Shrink your carbon shoe size
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.
Merton Council approves Climate Emergency Working Group's Climate Strategy and Action Plan
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!
Climate action replay
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...
COVID-19 call-back service updates
This Water Saving Week, we are putting our water supply under the microscope and exploring the effect of our water usage on the planet. By saving water, we can save money, carbon and nature!
In the UK, the average person uses 143 litres of water per day in England and Wales, 150 litres in Scotland and 145 litres in Northern Ireland. This is risky business, considering that London is drier than Istanbul and Sydney. What's more, our population is growing, but the amount of water we have is not. By 2050, if we keep using water as we are today, we will need an extra 250 million litres of water a day. It’s time we did something to make our water usage more efficient!
Last week we showed you how to save money and water with your taps, but there are other wily water wasters we need to take care of… To help with this, most UK water providers offer freebies that they will post to your home.
The average home uses 330 litres of water a day. Multiply that by the number of homes in the UK and that’s more than just a drop in the ocean...
The good news is, there are simple ways to cut down your use and make sure you’re only using the water you need. Starting with your taps!
This week we're bringing you top tips on how to fix leaky taps, fit water-saving gadgets and save some H2O.
One of the few benefits of the COVID-19 lockdown has been the reduction in pollution and the perceived improvement in air quality. Yet things may not have improved as much as we hoped. This recent report in the Guardian suggests that particulate matter (PM) remains stubbornly high, partly due to the start of the farming season but also due to flue emissions from our gas boilers. These gas flues pump out PM, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, that seriously impact our air quality.
So what can you do about this damaging impact on your local environment...? Replace your gas boiler with an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) that produces zero local emissions and only a quarter of a gas boiler's emissions globally (even less if you are on a green tariff!).
ASHPs use heat from the air to produce even more heat for your home. They work in much the same way as your fridge, just in reverse. Why is a heat pump considered renewable heat if it runs on electricity? A typical heat pump will produce 3-4kWh of heat for each 1kWh of electricity it consumes. And until March 2021 there are some generous Government subsidies, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), to help you invest in renewable heat.
To find out more contact us: email@example.com.
#MakeDoCREW - Carbon cut-outs
Spending more time at home means we are using a lot more energy than usual. It also means spending more time thinking about how you and your family use your home, appliances, and energy.
Switching your appliances and lights off (at the plug) when they are not in use is one of the quickest and easiest ways to start saving on average:
CREW launched its eco-action games workshops with children in Merton and Wandsworth in 2019 to help them learn just how much energy we use around the house and (most importantly) how you are never too small to make a difference and cut out carbon! During these sessions, young people have shown us they are much keener and more willing than some of their grown-up counterparts to talk about climate change and take action, but perhaps they need some help implementing these small behaviour changes.
During lockdown, we need YOU to welcome the fun and games into your homes on our behalf (these guests are allowed). That's why this week’s #MakeDoCREW craft is the ideal rainy weekend activity to keep kids occupied and engage them with sustainability: energy efficiency reminders!
Community energy cooperative CREW Energy awarded £99,162 from Power to Change
Wandsworth- and Merton-based community energy cooperative CREW Energy has won a grant of £99,162 from independent trust Power to Change. The grant, part of the trust’s Next Generation Fund, will allow the coop to promote and fund community ownership of renewable heat to tackle three issues in our society: climate change, fuel poverty and air quality.
This funding will support CREW in achieving their goals of education, outreach, community funding, delivery and maintenance of heat networks and renewable heating systems. More specifically, the project being funded aims to deliver renewable heat to three sectors: commercial buildings – with a particular focus on civic centres – shared ground arrays in blocks of flats and in domestic homes. The Next Generation funding will mainly support CREW Energy as it develops projects in these three areas, as well as training staff in assessing renewable heat needs and supporting them as they launch their first community share offer this summer.
It might be getting a bit too warm to talk about draught-proofing, but these measures are for the long term... Plus, #MakeDoCREW is all about making the most of your time at home. You'll thank us in the depths of winter!
By blocking gaps around windows and doors, you could save up to £25-£20 a year on your energy bills. You can buy everything you need to cut out draughts online and it’s pretty easy to install.
Earth Day 2020 - #TogetherInAction
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a hugely popular awareness day that is marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behaviour and create global, national and local policy changes.
In addition to this year being a landmark birthday, in light of the Coronavirus crisis, it will also be the very first fully digital Earth Day – a perfect opportunity to see what we can achieve when we can come together in spirit, if not in person.
To raise awareness, we’ve put together a list of 50 small behaviour changes we can all adopt to help our earth today and every day. It’s our way of being #TogetherInAction even while we are apart.
There’s been a lot of information floating around on energy supply during the coronavirus crisis, so we have put together a short post to help you navigate it all.
One of CREW's main services is our energy cafés, where we offer advice on how to save money on your energy bills and access grants and discount schemes. During the coronavirus crisis, we are unable to hold our physical face-to-face cafés, but we are keen to offer our advice nonetheless! One of the biggest energy issues we have identified is the mighty prepayment meter, which must be physically topped up at a local shop or Post Office.
