What Community Groups Can Do
Energy and utility costs can be a significant expense for community buildings and there may be ways that you can reduce them.
There are a number of organisations which are able to offer advice and resources that may support communities in considering energy efficiency and renewable energy options. Links to some of these external organisations are provided below.
It may be beneficial to consider how energy is used (e.g. heating, lighting, etc) so you can target your efforts. In terms of thermal and energy efficiency, options to consider could include checking the level of insulation of the building, draft proofing, use of more efficient appliances / boilers, and improving controls of when systems (e.g. for heating) are operating. If your community building has an energy performance certificate (EPC) or display energy certificate (DEC) this may provide some recommendations for changes that you can make. You could also consider using a thermal imaging camera to help identify where you may be losing heat from the building. Some of the advice on our website for householders may also be relevant for community buildings.
There may be funding sources available to help with the cost of any works. The Council’s Community Grants may be relevant, alongside grants available from Hampshire County Council and other organisations. Some links are available from this page that may help identify funding sources.
As well as considering energy efficiency options, alternative energy options could also be looked at. There is some funding available for such technologies (for example the Renewable Heat Incentive); however you would need to consider these options carefully, including whether certain technologies would appropriate given the energy needs. For more information see the Renewable Energy webpage.
If you are considering making alterations it is important to find out whether or not you will need to apply for consent / permission for example through Building Regulations or Planning Permission. If the alterations would be to a listed building you may also need Listed Building Consent for any works. If Planning Permission or Listed Building Consent is needed, you could also seek pre-application advice for the works.
You may want to understand the local carbon footprint to help identify the activities that have the biggest impact and perhaps where a difference can be made. There are a number of tools and resources to help individuals look at their own carbon footprints but you can also look at information for communities, for example using the IMPACT Community Carbon Calculator or Place Based Carbon Calculator.