If you've never switched energy company before and are on a standard tariff, did you know you could make an average saving of around £300 per year on your bills by switching?
Tips like this are exactly why CREW’s free energy advice helpline is proving useful for the residents of Tooting!
We are piloting a hyper-local, multilingual approach focusing on the Tooting Ward. The team are creating links with local organisations to generate referrals, such as Wandle Housing Association, DONS Local Action Group (a network of Covid-19 volunteers) and Mushkil Aasaan. Project flyers are available in Hindi, Spanish, Tamil and Urdu and CREW can offer advice in these languages as well as French, Polish and Portuguese.
Our energy advice is aimed at people on low incomes, older people, families with young children, people with long-term health conditions or anyone else who is vulnerable in some way. We aim to save people money, assist them in navigating the often-confusing world of energy companies and tariffs, and make sure people are getting all the discounts, funding, freebies and support they are eligible for.
One of our clients saved £440! Read on to hear just some of our success stories.
Usually the one place in your house that you won’t find a (traditional) plug socket, you might not think of the bathroom when it comes to energy saving. But, aside from the obvious water savings (which can still save you money if your water is metered!), there are plenty of ways to cut your carbon footprint by heating less water, switching to LED light bulbs and making plastic-free swaps.
So, water you waiting for? Time to make some savings.
This month's guest blog post comes from our local partner, Sustainable Merton! Read more as they tackle five tricky-to-recycle items and some creative ways of reusing and upcycling them, including:
We are pleased to announce that with over £30,000 of investment and additional booster funding from the Community Shares Booster Programme, we have successfully raised £50,000 to install four air source heat pumps at Devas Club in Battersea!
We'd like to firstly sincerely thank everyone who invested in our share offer and welcome them into our CREW. This was our very first share offer, launched mid-pandemic, mid-Brexit deadline, with Christmas and lockdown to contend with. With a lot of hard work and community support, we made it happen and we could not be happier.
A special shoutout goes to all our members and Directors, Andre Pinho who assessed our documentation for the Standard Mark certification, the team at the Community Shares Unit for supporting our booster funding application, Simmons & Simmons for their pro bono legal support, and countless other community groups who helped us spread the word.
But don't worry if you missed this round, we'll be back with more exciting funding opportunities very soon - watch this space and register your interest here!
This month, we co-hosted our first monthly Web Chat with Merton-based charity Sustainable Merton
Over 20 people attended the short 45-minute discussion on 'Greening your home for less' where we tested their energy knowledge and discussed ways to reduce our energy bills and carbon footprint. The best place to start is by testing how well you know your home's energy performance so you can start improving it! Here are a few tips that might surprise you...
Did you know...?
Watch the recording to find out more and test your own knowledge!
A couple of weeks ago, we hosted a fireside Q&A with CREW members, friends and family to discuss their burning questions about our current community share offer with Devas Club in Battersea. We had great feedback on the answers we gave to our questions and, since hosting the Q&A we have received an additional £15,000 of investments!
In case you missed it, we have made the presentation slides and the Zoom recording available for you to watch here. If you have any more questions, please do send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd be happy to help.
We’re pleased to announce that CREW Energy’s community share offer has been awarded the official Community Shares Standard Mark!
Both our share offer document and our business plan have been under assessment by an independent licensed assessor since late 2020 to ensure that:
CREW is aiming to raise £50,000 throughout January 2021 to fund a renewable heat project in south-west London with our longstanding partners, Devas Club. The share offer launched on 14 December 2020 and will be running throughout January 2021. On 8 January 2021, we reached £10,000 of our investment target!
Shareholders will entirely fund the cost of 4 community-owned heat pumps to be installed at the youth club and, in return, will get a targeted 3% return on their investment.
Not only will these heat pumps generate huge energy savings in the Devas building – £962 per year in fact – they will reduce carbon emissions in the area by 17 tonnes CO2e annually and provide CREW with a means of hosting yet more climate outreach and education across Wandsworth, Merton and Lambeth.
