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10th year of the pioneering SuperHomes Open Days

This year marks the 10th year of SuperHomes, the innovative and multi-award winning national network of over 200 homes which have all reduced their carbon footprint by a minimum of 60%. SuperHome owners will open their doors this September as part of our Open House events, and there is a record 100 free events occurring this year across the UK. 

SuperHomes is a project managed by the National Energy Foundation, an independent charity that aims to reduce the use of energy in buildings.
The Open Days are a great opportunity for visitors to see for themselves both the challenges and benefits associated with making older homes more energy efficient, and view retrofit technologies in action. The free Open House events occur every September where the SuperHome owners provide honest and detailed accounts of their renovation stories and offer invaluable advice and guidance.
Since 2007 SuperHomes has been at the forefront of domestic eco-retrofit and the network continues to lead the way in carbon conscious renovation. To date, 222 homeowners have all transformed their properties through environmentally minded renovation resulting in lower energy bills, smaller carbon footprints and a huge increase in comfort levels.
SuperHomes include all types of houses, ranging from Grade II listed 16th Century ironstone properties to 1990’s build ex-council houses; from 6 bed Victorian mansions to 1940 terraces; from idyllic ecolodge retreats in rural Snowdonia to single story flats in the heart of London.

The technology found within and around the properties is innovative and market leading, and our SuperHomes offer exceptional, and often unique, examples of green technologies.

In addition to the more mature aspects of green renovation such as external wall insulation, solar PV panels and heat pumps, our houses boast a variety of cutting edge technologies such as Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems, green roofs, biomass boilers, and even whole house airtight membranes.

SuperHomes are pioneers in renewable technology and energy efficiency.






We have a number of SuperHomes opening for the first time this year. This includes our most recent addition Pamela whose 1920s ex-Council house in North London is carbon neutral! She achieved this by installing many technologies, including Solar Water Heating, Solar PV Panels and Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery. Visit Pamela on 16th/17th September on a free tour. Another interesting first time opener is Paul from Flintshire who retrofitted his 1960s home for under £10,000, and still managed to achieve a carbon saving of 64%! Visit Paul for a tour on the 9th September to learn about how to keep eco-retrofit affordable. To find an Open Day near you please visit http://www.superhomes.org.uk/get-inspired/events/.

Energy used in the home accounts for more than a quarter of total energy use and carbon emissions in the UK. Houses in the UK are some of the least energy efficient in Europe, and the majority of the housing stock is made up of older homes which are typically very energy inefficient. Without tackling this problem and improving the energy efficiency of homes we will not be able to meet our emissions target of an 80% cut in emissions by 2050 to meet the requirements of the legally binding Climate Change Act. Open House events like SuperHomes are great ways to distribute knowledge and passion about retrofit, and persuade people to take the carbon conscious decision to reduce energy use in their home.

The current, post-Green Deal (the Coalition Government’s flagship energy efficiency policy that was scrapped in 2015), climate, with lowered green incentives and a distinct lack of interest from subsequent governments has seen the focus on eco-retrofit waver. Yet the refurbishment of our homes and buildings is one of the greatest challenges we face to reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change. SuperHomes harnesses the enthusiasm of our energy saving pioneers to stimulate community-led renovation.
SuperHome Open Days occur throughout the year with a co-ordinated national event throughout September. Most of our openings coincide with Heritage Open Days (7-10th September) and London Open House (16/17th September). To find out more visit www.superhomes.org.uk
To help SuperHomes celebrate this anniversary we’ve partnered with the Ecology Building Society who are supporting this year’s September openings.

SuperHome owner #59, Mark Brown stands in front of his 1980’s detached house. The High Wycombe property has achieved 90% carbon savings. Visit on 9th/10th September.

Start a #Sustainability #Movement in Your #Organization: Part 1 – Steps to Follow : Wendy Firlotte @EngageIntl

​When I talk to organizations of all sizes and functions, their biggest pain point is essentially the same, lack of participation.  Consistently, the two biggest challenges I hear are obstacles to increasing stakeholder buy-in and deal with competing priorities in the workplace.

