The Renewables Revolution – A Good News Conference

Until very recently, integrating renewable energy technologies into buildings has been a ‘nice to have’ addition, the main barriers being capital costs, competiveness with fossil fuel energy and scepticism. However, recent evidence shows that these barriers either no longer exist or will soon become invalid.

For example:

  • The cost of photovoltaics has plummeted to 70% below 2010 prices (pre-Feed In Tariff)
  • In the first quarter of 2016, UK renewables’ share of electricity generation (hydro, wind and other renewables) was 25.1% and rising
  • 21st April 2017 was the first day since the Industrial Revolution that the UK has not used any coal for energy generation
  • Even hard nosed investors now consider that renewables are competitive with conventional fossil fuel energy, becoming cheaper in the near future (see

The Green Register is holding a conference in Bristol on 7th December 2017 which will bring together a host of experts in the field to discuss:

  • Local and national renewable energy policy
  • The current and future state of the UK energy mix – what a 100% renewable UK would look like
  • Cost comparisons and financial benefits
  • Technological innovation in solar, wind and biomass
  • Breakthroughs in battery storage for buildings
  • Case studies with integrated renewables

There will also be an open-to-the public renewable energy exhibition and an electric vehicle will be on display.

For further details see The Renewables Revolution – A Good News Conference.

Posted in News

Home Energy Surveys – Vacancies

C.H.E.E.S.E. is a non-profit scheme led by local community volunteers that shows you where your house leaks heat and money by means of thermal imaging and suggests what remedial action to take.

Surveys are reasonably priced and free to low income households and will be available through the winter from November 2017 onwards.  Find out more and sign up at

The best recommendations come from people who have already had a survey, so if you have found a survey useful in making your home warmer and/or in saving energy please pass the word around.


Opportunities to work on the CHEESE project

The project is currently looking for enthusiastic people to help with the upcoming survey season, in paid and voluntary positions.

Intern: This appointment will be from late October until the end of March, a paid position, up to 3 days per week. It is a flexible role, helping with different aspects of the project, such as development of the website and literature, data analysis, assistance with our surveys and conducting follow ups with previous CHEESE customers.

Energy Tracer training: We are offering free training course for CHEESE ‘Energy Tracer’ surveyors, beginning with a training weekend on the 21st and 22nd October. Trained surveyors are paid £40 per survey. We expect a commitment to help with/carry out at least one survey a week (on average) during a 19 week season from November till end March 2018, with a break from 10th-31st December. Surveys are typically scheduled at weekends and sometime evenings and take approximately two hours, so it can be fitted in around a full-time job. There is more information about Energy Tracers and our survey on the website at

Volunteers to assist with surveys:  In this role, you will provide support to an Energy Tracer surveyor with the handling and setting up of equipment, and engagement with householders. This is a great opportunity to gain experience of our work and surveying approach.

If any of these roles interest you, or you would like more information, then please email to introduce yourself to

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The Street Party kit needs a new home

Several years ago, Sustainable Redland supporters set up a borrowing service for people holding street parties.

The street party kit includes road signs, bollards, bunting and other useful items that can be used to close off, decorate and hold an event in a residential street. The kit was bought using one of the first grants awarded by our local Bishopston, Cotham and Redland Neighbourhood Partnership.

The service has been very well used, with around 20 street events each year in our area making use of the kit. You can find out more at the Bristol Open Streets website.

For the past two years, the kit has been hosted by Bristol Children’s Scrapstore. However, they are not able to offer to do so after this season. So we are looking for a new home for the kit.

If you, or someone you know, has a small storage space (about 1m x 2m) and would like to support local events, please get in touch. Looking after the kit would also involve liaising with those holding events to collect and return what they needed for their event, at mutually convenient times. Most events are held in June or September, so it needn’t interfere with summer holidays. It is also a role that in the past has been shared amongst two or more people.

To talk through what might be involved, with no obligation, please contact us.

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Metford Road Community Orchard Open Day

Metford Road Community Orchard is a small organic orchard based on permaculture principles. It will be open on Saturday 17th June, 12noon – 5pm, as part of North Bristol Get Growing Summer Open Days.

With a stream at the bottom and numerous ponds, the orchard is teeming with wildlife in the summer. It has a compost loo and custom built gazebo-style oak shelter. There will be guided tours, tea and biscuits/cakes, produce and plant sales. Access is through the gate by no 37 Metford Road, Redland BS6 7LA. Turn left at allotments to reach the orchard. As the site is on a steep slope sturdy shoes are required.

Posted in Events

Community Tent at the May Fair

Sustainable Redland will be hosting a stall at the Redland May Fair on Redland Green again this year, on Monday 1st May. We will also be helping clear up at the end of the Fair. It would be great to see some of our supporters there, and better still if you would like to volunteer and lend a hand with either.

