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Saving Resources

Saving resources can help combat climate change. It can involve low cost measures, such as composting, rainwater harvesting and improved insulation, as well as major investment in heating and renewable energy systems.

Both the South East and West Midlands RCAN regions have produced guidance showing how local groups can "green" their Community Led Plan. There is increasing need for communities to address at a local level, issues concerning the long term health and sustainability of their community. This guidance is written to assist communities developing a Community Plan in addressing these issues. One of the purposes of developing a Community Plan is to set out a vision of how each local community would like their town or village to develop. In order to do this, it is helpful for communities to both clearly understand key environmental issues and how prioritising local sustainability issues makes for more genuinely effective and successful projects.

Energy Efficiency Audits

Energy efficiency audit services are provided by RCAN members for community buildings and village halls throughout England.Recommendations are then offered on how to reduce carbon and save money through installing new systems or simply changing working practices.This includes no/low cost measures, such as composting, rainwater harvesting and improved insulation, as well as major investment in heating and renewable energy systems. Greening a community building is often the catalyst for individual behavioural change – local users take home the lessons learned on reducing energy costs. For more information on RCAN work with village halls visit our Community Assets pages.

Examples of Energy Efficient Village Halls

Whilst most actions are small, there are some outstanding examples of new halls which have benefited from RCAN advice on sustainable construction.

Rock Village Hall in Worcestershire demonstrates best practice in the sustainable construction.Hemp was used for insulation and recycled plastics for the underground drainage. Recycled aggregates were used in the foundations and all of the timber came from Forestry Stewardship Council sources. A Ground Source Energy system heats the building and water for the toilets is provided by a rainwater harvesting system.

In Ollerton with Marthall, Cheshire, the community used the evidence documented within their Community Led Plan to successfully bid for Big Lottery funding to develop a new ‘eco’ village hall. This will provide for an environmentally friendly, sustainable and economically viable facility serving the community well into the future.

A new, unique village hall has recently been constructed for the Norfolk villages of Neatishead, Irstead and Barton Turf, partially funded by the Big Lottery Fund. Locally harvested straw is the main insulation material and this will be rendered by hand using lime. The building is timber-framed (using recycled products where appropriate), has a green roof, uses rain water recycling, uses solar power and will be heated using a ground-source heat pump system. A number of successful community involvement days were held, with over 170 local people, old and young alike, visiting the site and helping to transfer the straw bales into the building.