Saturday, May 10, 2008

Albert Square Sumer Fete

I will have a stand at the Albert Square Summer Fete (June 7th, 3pm-6pm) explaining what we're trying to do here and answering any questions. There will also be a form for you to show that you're interested in taking part (you don't need to commit to anything at this stage) . The more people that say they may want to take part now, the more chance we have of getting through to the next round (so get your friends and neighbours to sign up too!)

Of course if you have any questions now or would like to sign up and show your interest email Chris: or give me a call on 07971 198555

New ideas

A few of us met in the Royal Albert the other night to discuss the second round proposal. A few key points came out of that:
- Try to get the following landlords on board: Westminster School, Guys & St Thomas's Trust and the Church
- Governance - Executive Committee of 4-6 people (tbd) with 'community forum' which meets on a regular (e.g. 3 month) basis (will this forum have voting or any other statutory rights?)
- Legal framework (and household contracts) to be informed by Pro Bono lawyers but along the lines of company limited by guarantee
- Community engagement - Expand the remit to cover recycling, composting, supermarket deliveries, potentially transport, bicycles and other green initiatives to raise awareness
- Use of prize money - To expand the coverage of the initiative to other similar neighbourhoods throughout the UK through education, publicity and other mechanisms such as English Heritage (what were the other ones mentioned - Victorian and Georgian housing association?)
- Publicity - Develop media publicity if/when we get through to last 10.

The governance a legal stuff are a bit boring but if we get those right we can concentrate onthe important goal of reducing our emissions. Its also worth noting that if we get a simple, workable governance and legal structure set up that we can prove works, other neighbourhoods can copy it.
One of the most interesting things to come out of the meeting was the diversity of ideas, even from such a small group. Ideas like all getting our groceries delivered on the same day might have a relatively small impact on its own but this is all about small steps adding up to one giant leap! An idea I particularly like is an ASSA Freeconomy, some of us already do this - e.g. leave a working DVD player outside the front of our house with a sign saying take me. This is a great way to reuse equipment and furniture rather than recycle or trash it. Maybe we could extend this to having a local Freeconomy section on the blog.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

We're down to the last 100!

We're through to the next stage and down to the last 100!

Now we need to submit a detailed project plan explaining our proposal so that judges can assess whether or not it is feasible and likely to succeed.

Part of that proposal will be a survey of residents to determine who would be interested in taking part. At the moment, while the plan is still very high level, we are looking for residents to express an interest in having energy efficiency measures and potentially low carbon energy generation equipment installed in their homes. Not only will this save money but is also likely to add value to your property, oh and of course, reduce your carbon emissions!

If you would be interested in taking part or are just curious, call Chris Morrison 07971 198555

Monday, April 21, 2008

What's it all about?

The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) is running a prize fund - the Big Green Challenge - offering a £1 million prize over two years to the community that can demonstrate an innovative approach to reducing their carbon dioxide emissions by 60%.

The prize will go to one community and can be spent on anything (within reason). ASSA has decided to submit an entry to the competition. The proposal is to engage as many residents/landlords/tenants in the ASSA area as possible to install energy-saving measures and low carbon energy generation equipment to achieve the 60% reduction in emissions. This would all be done at zero cost, and capital outlay to residents would increase the house value and reduce bills (no, there isn't a catch, and yes it is possible!).

Challenge of climate change
It's hard not to be aware of the threats climate change will pose if we don't significantly reduce CO2 emissions in the next 10-15 years. What you may not be aware of is that 40% of UK emissions come from residential and commercial buildings. There are a lot of regulations covering new buildings, and by 2016 all new homes will need to be carbon neutral - but what about older buildings like ours? Houses standing today will make up 85% of the houses standing in 2050, and conservation area homes make up a large minority of those houses, but little has been done to consider the unique problems houses like ours present.

The ASSA proposal seeks to address these problems while making it as easy as possible for residents to adopt a range of measures, including:
∗ energy-efficiency improvements, like insulation, draught-proofing, new light bulbs and more efficient boilers and appliances
∗ low carbon energy generation equipment, like solar water heating and electricity generation, ground source heat pumps and combined heat and power boilers.

Under the proposal, third-party companies would be brought in to carry out the work, and the initial installation costs would be paid for by energy savings and the many grants available for this work. Each resident will be offered a set of options that would suit their flat or house, and the financing will be arranged without them taking on any debt (the supply company takes on the debt).

If you have any questions, would like to get involved or are simply just curious, please contact Chris Morrison - - 07971 198555.