Because of our help clearing up after last year’s Fair, we have been offered a free stall this year. Several local community groups organise their own stall, but it is not so easy for smaller groups to run one on their own. So this year we have offered to share our space with other groups. So far, we have had five other groups who have expressed interest in using the space to promote their work. It is a chance for a community group to show what they do and potentially sign up new members. By sharing the space, and the time needed to look after the stall, even the smallest group can participate in one of the most popular Redland events of the year.

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Electric car charging

How to spend £7.5 million…

Vassili Papastavrou

In January 2016, it was announced that Bristol was one of four major cities to receive a grant (in our case £7.5m) to promote the use of electric cars and other ultra-low emission vehicles. To me this seems a huge sum of money and I feel it should be spent carefully.

I have now had a Nissan LEAF electric car for six months so I took an interest in this announcement and tried unsuccessfully to find out how the money will be spent. And to have an input on behalf of Sustainable Redland. Our LEAF does about 80 miles on a charge and has already been superseded.

2017 will be the year of the electric car with several manufacturers promising 200 miles or more on a charge. Whilst not a complete solution, electric cars can play a role in reducing CO2 emissions, improving urban air quality and in decreasing reliance on oil, which all too often seems to fuel conflict.

In my six months of ownership, I’ve discovered that the car works fine but the charging infrastructure (especially in Bristol) doesn’t. Most of Bristol is terraced houses or flats and so residents are unable to get an electric car off the road to charge from a domestic socket. Public charging points are in car parks and who in their right mind is going to pay repeated parking fees when they only live around the corner?

Another problem is the variety of cards and mobile phone apps that are needed, often with different subscriptions. Frankly, it is a nightmare.

One year later, we still don’t know how Bristol will spend its £7.5m. Or whether there will be a genuine consultation about some of the basic principles. If Bristol really wants to make life easier for electric cars, some of the money needs to be spent on public charging points. Amsterdam can do it, so why not Bristol? And even in small French villages there are now electric charging points in public spaces.

This electric car charging point is in Cahagnes, Normandy (population 1,319)

And the card problem? Also to be sorted in Normandy with the installation of contactless payments using a credit card just as you would pay for any other purchase.

Rural France and Amsterdam first – Bristol next?

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Whiteladies Markets Xmas 2016

whiteladies_winter_200x156Whiteladies Road Farmers and Fair Trading Market will be held as normal during the 2016 Christmas Holiday period, so there will be Markets on Christmas Eve, Saturday 24th December, and on New Year’s Eve, Saturday 31st December.


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Thermal Imaging Surveys

cheeseAfter successful pilot surveys last winter, the CHEESE project is again offering surveys in BS6/7 from November 2016 – March 2017. CHEESE is a non-profit scheme led by local community volunteers that can show you where your house leaks energy and money by using thermal imaging. They can then suggest remedies, many of which are low-cost. You will also be helping Bristol satisfy its climate change obligations.

The CHEESE project is also looking for enthusiastic people to train as thermal
imaging ‘Energy Tracer’ surveyors.

For more information and to apply go to


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MakeyourhomeEco Courses

BCRenergy-logo-322x73Fed up with a cold, draughty home?

Want to save energy  and master practical issues like managing bills, controlling heating, choosing appliances in time for winter?

Don’t know where to start an energy saving project that will meet your needs?

Making a home energy jigsaw

Making a home energy jigsaw

Come to a taster session to explore how this short, informal course can help you start saving energy right away.

Making sense of insulation

Making sense of insulation

In collaboration with BCR Energy Group, local experts MakeyourhomeEco will run the six session course locally for both home owners and tenants.  It puts you in control of energy use at home and helps you to implement low cost measures around your own priorities and to develop your own project for your current or future home.  It will cover practical issues to control heating and electricity use, choose appliances and understand the jargon to speak to installers or get support and grants.  It’s designed around the participants and features games and hands on activities, plus a series of worksheets that focus you on your own situation.  There will also be single 2-hour sessions for students.

£5.00 for the first (taster) workshop on either Tues. evening Oct 4th (19.00-21.00) or Weds morning Oct. 12th (10.00-12.00), refunded if you sign up.

The full courses will take place over the following 6-8 weeks. Cost £85 (£40 low income) for 6 x 2 hour sessions, including all materials.

Please contact to pre-register your interest.

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Bright Green Future

Bright Green Future is a national programme designed to help young people gain the skills, knowledge and confidence to make a difference. It is aimed at those aged 14-17 who are interested in the environment and are looking for a new challenge.

If you are, or know of, someone who might like to take part, find out more on the Bright Green Future website. The deadline to apply is Sunday 17 July.

Posted in News