In corporate responsibility & sustainability, we talk about being purpose driven and embedding sustainability within the organization, but what does that mean exactly? Essentially, we are looking for ways to mobilize employees and resources toward a shared sustainability purpose. In other words, what we want to know is how do we start a sustainability movement? This is the first installment of a 6 part series where we will discuss what starting a sustainability movement means, what it takes and the key elements for success.

Before getting into how to start a sustainability movement within your organization, let’s watch a TED talk by Derek Sivers (3 mins) and break down the basic steps and key insights of starting a movement in general.

Observed steps and key insights from the video:

  1.    Leaders need to create actions that are easy to follow and show the first follower how to follow. The first followers will then show everyone else how to follow.
  2.    Leaders embrace followers as equals, so it’s about the movement, not about the leader.
  3.    The first follower is an underestimated form of leadership. It takes courage to stand out and do something new and different.
  4.    Actions must be public. It’s important to not only show the actions of the leader, but also the followers. New followers will emulate other followers, not the leader.
  5.    After the first few join, others will join because it’s less risky. Then you hit the tipping point.
  6.    Afterward, those who were sitting on the fence before, have no reason now not to join. They won’t stand out, they won’t be ridiculed, but they will be part of the in-crowd if they hurry.
  7.    Then you have a movement.

I love that these insights are clear and simple, but I also wanted to add some key ideas that relate these steps to engaging employees in internal sustainability programs; many of these will be discussed in greater detail later in the series.

Create relevance for the program beyond company purpose. If a mission isn’t relevant to employees on a personal level, outside of work, it’s not likely to resonate with them at work either. How does your company’s sustainability agenda align with a greater purpose, allowing employees to contribute to the global good? Are you relating similar actions in their daily lives at home?

The UN Sustainable Development goals are a great way to create greater overall relevance. It provides a collective (global) way forward to address the world’s most pressing issues, but allows companies to choose the goals that align with their purpose and materiality priorities. With this greater vision and purpose, employees can participate make the broader connections with the meaning behind their brand experiences.

Meeting people where they are. A key element to increasing participation is by creating programming to engage employees that reflect their varying levels of understanding and willingness to participate. Do you have activities planned to accommodate these levels of employee involvement to meet them at their highest level of engagement and potential impact?

Law of diffusion of innovation principle. According to research, the required percentage of uptake in order to achieve the tipping point when adopting new innovations is only 16 %. (That lovely number makes the task seem more manageable, right?) Here is a great talk by Simon Sinek, where he discusses the law of diffusion in more detail.

Share employee experiences. Create fun, engaging, and relatable experiences for participating employees to share and inspire others to get involved. You could highlight and share articles, videos, blogs, pictures, posts, tweets, etc. Harness the powerful resource of employee influence and amplification in networks, on social media and word of mouth.

Cultivate followers and equip them to be advocates. Advocates and enthusiasts can be your strongest resource. We are very much social beings and are strongly influenced by our peers. Often sustainability practitioners feel overwhelmed when implementing programming as they say, “it’s just me!” I say look for ways to mobilize your employees and make them all owners and leaders. Create a clear process to show your followers how to follow, so they can then easily communicate the process to other potential followers.

Focus on key messaging and ongoing dialogue.  Be consistent in your messaging, frequency and contact channels with your communications and engagement. Focus on regular messaging communications, activities and feedback. If we want activities to be embedded into our organizational ethos, it needs to be part of an ongoing conversation, not only a few times per year when specific activities are launched.

Want to learn more? Watch for the next installment of her 6-part “Start a sustainability movement “ series. Part 2 will focus on building stakeholder buy-in at every level of the organization.




Start a Sustainability Movement Series:

  • Part 1: Steps to follow
  • Part 2: Building buy-in at every level
  • Part 3: How to scale
  • Part 4: How to systemize
  • Part 5: All in for sustainability
  • Part 6: Fostering culture & embedding sustainability

Leave a Comment! We would love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment or question below. Also feel free to post any burning issues that you would like to see covered in this series.