Generally, one of the most important points to make here is that your energy supply won’t be disrupted during the crisis, and all suppliers and network companies are still working to the same rules and obligations Ofgem have put in place. Secondly, no-one on a standard credit meter, which you pay each month by direct debit or each quarter by cash or cheque, will be cut off during the crisis. That said, if you have a prepayment meter, you may be anxious to hear what help is available if you are unable to leave your house to top up your prepayment card.
If you're looking for a simple #stayhome project but a more long-term investment, now might be a good time to start replacing your light bulbs.
Lighting accounts for 15% of a typical household’s electricity bill, so bulbs have an important role to play. These days, there are lot of different light bulbs available and we've come a long way from the traditional incandescent kind, which produced only 5% light, with the other 95% being lost as heat! Their carbon footprint was so high - producing more than 15,000,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year - they were banned in the UK in 2018.
Without a doubt, the most energy and cost efficient solution available is the LED light bulb. Switching from halogen to LED can save up to £3 per year and around 5kg of CO2 emissions PER BULB!
This #MakeDoCREW craft is one you can get the kids involved with! It's also a creative way to upcycle some old clothes and prevent them from going to landfill. You can be as bold as you like, match with your room decor, or personalise for children's bedrooms.
One of the best and cheapest ways to keep out cold air is to use a draught excluder.
These handy cushions stop draughts from getting under the front door and into your home. You can also use them on internal doors to make rooms even cosier. What’s more, they’ll help you cut your energy bills.
DIY draught proofing around windows and doors could save you on average between £25 and £35 per year.
#MakeDoCREW - Radiator reflectors
As we stay home to support our communities and the NHS, some of us may find ourselves with a lot more time on our hands. If you're in search of a productive new hobby, why not take that extra time and put it into a project that will benefit your pocket and the planet? Especially as we're spending a lot more time in the home, using more energy!
Draught proofing and minimising heat loss in the home is an essential to help keep heat inside and save money on your energy bills. Heat can escape through different areas of the house through:
Minimising these escape routes for heat can help warm your home quicker and keep it warm for longer.
This week, we're showing you how to fit radiator reflector panels.
EcoAction Games workshops
Fun playing a range of sustainability-themed games!
In November 2019, CREW Energy volunteers and Devas Club staff engaged the youth club’s younger members (8-12 years old) through a range of EcoAction Games on themes of sustainability and energy saving. This was a trial use of the games as an effective means of educating young people around key environmental themes and energy-saving projects, funded by the London Community Energy Fund awarded to CREW Energy and Devas in late 2018 by the Greater London Authority.
Since, we have honed our EcoAction games skills at the Wandsworth Youth Climate Action Commission and will be continuing along this thread at SPINE Festival 2020.
Big Energy Saving Week 2020
20-26 January 2020 is Big Energy Saving Week, a national campaign run by Citizens Advice, Citizens Advice Scotland, Energy Saving Trust and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to raise awareness around our energy usage and habits.
To mark the occasion, CREW would like to invite you to attend one of our free energy advice events in Morden and Islington.
Energy cafés Open to all
Have you seen information about our energy cafés but aren't sure they’re for you? We get it. Offering free advice could seem suspicious to some, let alone free cake. But, firstly, you should know that our energy advice sessions are entirely volunteer-led and grant-funded; our lovely trained energy advisors are just people helping people and being kind to the planet along the way.
We also know talk of fuel poverty can throw some people. And while this affects 11% of the UK population, it’s important to know that our energy cafés are suitable for everyone and anyone. More specifically, anyone who pays energy bills, and/or who would like to reduce their carbon footprint. Fuel poverty is just one (albeit important) aspect of the scheme.
How does it work?
Come along to one of our drop-in sessions at your local library or community centre. No appointment necessary – all you need is your latest energy bill. Our trained energy advisors can then sit down with you to provide personalised, impartial advice and support on switching energy tariffs, energy-saving measures and small behaviour changes – all over tea and cake. The service is free and could save you hundreds of pounds.
Tech spot: Heat pumps
We about sustainable and renewable technology a lot, so we thought it was high-time we showed you that we know our stuff, while also giving you the insider knowledge to decipher the jargon. This month, in our ‘tech spot’, we’re breaking down heat pumps.
ENERGY CAFE CHRONICLES
Last month we announced our UKPN Power Partners funding for 22 energy cafes across Lambeth, Merton and Wandsworth throughout winter 2019/2020. This funding covers training of our new energy advisors, followed by two successful energy cafes held at Morden Library throughout November.
Responding to the climate emergency and reducing fuel poverty will only be solved through communities coming together to share time, experience, knowledge and enthusiasm. CREW Energy is excited to partner with Sustainable Merton on projects within the borough. Below we feature the work of Sustainable Merton and details of how you can get involved.
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