News

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 Our LEAF does about 80 miles on a charge and has already been superseded.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 www.cheeseproject.co.uk.

 

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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 info.bcrenergy@gmail.com 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.

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Happy Birthday – the Market is 10 years old

Help celebrate the 10th Birthday of the Whiteladies Road Farmers Market on Saturday 25th June. As well as the usual lovely fruit, veg, bread, meat, cakes etc. there will be music for most of the morning. Come along at 12 noon for a piece of birthday cake, or meet the Lord Mayor at 1.30pm and pick up any last-minute bargains.

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Vacancies at the Redland Club

Andrew and Michele have been running the Redland Club (at the corner of Burlington Road and Exeter Buildings) for 7 years. It has become a very popular venue for tango dance classes and for all the other activities that happen there on a regular basis – pilates, yoga, table tennis, meditation, tutoring, kids’ parties etc.

They are now looking for two people to help with some of the tasks:

Caretaker – someone to pop in to the club for about an hour most week-day evenings and some week-ends to tidy and lock up the premises.

Tango West Helper – helping out at Tango West dance events: a once a month Sunday afternoon/evening; a once a month Saturday evening;  some occasional special one-off special events.

If you are interested, contact us and we will pass on your details so that you can get the full information about the vacancies.

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CHEESE thermal imaging energy surveys – April 2016 update

We are pleased to say that the CHEESE Project (see our previous post), conceived to assist people in making their homes more energy efficient, won the Bristol Green Volunteer award for 2015.  This is a great tribute to director Mike Andrews, to Jeremy Birch who developed the Heatview website and crucial imaging-related software, and to the volunteers who have trained as energy surveyors.

BCR Energy Group have now completed 20 subsidised  energy surveys in the Bishopston, Cotham and Redland area, with Bristol Green Capital funding provided through the BCR Neighbourhood Partnership.  Surveys will continue next winter and will also be extended to neighbouring areas.  If you live in the area, you can sign up to a survey by emailing info.bcrenergy@gmail.com.  More information about the CHEESE Project can be found at www.cheeseproject.co.uk.

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Seasonal Markets

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The last Whiteladies Road Farmers’ Market of 2015 will be on Saturday 19th December 2015. Round off a great Green Capital Year, in which the Market became a weekly event, with this licensed market where Somerset fizz will be on sale.

In addition, Dean Rise fruit farm will be running their stall on Christmas Eve (Thursday 24th) under the tree from 8.30am to 2.00pm to allow last minute fruit and veg buying.

There will be no market on December 26th, so the next market will be the first of the new year on Saturday 2nd January 2016.

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Thermal imaging energy surveys

Images obtained from an internal thermal survey of a 1960s house

Red shows heat leaking through front and garage doors

Blue shows cavity wall insulation missing at corner of a wall

Cold air from an air vent is cooling the ceiling and wall

Draughts and cold spots around a window

 

Thermal imaging energy surveys are at last off the ground in the Bishopston, Cotham and Redland area run by the BCR Energy Group. They are still searching for people on low incomes who might qualify for a free survey (the normal cost is £70.00), so if you know anyone who might be interested, please pass the information on to them at the email address below. Here are some responses from those who had the first surveys last Saturday.

From someone who struggled to heat her home to a comfortable temperature: “A real eye opener. Excellent! I found I could do everything for about £150 and got to work straight away.

From two people who had already made some insulation improvements: “Thank you very much for laying on Brian, Dave and Matt today. Very instructive, some draught proofing and the like to work on but generally very encouraging for us.” “There were still places where draughts were coming in and heat leaking out that I would never have thought of.

If you would like further information or are interested in signing up for the next block of surveys in the New Year, please email the group at info.bcrenergy@gmail.com.

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