You can find Wendy on Twitter:@EngageIntl or LinkedIn: Wendy Firlotte

Wendy is a Sustainability Employee Engagement Specialist. She specializes in translating high-level strategy and vision into purpose driven, embedded and aligned employee action. She’s a great asset to our guest blog here on CrowdLeaf.




Who & What is Green Drinks ( Southampton )

By Ryan Carter of CrowdLeaf and Adam Manning of Green Hampshire



Green Drinks describe themselves as an ‘organic and self-organising’. Starting in London in 1989, the idea has spread throughout the world. The local group in Southampton from which we both draw our experiences is a great group. They meet regularly every third Thursday of the month, often at the Art House Café, Above Bar Street.

There is stimulating and informative conversation and it gives you a chance to say what you do in your day job and to talk to professionals and interested individuals. There is room for anybody and you can join in the discussion with individuals who work for academia, government, business, environmental organisations and those who run their own businesses too. A particular focus of Green Drinks is sustainability and a number of people who attend work in this area to discuss this field and learn from one another.

We’ve been to more than five of these now and have met some really inspiring and active people who attend Green Drinks as regulars and one offs. Friendships have been formed, business links made and information shared. There have been presentations covering waste to energy projects, hybrid electric boats and more. The meetings are informal and relaxed. There is certainly none of the cliquishness that is sometimes associated with networking groups and for all these reasons we will keep attending when we can.





There is a wide variety of organisations present at these networking sessions, both to present, showcase, engage and for the good atmosphere present at each event. Everybody is welcoming, engaging and interested in what you do and what your thoughts are, whatever your background. Whether you work in the area, want to work in the area or are just interested, you will find something to talk about.

The Southampton Green Drink’s group have a Facebook page at : https://www.facebook.com/SouthamptonGreenDrinks

You can obtain more information on these events on both of our pages, Green Hampshire and CrowdLeaf or by emailing us on adam@greenhampshire.co.uk and Ryan@CrowdLeaf.org.uk.

Announcement of a regular Green Show on @VoiceFMradio by @rwscarter

Some of you have already listened to @rwscarter on VoiceFm recently, some of you are so dedicated that you have heard both of his appearance so far. Credit where it is due, that cannot have been as easy as listening to Adam from Green Hampshire or Denise from ‘Eco Hair and Beauty‘. Both the earlier show and the now regular slot. On that occasion (my first VoiceFm appearance) I was with the wonderful Denise Baden from Southampton University who was discussing the great initiative ‘Eco Hair and Beauty’ which have written for us here at @CrowdLeaf before. She also discussed the sustainability agenda in Cuba- which she tied in rather nicely with her musical ‘Fidel’. More of that can be found here along with a link to that guest appearance below.




Like wise the new green show on VoiceFM – hosted by Xan Philips and the green agenda taken forward by @rwscarter on Xan’s ‘The Business show’ every first Thursday of the month from 8pm- 9pm.

The December the 1st episode can be found above – With the inside scoop on all things Christmas ,Autumn Statement, local green campaigns, national crowdfunding news and the green agenda and insights, from £5 notes to electric vans.

As @rwscarter is now a regular guest- the first in the sequence of Green issues radio appearances os merely the start, we want your green news, campaigns and insights to share live on air. At the moment this scheduled be broadcast every first Thursday of each month from 8 PM however we are both human and sometime this may change, so keep an eye on our twitter and on here. You can tune in on 103.9FM or find us online at : http://www.voicefmradio.co.uk   . If you happen to miss the show but still want to listen, perhaps you want to take us for a train journey, or on a long walk  – there is both a listen live and as you’ve  probably noticed from the links above a ‘listen again’ option.  Thanks as always for being here with us – keep your green news, campaigns, opportunities and more coming our way. Equally there is room for suggested sustainability/green/conservation songs – please do share your suggestions.




