Transition Stroud

This is a shared history blog. Together we can write the history of our process of transition as it happens.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Proposal: Open Eco Homes and Productive Gardens

Several members of Transition Stroud put forward this idea in Working Groups, but at present there is not a group organising it. There was not time to discuss it at the recent Transition Open Meeting so I have put the info below and circulated it to various email lists to see if there is support.

Photo: Clare Sheridan who has done lots to promote renewables locally - her home has featured in many magazines and newspapers

I would be happy to help this project but would like more support before taking it further forward - is there anyone who would be prepared to help get the project together? My notes below are gleaned from various conversations with TS folk and others - plus very draft ideas on what help is needed. Please email or phone me if you are interested so that we can gain a measure of interest in this project?

Background - Open Studios

Many will be aware of the huge and growing success, year on year, of the Open Studios in Stroud. Some 200 artists exhibit in many homes across the District that are open for 2 weekends in June - in addition to exhibitions in homes and other venues there are also talks, walks, poetry and performance throughout June. See more re Open Studios here:
http://www.sva.org.uk/site07info/site07press/open.studiospressrelease.html

Could this format work to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy measures?

The idea would be to give people the opportunity to travel around the District over one or two days to see PV, turbines, insulation, Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems, permaculture/organics etc and be able to talk to householders who have taken these measures. Many people find it difficult to find good information or how to proceed - here is a chance to ask the owners of these systems why they chose them and how they are performing.

It has been done elsewhere?

I have been pointed to various schemes across the country that are similar to this proposal. In London for example one day in the Autumn various Eco-homes are opened up including BedZED.

Another approach was undertaken in North Devon by a small local sustainability organisation who secured funding for a "powerhouse" project, which comprised of a weekend drop-in event with various workshops, and minibus trips to visit local examples of household energy-saving, energy-generation, or green building materials etc. The 'Energy Safari' was apparently the highlight - there were various small themed tours of renewable energy and energy saving systems installed in local homes plus a 'base camp' exhibition on renewable energy and energy saving. More details from:
http://www.tag4s.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=24&Itemid=39

What next?

I have tentatively suggested the idea to the Sustainability Officer at Stroud District Council to explore possible support and funding. The Green Shop have also been helpful in making suggestions for visits.

If we are to proceed we will need help with various aspects - should we look at Energy Safaris and Open Homes? Is there someone prepared to seek funding to pay an organiser of the event? Or could we start low key this year to test water and get funding only for leaflets etc? What is viable? Here are some first thoughts on things that may need doing:

- putting together a list of willing homes/visit sites
- signage to homes on the weekend
- putting together a leaflet/booklet of route
- funding for leaflet etc
- publicity
- Safari organiser
- Exhibition organiser

Let me know if you are at all interested in all or part of this possible project.

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