Advice on being green, and renewable energy

Having read Forum for the Future’s “Funding Revolution” guide last week, I decided that it was too important to keep to myself!  If you would like your community to get more involved in protecting the environment then this guide will be extremely useful to you.

The main theme of the Funding Revolution Guide is the idea of a Revolving Fund, an organisation that can make agreements with investors to purchase assets such as energy generation equipment, lease places to install this equipment, or make loans for other carbon saving projects. 

“It ‘revolves’ by receiving incomes from loans, or from the generation of heat or power, and using these revenues to repay investors and put the surplus into more projects.” (quote taken from the guide)

For example, it works particularly well with Solar PV (solar electricity generation); where money is invested in solar panels installed on the roof of a house or community centre, the revenue from the Feed-in Tariff is then re-invested in solar panels for another house, and so the cycle continues.

The long-term changes you will see as a result of these revolving funds include community support and engagement and green credentials for the community.  These changes can lead to increase in the market value of houses in that community, and lower energy bills for the individual or community.  However, arguably the most important benefit is that it offsets the often large initial costs of installation etc; which is the predominant reason why households and communities are reluctant to invest in renewable energy systems.

Of course it’s not just about renewable energy generation, the fund can go towards more effective community recycling projects, cavity wall and loft insulation, or even a seminar for local residents on how to conserve energy.

This may sound like a fantasy to some readers but believe it or not communities like this already exist in the UK.  Kirkless Council’s “Recharge Fund” has helped with low carbon technologies, West Oxford Community Renewables has installed solar panels on local buildings, and Hook Norton Low Carbon has assisted the local community to reduce its carbon footprint over a number of years.

You can read about all this and more in Forum for the Future’s Funding Revolution Guide by downloading it at http://www.forumforthefuture.org/projects/funding-revolution.

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