The Green Crowd – A Partial Follow up to Deep Impact  Conference

Following on from the Deep Impact Conference this November just gone, I managed to talk to some really cool people. People like Ian Tracey from Innovate UK and The Knowledge Transfer Network, Bill  Morrow, Helen Farmer, a speaker from Indigogo, Jon Terry from PWC , and more.

I got to talk,  to the experts, to the people in the room and the people making the alternative finance industry grow. So obviously  I asked them about sustainability I asked them about the future of green issues. Below is a video of what they had to say with regard to using crowdfunding in the green, sustainability and conservation communities which we here at CrowdLeaf all make up.
Do you  know what they said?

Have a listen.





They agreed, the future of the planet belongs to us, it is our time, it is our time, it is our time… our time to take the bull by its horns to take the money from the industries that destroy the planet and put the money into industries that create the future. Save today and preserve yesterdays species and planet today ready for tomorrow.

People seemed to enjoy the day, the world was put to rights and issues such as the ‘Grey Suit Factor’ in the Women Unbound report which highlights some really interesting work showing women doing as well as and better than men in crowdfunding campaigns. Some of the best crowdfunding practices and views from both the UK, the US and across europe surrounding the future of alternative finance. Which has been done with Barry James, who as CEO, co-founder and instigator of the Crowdfunding Center and the Deep Impact Conference worked with PwC and many more ( including me over a few pints) to create a report that may yet change the way we see the ‘glass ceiling’ and most importantly how we get past it.

Distinguished speakers such as Sarah Warman who is the Commander in Chief of the task force for the crowdfunding success BrewDog , Bill Morrow CEO and founder of Angels Den, Kathleen Monigue from Crowdfund Better USA, Tim Wright from Twingables, Julian Swan from The Imagination Factory, Michelle Rodger from Tartan Cat Communications, Jon Terry from PwC, Clive Lewis from ICAEW Chartered Accountants, Jamie Veitch who coordinated the first ‘Community share issue’ into media in 2014 and many more.

It was a great day, I really enjoyed the day and found out some really interesting things going on in the world of Alternative finance, fin-tech and some really interesting and cool products such as FormCard which I think might go someway to giving a better name to plastic. I am still opposed to plastic, but the thing that gets me most is the single use plastic, the plastic bags and the broken bits of plastic our grandkids, grandkids will be digging up, so any sort of reusable plastic will go a long way to cutting the level of waste both now and in the future.

View more about FormCard here from their crowdfunding campaign information video.

 



Solar Impulse 2 the Record-breaking #solar plane is back in #Switzerland 

Some of you may have read my piece a little while back surrounding the adventures of Solar Impulse 2. I’ve just stumbled upon this news that is has now gone back to Switzerland.




That was some achievement and if it’s the way forward and it defiantly has a part to play even if it’s just switching planes to hybrid states for now. Then to all involved what a cracking job!

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/solar-impulse-2_record-breaking-solar-plane-returns-to-switzerland/42610858

In conversation with @barryejames – Crowdfunding: Deep Impact Conference

CrowdLeaf is a proud sponsor for Thursday the 24th of November’s Crowdfunding: Deep Impact Conference.

@rwscarter did an interview with Barry James the brain child and man in charge for the conference. Barry is CEO of the Crowdfunding Center and Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Crowdfunding among many other positions, ventures and successes.  This week Barry found time to talk about how crowdfunding can help the green, sustainability and conservation community and much more. Listen below as we discuss the speakers, the concepts, the change that Acts of Parliment such as the Social Value Act can and will make a difference to the causes we care about.

Here’s a list of some of the fantastic sponsors for the event. Click on the video or the link to see/ hear about the speakers and schedule for the day.

sponsors

Hextio – Air Purification X10 – Radic8 & The next generation of indoor air

Introducing:

Hextio – Air Purification x 10

While you can read below for more details, they have also shared this awesome video. It explains what we all want explaining. Hextio – click to watch and listen to what it is, does and more, straight from one of the brains behind the product – Richard Greenwood . The reasons we need it, covered, the technology is covered and the whole concept is explained for you, what is not to like?