A challenging but pivotal year for a share offer
While community share offers are an established means of funding community energy, ours is the first of its kind in London to focus on renewable heat! Luckily for us, heat pumps have been a hot topic in 2020 through the Government’s Green Homes Grant and the so-called Green Plan, where they were cited as a key element in the UK’s race to net zero by 2050. This certainly made it easier to shout about the green power of the mighty heat pump.
However, in the midst of a pandemic, it sometimes feels like there is, understandably, little room in people’s newsfeeds for a community project. This means we’ve had to work extremely hard all through 2020 to not only combat lockdown delays in surveying the building and quoting for the heat pumps, but also to navigate the fast-paced news sphere (not to mention launching at Christmas time and the Brexit deadline) in an entirely digital campaign!
Find out more about investing in CREW Energy’s community share offer here. Or follow our journey on social media and through our newsletter.
We're working in partnership with Sustainable Merton to combine our climate and sustainability efforts. We will be sharing regular blog posts from them on themes that fall under the sustainability umbrella, but perhaps outside CREW's core area of energy efficiency.
This month's post is on the theme of food and comes from Blanca Peña-Méndez, Sustainable Merton Community Champion (Food Action Team) and Trustee.
Click here to read more.
‘Greening your home’ has been a hot topic of late, thanks to the Green Homes Grant. And now that many of us are spending more time at home (working or otherwise), we’re more aware of our energy use than ever before.
This series of blog posts is designed to show you how energy-efficient home improvements don’t have to cost you a pretty penny. Read more on how you can save money and energy in your home for free or on the cheap with CREW! This week, in the kitchen…
With lots of talk about the newly announced Green Homes Grant, we wanted to break it down for you with an explanation of measures covered, the amount of support you can apply for and more. Enjoy!
You have hopefully heard us talking about our community share offer for months, and perhaps you have been intrigued (we very much hope so). For those unfamiliar with exactly what a share offer is, we have put together this quick guide that we’re hoping will give you everything you need to say ‘yes’ to investing.
CREW was recently awarded £27,000 by the Wandsworth Local Fund to install another package of energy efficiency measures at the Devas youth club in Battersea. This second phase of our project with the club includes yet more LED lighting, along with secondary glazing and destratifiers and will be closely followed by phase 3 – a heat pump system – in autumn 2020 (following our upcoming share offer!)
To bring you up to speed with what’s been going on behind the scenes, we are shining the spotlight on these different areas of tech (some of which you may recognise, and others which may be brand new!) and how they will benefit the club and the local area.
Did you catch our #InnovationLab presentation a few weeks ago on renewable heat in London's civic and domestic buildings? In case you missed it, you can watch it again right here (1.5 hours)!
Just want the highlights? We live tweeted some questions here but, as promised, we have also provided a more detailed breakdown of the attendee Q&A session.
If you're interested in hearing more about our heat pump business plan, give them a read or contact us.
In case you missed it, we were recently featured in an article by Friends of the Earth Europe on how we are championing young people through community energy.
We got in touch with them via Twitter to share the stories of Yunus and Armelle along their journey from energy café advisor and EPC assessor to future green leader.
This story is set in London, where the government has been significantly reducing local councils’ budgets causing uncertain futures and financial insecurity. People are losing their trust in the government to effectively protect people’s futures. However, CREW Energy, a south-west London not-for-profit has found a local and accessible way to fight for systemic change by advocating for community energy and bringing power into the hands of the people.
Read the full story here.
After working with Devas Youth Club in Battersea back in 2019 to install solar panels, LED lighting and Hydromx, we are back for more! Following a successful bid for £27,000 worth of funding from the Wandsworth Local Fund, phase two began in July 2020.
CREW is currently implementing more LED lighting, secondary glazing and destratifiers. This will be followed by phase 3 – a heat pump system – in autumn 2020.
