PRESENTATION BY THE RENEWABLE ENERGY ENTERPRISE (TREE)
Our Spring whole group meeting was organised by the Climate Action Group, who arranged for David Todd and Josh Hunt from The Renewable Energy Enterprise (TREE) to give us a presentation.
TREE’s mission is to reduce our carbon footprint. They work mostly in private homes, although they also do some commercial work. They advise on and install Air Source Heat Pumps and Solar PV, and advise on other areas as well.
It is estimated that each home emits on average 8.3 tonnes of CO2 a year, and TREE estimate that this can be reduced to 2.9 tonnes a year.
With every project, TREE send a project manager in advance to do a full impact study on the building.
Solar PV: this no longer makes money for the house owner, but it does save money, and help the environment.
- Technological advances in the last ten years now mean that the panels are 93% efficient.
- Panels have a warranty for 25 years, but are expected to last for more than 40 years.
- It is possible to store power produced in the day in a battery, and use it at night. You need to get the right sized battery – it is better to buy too little, and add to it later, than buy too much.
- The new technology has a higher cost than the old technology, and proper registration and certification are required.
- The quality of the installation is very important.
- The source of the raw materials tends to be mostly from Australia and China, so there is a carbon debt at the outset.
- It is very problematic to install solar panels on listed buildings, but the National Park Authority now has a more relaxed attitude when planning permission is sought, if the panels are not placed facing onto the road.
- A question was asked about solar roof tiles as an alternative. David said these look good, but they are very thin, making their efficiency very low. They are difficult to get hold of, and it is hard to find a qualified person to install them. He felt the situation might improve in a few years time.
Air Source Heat Pumps: when combined with solar panels this makes very good environmental and economic sense.
- The major brands include Grant, Mitsubishi, Samsung, Vaillant and LG.
- A standard system has a capacity to heat to 70 degrees; an air source heat pump has a capacity to heat to 50 degrees.
- Before installation a Heat Loss Report is drawn up for each room, to determine if radiators need to be changed.
- An up-to-date EPC is also required.
- There needs to be adequate space for the pump (at least 1m from the boundary; if there is less room, you need planning permission) and a storage tank.
- The refrigerant used is not yet as environmentally friendly as they would like, but it is improving.
- There is an upfront cost of about £10-17/18,000. The Renewable Heat Incentive finishes at the end of this month, but there will be a Boiler Upgrade scheme, which will provide £5,000 upfront towards costs.
TREE is now forming a partnership with Ecology Action Ltd, who have reforestation projects all over the world.. TREE now plant 100 trees for each installation. This helps reduce the carbon debt caused by getting the panels made and shipped from Australia/China.
Lynn: how noisy are the Air Source Heat Pumps? They make a light hum, like the sound of a fridge
Sheelagh: Hope Valley survey shows an increase from 7% to 70% support for the use of renewable energy.
Simon: alternative heat source for the Institute, ie a Victorian church hall? David and Josh said TREE are currently working on a similar project, and will be able to give advice from that in a few months’ time.
Sheelagh: she extends an open invitation to visit her house when the TREE work currently being done is completed.
Lynn: Could you put solar panels on a large shed? The shed would need to be structurally strong enough.
Anna: Can you put panels on a west facing roof? Preferably south west, if no south facing roof.
Any questions to TREE: contact Sheelagh or Andrea for their contact details.
David and Josh were warmly thanked for their clear presentation.
PROJECT GROUP UPDATES:
Ethical Consumer Group:
Jules reported on the Buy for Good club. It now has about 16 members, and can take more. Lembas, the supplier, has said that this is their most successful group.
Repair Cafe: it has recently received a fourth grant from DDCVS which is for more than was being asked for, so it now possible to go ahead and establish the cafe. It is becoming a member of the Repair Cafe Foundation, which provides a starter pack, templates and logo, and puts the cafe on an international data base. Insurance is being sorted out, and it is hoped to site the cafe in the new community centre. It is hoped that the cafe will open after Easter at the latest. There are several volunteers, but more would be welcome. It is envisaged that the cafe will operate about once a month, probably on a Saturday. Repairers would not need to come every time. Volunteers are needed to help with organising, getting the venue ready, and running the cafe.
Lynn asked for more volunteers for the Butterfly Transects, which involves walking a set route through Tideswell Dale about once a month, and sending numbers of butterflies to the central person in Derbyshire who collates them.
Queen’s Jubilee Tree Planting: the National Park Authority is giving up up to 400 free trees to plant by the end of March. The launch will be on 20th March, with trees being given out behind the church. 16 people have signed up so far. Litton School are taking at least 50 trees – thanks to Andrea and Sheelagh for contact there. The Scouts and Cubs will help plant there, and it is hoped that there will be another large site where the young people in the Climate Pathfinders Youth Forum (CPYF) can plant. There will be activities over the summer, and more trees will be planted in the autumn.
Climate Action Group:
Sheelagh said they are continuing to push for a second meeting with Sarah Dines, MP, to push on the pace of government policy – home energy transition and installation, and helping those in fuel poverty who are unable to pay. There have been new members in CPYF. Thanks to Sue for stepping up to take on the safeguarding lead.
Apologies from the new lead, Laura B, who could not attend tonight. A big thank you to the outgoing leads, Suzanne and Steve, for setting up the group, organising the equipment, and organising the litter picks to date. The next litter pick may be in April – Laura will confirm the date.
Rob has a new role with Derbyshire Dales CVS, and reported that Tideswell is seen as a vibrant and active community within the Dales, and TDEG plays a part in this.