March 27th 16:25

Group Visit: Friends of Taff Bargoed Park

On Friday I visited a Community Energy Day held by successful LEAF Applicants, Friends of Taff Bargoed Park who are based in Trelewis. The community were awarded £50,000 of LEAF funding. Taff Bargoed could be the first energy exporting community in Wales as hydro, wind and energy efficiency projects are being taken forward. They are already are considered one of the leaders in community based renewables.

A large portion of the group’s LEAF grant has been used to build on an initial Hydro feasibility study. Awel Aman Tawe (technical advisors on the Welsh Government’s Ynni'r Fro programme) has identified it as the best community hydro site they have assessed in the South Wales Valleys. Thermal imaging of local properties has also been conducted and a carbon footprint of the villages that make up Taff Bargoed, Trelewis, Treharris and Bedlinog. Local people have been trained in basic energy assessment issues, questionnaires were completed by residents and the group will now look to identify improvements in homes which can be undertaken under CERT, NEST and The Green Deal.

Above (L – R) Phil Maher and Mike Duxbury showing residents plans for the Hydro Scheme, EST’s David Johns talking to local residents about NEST, and results of the groups thermal imaging displayed along with information about energy efficiency measures

Paul Kent (Chair), Phil Maher (PICO Energy Ltd, who have been undertaking the technical feasibility on the hydro) and Mike Duxbury and Dan McCallum (Awel Aman Tawe) all spoke on the day giving a detailed overview of the LEAF Project to local residents. The local Communities First Partnership helped to organise the day and have been vital to supporting the Friends group and supporting the community consultation around all of the energy projects.

Coffee, cake, sandwiches and face painting were offered, and over 50 residents attended, showing interest in the project and taking information available from the advice stalls. Swalec gave out energy saving bulbs, ExEnergy and A+M Insulation offered efficiency advice, our very own NEST promoter David Johns also attended along with stalls from SER Ltd, Awel Aman Tawe and PICO Energy Limited. Paul Kent, Chair of Friends of Taff Bargoed Park, said “The funding from LEAF came a crucial time for us. It’s enabled us to move the project forward quickly. It’s generated huge momentum locally. Taff Bargoed is one of the most deprived communities in Wales so it is fantastic that we’ve been able to unite around this hydro scheme in the park, a key community facility.”

Above (L – R) A very well received buffet, face painting for local children, and Dan McCallum from Awel Aman Tawe

It quickly became clear why Friends of Taff Bargoed Parc hold such a prestigious position amongst Welsh community groups. Clearly a close knit community, I certainly recommend a visit to this area of outstanding natural beauty.

Above (L – R) This Park is now well used by all in the community, fishing, cycling, BMX park etc.. Kayaking also takes place on the lake as part of the many activities run by the E2 Welsh International Climbing and Activity Centre.

Ally Woodward
LEAF Programme Coordinator
Energy Saving Trust Wales
T: 02920 467 015

March 19th 14:30

Group Visit: Bristol Green Doors

On Saturday I visited an event with Bristol Green Doors who were awarded £78,000 in LEAF Funding. Their project ‘Tackling the Terrace’ held an open homes weekend across 40 suburban residents. I visited a micro-terrace in St Andrews with external wall insulation. The terrace comprises four houses, 3 of which are owner-occupied, the fourth is divided into 3 privately rented flats. The project is the first of its kind in the country, where individual property owners are working together to install external insulation to make their homes more thermally efficient. All funded by LEAF.

This was a real eye opener for me to see the scale of some of our projects, check out the images below;

In addition, there will be on-going activities to monitor and measure the effectiveness of this type of work.

Will it save the householders money on their bills? Or just create a warmer environment for them to live in for the same cost? Householders are being asked to monitor their energy use in the period between January and April 2012 before the insulation is fitted, and for the same period in 2013 following installation. Temperature gauges will also be installed in all six homes to see what difference the cladding makes to the comfort of the home.

It was fantastic to meet with Kate Watson, one of the Directors of Bristol Green Doors. Kate gave me the opportunity to see LEAF from a community perspective, that’s me on the right, feeling extremely proud in my EST fleece!

If you would like to know more or have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact myself, or any member of the LEAF team.

I look forward to reading your final reports,

Ally Woodward
LEAF Programme Coordinator
Energy Saving Trust Wales
T: 02920 467 015

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