The measures put in place during phase one cut energy usage by 25%, amounting to a carbon saving of 11.72 tonnes per annum and a combined total of £3,400 on their energy bills. The measures for phases two and three will further reduce bills and get the club well on their way to meeting their climate targets. Find out more in our project case study.
We are delighted to be working with the club again – so much so that we will be launching our first share offer with them in September to help fund phase 3! Stay tuned for more details on how you can get involved.
On the surface, the UK Government's announcement that it is pumping £2bn (£3bn if you include the Local Authority Delivery Scheme) into the UK retrofit market is what we all what to hear. Investment in England's (oddly, the rest of Britain has not been included in the scheme) old leaky housing stock is just what is needed. You could argue about the sums, France is investing £9.5bn and Germany £34bn in similar schemes, but not the motivation. Invest cash in the right areas to stimulate the economy, so we can #BuildBackBetter. Great Plan!
So why the woe-betide headline? Read on as our Chair, Toby gives us his take on the Green Homes Grant.
It takes someone in the UK just five days to emit the same amount of carbon as someone in Rwanda does across a whole year, data extracted from Global Carbon Atlas shows.
Most people want to reduce their carbon footprint (I’ve never met anyone who wanted to increase it, anyway), so, the good news is you can save energy without expending too much of your own!
Find out how in just 10 (foot)steps.
On 13 July 2020, Merton Council approved an excellent action plan put forward by the Merton Climate Emergency Working Group - a group of residents, council members, other local organisations, including CREW!
The Council had already agreed to work towards net-zero carbon emissions from the Council’s operations by 2030, and the borough by 2050, but this plan sets our more details actions to be taken on the following points:
Our chair, Toby, represents CREW within this group and has been working on the 'buildings and energy' branch of the plan. The vision for energy and buildings is as follows (pages 28-29):
Residents and businesses will have much lower energy bills because homes will be more energy efficient and will store and generate low carbon energy. Natural gas heating will be replaced with a low carbon alternative. All new developments will be net-zero carbon, sustainable and adapted to the effects of climate change.
You can read the full plan here!
June was a very busy month for CREW and the many strings to our bow. We took part in Community Energy Fortnight, Coop Fortnight, Virtual Lobbying of MP for Putney, Southfields and Roehampton - Fleur Anderson (pictured above) - and part one of London Climate Action Week. This community movement across the capital and country was just another display of how being apart has only brought us closer together!
This Community Energy Fortnight (and every week) we have been tweeting a lot about community energy. In fact, the UK Community Energy body, Community Energy England even kindly asked us to run their very first Twitter takeover on Monday to kick off Community Energy Fortnight. Not too shabby for a group of green folk from Wandsworth!
But, while we may live and breathe community energy, we know not everyone is familiar with it (some of our members didn’t even know what it was until they joined the CREW). So, to celebrate #CEF2020, we want to share the knowledge and green love by introducing you to our friends and raison d’être!
CREW Energy was founded in 2014 as Community Renewable Energy Wandsworth (as long-time fans will know). Some members of Wandsworth Friends of the Earth were looking for a new project to take on, one that would go beyond environmental activism and allow us to take action ourselves. Seeing the success of Brixton Energy, we decided to take on the challenge of bringing community energy to Wandsworth!
This Volunteers' Week (1-7 June 2020) we wanted to go back to our roots and say thank you to the dedicated volunteers that have made CREW what it is today.
Many people will know about solar panels and the renewable energy they generate due to their prevalence on residential buildings, as well as recent news stories. It’s a technology used by community energy groups at both a small and very large scale. You may well have heard about 'PV' in the news recently, especially in light of COVID-19 where we have seen clearer skies and reduced air pollution, meaning much stronger sunlight is reaching the ground.
Interested in learning more or getting your own solar panels? We're here to shed some light on the situation...
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, we wanted to take a look at a mental health issue that is on the rise – climate anxiety – and the things we can do to combat it, including taking action to counteract climate change!
In the words of Greta Thunberg, 'no-one is too small to make a difference'! You only need to take the first steps...