 Below us we have both a link to to the updated campaign, as you can see its already fully funded but the fun does not stop there. There is still room to get involved, chip in and indeed to give enough to receive some of the awesome rewards. There is also an awesome picture showing us all a brief glimpse into the inside of the Hextio. It looks like something from a sci-fi movie but I have been assured by the experts it is in fact real and crucially super effective.

inside-hextio




Sci-Fi to Sci-Fact: Solar Impulse 2

In a surprising turn of events, we find ourselves in a position whereby we can follow two brave, pioneering, inspiring and revolutionary individuals as they fly across the world using nothing but solar energy. We wish you the best of luck and are amazed by the work you have done so far and wait eagerly to see the next development. This will only become easier as solar technology improves.

Like many of you I am an avid Sci-Fi fan… and I fought off the Super Man and Star Trek puns to make a serious point here. Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg have taken on a truly phenomenal feat of engineering and blue sky thinking, to create something beautiful. The synergy and the achievement is in itself the sort of thing you would only ever find in the mysterious world of Star Trek and comic book hero’s, I salute you.

The solar powered plane, began its journey from Abu Dhabi on the 9th of March last year flying across Asia and is attempting to fly the globe, if all had gone to plan they would have finished last year. Sadly however there was issues with the batteries and they spent a few months fixing them up and have begun the next leg to carry on the stages, sharing and switching the pilots seat between the two men between the journeys.

SOlar Impluse 2

This is at present a single seat plane that weighs no more than a car but has a wing span of a Boeing 747. The plane works by raising to 9,000 meters at the beginning of the journeys in peak sun and then going down slowly towards 1600 meters. This rise and fall means that the high energy climb happens at peak generation and then the plane uses less energy as the sun goes down meaning the plane works in waves so that as the sun comes back up the plane raises again and so on.

If you want more information on the plane or the two individuals that are taking it on this epic journey I have found some links for you.

CNN have a nice video here that shows you inside the cockpit of the Solar Impulse 2

Reuters have a video of take off from New York to Spain

A post from the BBC after the first leg was completed last year

The question I would pose is that while this is early days, will there be a time in which you can spend weeks on a solar powered holiday plane? Or living on a plane for for a prolonged period or working on one. This may well be possible though obvious practicalities will have to be worked out first. Maybe Sci-Fi can be science fact in our lifetimes, it certainly seems to be heading that way and its made even sweeter knowing that its sustainable.




How Green is the UK’s Future?

Boom! I’ll start with the great news, our brothers, sisters and fellow green/sustainability friends have just done what seemed a distant dream a few years ago. Solar just produced more energy than coal for the whole month of April. This is really a great achievements and I pass on all the complements I can muster, from my @rwscarter and @crowdleaf.

energy-1096119_960_720

Carbon Brief, revealed that solar generated around 1.3GW of power over April that is 50% more than the 893GWh generated from coal.

However there is slightly less good news, due in part to the subsidy cuts there has been substantial job losses in Solar, with nearly half the 35 thousand  people that worked in the industry no longer employed there. But there is a more good than bad in another way, while solar has hit its so far highest point in the UK; it has done so with less workers, meaning that the industry is out performing its in regards to its labour and so is more productive.

The feed in tariff may be greatly reduced but it is still giving a return and I urge all of you to get involved and back Solar just as you did before and for those of you that have not done so before. Join me in investing on Abundance. This particular project (warning capital at risk) is offering 6.5% and an early birds bonus.

fantasy-545054_960_720

You may have noticed a similarity with my last post, fort those who read ‘The Leaf’ regularly. That is that even when things do not look good, people come together for the betterment of the world, green energy and sustainability, which as you know as a visitor, is among the greatest of causes. In this case the green shoots not being demoralised when the government takes away its support. So in this sense, we are walking down a path and together we are unstoppable, though government support would be welcome and we are feeling the pinch, we cannot and will not be knocked down.