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Tag Archive Climate conversations

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.

Who are Southampton Climate Conversations ( @cchangesoton ), What do they do & how to get involved.

Climate Conversations is a Southampton-based network of people who want to talk about global and local environmental change and respond through positive action. We urgently need a step change in the discourse around climate change and believe that such a change must be generated by community action. Our aim is to encourage conversations about sustainability across our community – from residents and community organisations to the council, businesses and universities.

Our current members include local representatives from Transition, Dangerous Ideas, the Southampton Climate Campaign, Clean Air Southampton and academics at the University of Southampton. We first came together as a group in November 2015 as part of a local response to COP21, the UN conference on climate change.

Our inaugural event took place on 27th November and focused on what we can do locally to tackle climate change. Community groups hosted stalls and gave 30 second pitches about their work. Paul Maple’s short documentary The Environmental Litmus Test was shown, Grant Sharkey provided music and Sarah Filmer sketched out the evening with graphic recording.





Climate-change-poster-cropped

The keynote speaker was Alan Whitehead MP (Southampton Test) who spoke about the importance of local action on sustainability:

 

“It is down to us to make that important contribution… If the [rest of the world] knows that we in Southampton are determined, then this will help spur them on.”

 

This was followed by an audience and panel discussion that explored what Southampton residents can do to tackle climate change.

 

Audience - by : Joe Hudson

Audience – by : Joe Hudson

More recently we hosted a screening of the Naomi Klein documentary This Changes Everything. This was a chance to carry on the conversation about making Southampton a more sustainable city, and some great comments were made during the post-film discussion. One key idea is that we need to be engaging with people outside of the green movement, perhaps by re-framing the climate change debate. For example, air quality and fuel poverty are serious issues for our city, especially for areas with high social and economic deprivation.  

We are keen to raise awareness of a range of local green issues, both through running events and also via the Climate Conversations website. We publish blog posts from a wide range of local community organisations and individuals on different themes relating to sustainability, such as air quality, urban food projects and local action on climate change. We were the first to report on fossil fuel divestment by the University of Southampton and have published important revisions of the number of premature deaths from air pollution in the city.

As well as informing and connecting people we’d like to provide the inspiration to make positive lifestyle changes. Our next project may be to collaborate with the cultural side of the city to create works of art or music relating to sustainability. We would love to work with local artists and musicians on interpreting local environmental issues.

In the meantime, please do join the conversation online. You can sign up to our mailing list, comment on our blog posts and connect with us through Facebook and Twitter. Do you have questions that we can put to local Councillors on sustainability? Do you have ideas for greening your neighborhood? Are you running a local event that we can promote? If we can all share our creative solutions for a sustainable, livable and healthy Southampton, we can make it happen.