources will provide communities like ours with a better and more secure future whilst reducing our carbon emissions that lead to climate change (see our climate change page for information, advice and guidance on adapting to climate change impacts).
For the latest sources of advice and grants for saving energy at home see our 'Energy in the home' section below.
Advice and Guidance
We have suggested sources of advice and guidance on this page to help you find the relevant source of independent advice and expertise that you need for reducing your energy costs and carbon footprint at home or in the workplace (see the links on the top right hand side of this page).
SEG maintains links with local campaign groups in the B&NES area on this subject as well as lobbying the Government at national level. We have a special Fracking page where you can discover more about this controversial subject and see what it may mean for the wider community in which we live.
SEG held discussions with Bath & West Community Energy (BWCE) in 2012 concerning the potential for hydro-electric power generation on the River Avon in Saltford. The head heights of the two weirs on our river are low (around 1 metre) and make the use of most turbine technologies including modern designs for water wheel/turbine systems only marginal in the present climate.
Nevertheless, we remain hopeful that at some point a suitable solution that is sound on both a technical and economic level can be found for generating hydro-power in Saltford. SEG shall maintain a watching brief on the emergence of funding support for renewable energy schemes arising from central Government or from B&NES.
Energy in the home
'Are YOU doing your bit? Think global, act local'
When we waste energy at home we are not only wasting our own money but we are also causing 'avoidable pollution'. We show in this section sources of advice including grants to help householders reduce their energy consumption in the home.
Latest sources of advice
Energy at Home Advice Service
B&NES Council and the Centre for Sustainable Energy are working together to give residents across B&NES easier access to grants and loans for insulation and boiler upgrades as well as energy assessments and advice. Whilst some of the funding schemes are subject to eligibility, there is free and impartial advice available to all householders.
You can ring the Energy at Home Advice Service on freephone 0800 038 5680 or visit www.energyathome.org.uk for further details.
Helping consumers with energy
The Government has produced an online guide Helping consumers with energy to help householders towards lower bills and warmer homes. It covers subjects from managing bills and getting the best tariff, to sources of advice and help as well as information on financial help, switching suppliers and winter and cold weather payments.
You can download it from the DECC website from this link Helping consumers with energy (external site, opens in new window).
Cutting out energy waste in the home needs to be done on a continuous basis, not a one-off exercise. Examples of what you can do include 'no cost' actions such as taking better control of your energy through switching off lights, TV and chargers when you're not using them. Taking better control of your heating and water using appliances can lead to significant cost savings too.
After the 'no-cost' actions, there are cost-effective measures you can take including improved insulation, draught proofing, better controls on your heating system such as a timer or programmer and thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), and choosing higher energy efficiency rated light bulbs and appliances.
There have been significant improvements in energy efficiency technologies in recent years, lighting being just one example, so to make sure you are making the right choices, it pays to get accurate and independent advice.
The Energy Saving Trust (social enterprise with charitable status, first established in 1992) gives impartial up-to-date advice to householders on how to reduce carbon emissions, how to use water more sustainably and how to save money on energy bills.
The Energy Saving Trust has lots of good advice and guidance on:
This is available from the Trust's easy to navigate website at: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk or from their telephone helpline 0300 123 1234 (national rate call).
PLEASE NOTE: The Government anounced on 23 July 2015 that it was to cease funding of the Green Deal, the scheme that offers cashbacks, cheap loans and incentives on such things as double-glazing, insulation and boilers. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said it had taken the decision to protect taxpayers, citing low take-up, poor value for money and concerns about industry standards. However, no replacement scheme or policy was announced.
For information, the Green Deal website is at https://www.gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures or ask the Energy Saving Trust for advice (see above).
For more information about the changes to Green Deal, or to get free expert energy advice, please contact the Energy at Home Advice Service:
Calculate your carbon footprint
Our lifestyle choices make up our carbon footprint and impact on the environment.
The WWF 'Carbon Footprint Calculator' at http://footprint.wwf.org.uk/ enables you to calculate your personal carbon footprint using the answers you provide to a simple 5 minute questionnaire. The website calculates your carbon footprint as a result of your lifestyle choices and provides tips and ideas for how you can shrink your footprint.
