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Bristol City Council Backs Community Energy Projects



The Bristol Community Energy Fund is offering grants to projects that focus on energy in local communities. Grants of up to £10,000 are available to projects that positively develop the way energy is generated in communities, as well as how it powers them. The council’s Bristol Community Energy Fund will support projects that provide solutions to energy challenges faced by communities.

Through the fund, Bristol City Council is aiming to reach and engage with communities which have traditionally been less involved in the energy movement. The funding is not just for community energy groups but openly encourages community groups and organisations with charitable aims to apply in order to broaden the reach of valuable energy awareness and renewable technologies to the whole city. Funded projects should support these groups and local residents to:

  • Reduce energy use
  • Move towards cleaner and renewable sources of energy
  • Take measures that can help meet their energy needs affordably.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “I’m fully behind making Bristol carbon neutral by 2050 and addressing inequalities in the city.  For this, we need get the whole city involved. The groups least engaged with energy issues have tended to be those most prone to fuel poverty, least likely to access information that might encourage them to undertake energy efficiency measures or to benefit from generating their own energy.

“By supporting projects that help address the specific needs of communities, we can begin to bridge that gap, helping residents to gain from a more sustainable relationship with energy and the local environment.” 

Of the 32 submissions made under the first round of funding earlier this year, twelve projects were successful and received a total of over £53,000.  Local charity, Bristol Playbus, was one of them and will use their grant to add solar panels to their Sensory Truck, a mobile sensory environment for children with a disability or life-limiting illness. The solar panels mean that the equipment on the truck can work without the use of diesel generators.

Katie Hanchard-Goodwin, Project Coordinator at Bristol Playbus, said: “Here at Bristol Playbus, our goal is to ensure that geographical isolation and/or lack of specialist transportation is never an obstacle to a disabled child or young person’s ability to access the cutting edge specialist learning equipment they need to thrive. Our Sensory Truck allows us to bring sensory play facilities to the – often literal – doorsteps of these communities. The amazing support from the Bristol Community Energy Fund ensures that we continue to reach more and more of these kids all the time.”

Hillcrest Primary school also received a grant, which is contributing to getting children involved in using energy more efficiently.

Bridget Norman, Deputy Head of Hillcrest Primary in Brislington, said: “The grant from the Bristol Community Energy Fund has allowed us to work with the Royal Town Planning Institute’s Environmental Education project to help our Green Team, made up of 12 Year Five children, understand the importance of being more energy efficient at home, at school and in the journeys we make. Our Green Team are becoming ‘Energy Ambassadors’ and will look at ways to disseminate the information they have learnt to our school community as well as other schools who want to become more energy aware.”

The Bristol-based housing association, Ashley Housing, will use their funding to raise awareness among their tenants, helping them to become more energy efficient.

Naomi Gill from Ashley Housing, said: “Managing energy use in the home is a new concept to many of our tenants who are new to the UK and this is an opportunity to raise awareness and understanding of energy amongst the local BME community. We are planning to use the Bristol Community Energy Fund to run workshops covering a series of topics from global warming to draught proofing, with the aim of helping our tenants reduce their energy bills and share their knowledge with the wider community. The fund is enabling us to acquire the resources and staff to run the project, as well as helping us to adapt our properties to make them more energy efficient.”

Responding to feedback from groups that submitted proposals the first time around, the council has extended the application window to just over seven weeks.

There are two types of grant available to Bristol groups – the Small Grants which offer up to £2,000 and the Large Grants, which offer up to £10,000 to projects. Both grants are designed to encourage behavioural change and enable renewable or energy-efficiency projects. Applications for both grants must be submitted by 8 August 2016.

Those projects that weren’t successful the first time are also being encouraged to submit again, with Bristol City Council offering support to enhance those applications.

Community groups, individuals and businesses interested in getting involved in the local community energy scene can find more information on the fund’s website:


7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption



Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions |

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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