Passions Shine Through for Environmental Concerns

Posted: 24.03.11

Passion for environmental concerns lights the way through a community building in Haworth, just one of many to receive advice and funding on energy efficiency.

A number of buildings in the South Pennines have already been assessed by BEAT, the Bradford Environmental Action Trust, thanks to Pennine Prospect’s LEADER funding, helping to highlight how to save money through energy efficiency and in turn promoting the role that can be played by community buildings in protecting the environment.

Following the energy audit of West Lane Baptist Church, Haworth, further funding has also enabled the congregation to complete some of the work needed.
Minister Chris Upton is hopeful that the church can lead the way: “We are taking a twin approach on this issue: we are taking action as individuals and as a congregation but also hope to act as an example to the community. I believe that our building, which is used by many community organisations, can flag up sustainability and be another link in the change that needs to happen.

“It would be easy to throw out environmental concerns in this economic climate but we believe it’s even more important than ever,” added Rev Upton, who has been instrumental in accessing expertise and funds to ensure the building is more energy efficient.

As part of this work BEAT conducted an energy audit and recommended a number of actions that could be taken to remedy some of the issues highlighted. Funding secured through LEADER enabled work to be carried out, including under-floor insulation, insulation of a mezzanine floor and draught exclusion measures for the back door, which is subjected to extreme weather conditions.

“The main job was to get under-floor insulation,” explained Rev Upton. “The floor was cold, which wasn’t great for the toddlers we have using the building, or people taking part in yoga classes. We’ve also put insulation in the roof void of the mezzanine floor, which has had an impact on noise levels and heat retention.”

Rosie Broomhead, of West Lane Baptist Church, said the savings on the energy bills would make a big difference to the congregation, which has the responsibility to care for the grade two listed building.

“The energy audit was free and then we had to apply to LEADER for the funding to complete the insulation work,” explained Mrs Broomhead.

“This is quite a big building and it’s used by many different organisations. The under-floor insulation will make a real difference to us. We were encouraged when we got news of the funding. Everyone has been so helpful, especially James Robinson from BEAT: he’s been great.”

Pennine Prospects, a rural regeneration partnership operating throughout the South Pennines, has commissioned BEAT to conduct energy audits of community buildings throughout the area, as well as providing training events for people who manage community buildings.

James Robinson, energy specialist at BEAT, explained the process: “We have a target of conducting ten energy audits on community buildings in the South Pennines per year. We did that last year and we’re on target to complete at least that many again this year.

“LEADER is very good as not only does it fund the audits, through us, but it also has the capital funding pot to which people, who manage these community buildings, can then apply. And we can help them with that too.

“Chris Upton has also been on two of our training days, one of which was actually based at West Lane Baptist Church. At these training events we look at managing energy in their buildings, monitoring, billing and tariffs, as well as practical tips, renewable energy and what might be applicable to their building.”

So far BEAT has given training to representatives from 50 organisations, held learning exchange visits and been involved in a film charting their work.

Community buildings throughout the South Pennines to have benefited from an energy audit include Littleborough Coach House; St Michael’s Centre, Mytholmroyd; Wadsworth Community Centre, Old Town; and the Trades’ Club, Hebden Bridge. Organisations such as Lees Methodist Church, Keighley; Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, and Slaithwaite Community Centre have also received LEADER funding for work to be undertaken.

For further information contact Ruth Hair.

Yorkshire Water United Utilities Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council National Farmers Union
South Pennines Association Lancashire County Council Pennine Heritage Kirklees Council Calderdale Council
Bradford District Council Northern Rail Natural England Environment Agency The National Trust