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COMMUNITY ENERGY

Wolverton Community Energy is a project aimed at helping the Wolverton community generate renewable energy and become environmentally sustainable

Wolverton Community Energy aims to install solar PV panels on the roofs of industrial and community buildings throughout the Wolverton area, including the local schools. The surplus will be invested in energy efficiency across the Wolverton community, helping vulnerable people keep warmer, and reducing fuel bills.

The project was incubated by Future Wolverton, but is now legally separate.

To find out more visit the Wolverton Community Energy website at: www.wolvertoncommunityenergy.uk

Energy issues in Wolverton

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Why is Future Wolverton working on energy projects?
In 2010 when Future Wolverton undertook a consultation process to refresh the 20-year ‘Vision’ for Wolverton, one of the clear priorities to emerge from local people was their concern about personal energy use and climate change.  For this reason, the new 5 year Action Plan included a specific section on energy.  The ‘Future Wolverton, Future Energy’ project is helping us deliver that part of the Action Plan.
Why is energy use a particular issue in Wolverton?
Wolverton’s centre is made up of a series of streets, laid out in a grid pattern, of Victorian redbrick terraced houses. Other residential areas, including a large number of 1930s semi detached houses, have developed around this central core.

Many of the town’s 3,200 residential properties have solid walls. This means they cannot be insulated with cavity wall insulation and can be difficult and/or expensive to heat.  This is one of the reasons why Wolverton has one of the highest levels of fuel poverty in Milton Keynes (according to the MK Affordable Warmth Strategy).

The projects

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Energy Efficient Demonstration Home
Following a successful application to the Department for the Environment and Climate Change in 2012, Future Wolverton and MK Christian Foundation were funded to begin the creation of an Energy Efficient Demonstration Home.   Located on Buckingham Street, the house has solid wall insulation fitted throughout, and energy efficient appliances. We hope to introduce more measures as funding allows.  This initial funding also supported the first Future Energy Show in the town which took place in March 2012.

The partnerships that developed during the course of this project have created further opportunities for the Future Energy project.

Government’s Green Deal
In January 2013, Future Wolverton was asked by the National Energy Foundation to take part in another project to promote the Government’s Green Deal. Specially trained volunteers carried out simple home energy surveys with Wolverton residents to establish if they could take advantage of the Green Deal.

Forty three Wolverton residents went onto have a full Green Deal Assessment carried out on their homes, enabling them to be in a position to take advantage of the Government’s Green Deal programme.

Solid Wall Insulation
In the Autumn of 2012, Milton Keynes Council agreed to set aside £25,000 of “Carbon Neutrality” funding for specific use in Wolverton. This money was used to support an information campaign about Solid Wall Insulation which took place in October 2012. The remainder of the funds will now be available as grants to local residents to encourage the installation of solid wall insulation or floor insulation in Wolverton homes.

In 2014/15 Wolverton was fortunate to be included in another project to install Solid Wall Insulation in hard to heat Victorian terraced properties, funded by the then Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Over 40 households in Wolverton benefited from grants of up to £6,500 per household* to help with the cost of installing solid wall insulation.

The grants were available to both owner-occupied and private rented properties, and all the work was done by an approved company working with Milton Keynes Council.

Solar PV
Wolverton Community Energy (WCE)  have been delighted to work with MK Community Foundation, installing 280 Kw of solar PV at their Burners Lane property in Kiln Farm.

Burners Lane is home to a range of charities, social enterprises and private businesses, many of whom are keen to keep their energy costs to a minimum in order to maximise the benefit they can give back to the wider community.

The installation took place during November and December 2015, and became fully operational in January 2016

Founded in 1981, Camphill Milton Keynes (CMKC*) provides support and a meaningful working life for adults with a wide range of learning difficulties. Over fifty residents live together with volunteer staff in ten separate households. Together the residents, volunteers and employees form a community of over one hundred people living on several sites on the neighbouring housing estates of Pennyland and Willen Park.

WCE’s partnership with Camphill has so far involved installing 50 Kw of solar PV on their Willen Park village, and WCE are currently working with them to explore renewable heating options.

Energy efficient lighting

Wolverton Community Energy (WCE) provided a capital contribution as part of a scheme to install £20,000 worth of energy efficient LED lighting at Wyvern School. WCE’s partners here were Pure Leapfrog, the leading provider of social investment and professional support to community energy projects in the UK, who accessed the British Airways Carbon Fund.

The new lighting will cut the school’s lighting bills by around 50%. However, the benefits are not only financial. There is increasing evidence that LED lighting also has a positive impact on children’s learning. WCE will work with the school to evaluate these impacts.