Energy in the workplace
'Going low-carbon is the only option for a profitable, future-proof business'
If your business is wasting energy it is causing avoidable pollution, primarily through increased carbon emissions leading to climate change, whilst contributing to the problems associated with dwindling fossil fuel reserves.
But wasting energy also reduces your profitability. For every £1 saved on energy costs, most UK businesses would have to make £10 worth of sales to make the same £1 of profit. So, for example, every £100 wasted on energy due to poor energy management requires £1,000 worth of sales to make the equivalent £100 of profit.
SEG recognises that most of our local businesses have energy requirements that are similar to a domestic household and for this reason we suggest that you contact the Energy Saving Trust (contact details in the "Energy in the home" section above) in the first instance for advice on how you can reduce your energy costs.
If you have a more industrial use of energy and use motors and drives, compressed air (delivered energy can be as high as 10 times the cost of electricity!) or steam in your industrial process, for example, there could be significant scope for energy savings and specialist advice is recommended.
For sources of local energy/environmental solutions, expertise and support etc. Business West provides a local access point for business (tel: 01275 373 373).
The most cost-effective approach for reducing your carbon footprint is to apply the 'Low Carbon Hierarchy':
1. REDUCE energy use by avoiding unnecessary use and implementing energy efficiency measures. You should include the design of your goods and services and also look up and down your supply chain.
Once you have increased your efficiency you should then look to
2. REPLACE fossil fuels with renewable energy sources and/or use cleaner fossil fuel technology such as Combined Heat and Power (CHP) where it is feasible to do so.
Finally, having reduced your carbon emissions through avoiding waste, energy efficiency and use of renewable cleaner sources, you can
3. NEUTRALISE the remaining unavoidable emissions through carbon offsetting schemes.
'Of total UK energy use (in 2011), transport accounted for 37.5%' - DECC
You can reduce your energy consumption and save money by using the car less. If you walk or cycle (see our cycling page) for those shorter trips it's better for the environment and for your health. Using public transport where available can also reduce energy waste, carbon emissions and local air-pollution, especially by reducing congestion at peak periods.
The Energy Saving Trust (contact details in the "Energy in the home" section above) has information, advice and resources about energy-saving travel - including how you can avoid using the car, and how to drive more efficiently when you can't avoid it.
One of the objectives behind SEG's station campaign has been to provide an alternative to road travel for Saltford's commuters.
Future-proof your home for electric transport (for free!)
Whether you plan to buy an electric car soon or at some point in the future, one thing you will almost certainly need for your home is a specially installed charging point. During August 2013 our Chairman Phil Harding took advantage of a Government funded scheme to provide 100% funding for the installation of charging points at domestic premises.
The image shown is the POD Point as installed in Phil's garage. The plug for the car (not in the picture) fits into a wall socket for tidy storage whilst not in use. Phil chose a location for the POD Point within his garage that would permit charging to the front or rear of the vehicle as different cars do have their charging sockets located in different positions.
In just two hours contractors from Robson Electrics installed in Phil's garage a "POD Point Home Charge Unit" together with a replacement consumer unit that incorporates a RCD (residual-current device), a safety device that will cut off the power instantly to the POD Point and the other power circuits in the garage if there is an electrical fault. The POD Point can be installed in a garage or externally on the wall of a house.
As electric vehicles become more cost effective, when the time comes for you to purchase one, having the charging point installed and ready could save you a considerable sum whilst making your home a more attractive purchase when you wish to move home.
If you wish to apply for a POD Point for your home, visit www.pod-point.com. PLEASE NOTE: It is SEG's policy as a general rule not to endorse individual products; if you decide to order a POD Point this is entirely at your own risk. However, when placing an order you may wish to mention that you heard about this scheme via Saltford Environment Group.
At present the POD Point (3.6 kW - a higher powered version is available at cost) can charge all electric vehicles that take a Type 1 connector. This is most electric vehicles currently on the market with the exception of just two vehicles, the BMW i3 and the Renault Zoe. A different plug can be supplied on request for those vehicles at cost.
[Date of this item: August 2013]
© Saltford Environment Group
Some quick energy saving tips:
Turn it down!
Turn it off!
Boil what you need!
Walk (or cycle) more, drive less!
Stop those drips!
Shorter, sharper showers!
Launder it all!
Cook with care!
Don't put hot food in the fridge!
Defrost food in the fridge!