Transition Stroud

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

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Smelly fruity wildlife


We have spent today thinking throught the vision for Transition Stroud. We did not get so far with structure. That will form the focus for a half-day workshop soon. Please try to come along. Your views really matter.

People's visions are listed in no particular order, just as they emerged, but organised under headings. They are interspersed with pictures from the workshop itself. We were all asked to model Transition Stroud as it is now, in plasticine and fluffy things. James's involves lots of pumpkins and other prickly plants; Melissa's vision reminds us not to be too fluffy (!) and Ben's look like a very solid structure indeed - but we're not sure about the rather tight boundary that surrounds it!


So how will Stroud look in 2018?

Buildings

All new buildings produce low/zero carbon
Treehouses and other hidden houses within forest gardens
Nouncells Cross has merged into Summer Street allotments
Lots of shared/communal living arrangements
Public buildings are multi-purposes
Supermarket buildings are used for gatherings, markets, etc.


Quality of Life

Painting in beautiful colours
Public art (anarchically created and displayed)
No health and safety rules - using own intelligence
Lots of gardeners chatting to passers-by
Slow
Living outside
Know lost of people I meet
Street parades and dances (no heavy metal)
Community celebrations


People
Working together happily
Loneliness and isolation a thing of the past - togetherness
People relaxed - a slower pace of life
James is the Mayor of Stroud!
Recognition that sharing feeds us all
Fewer people; lots of laughing
Children learning out of doors
People are more at peace - less frantic
People know each other and are friendly - talk to each other in person
Old people's skills used and valued - skills centres run by elders
Children being freed
Enabling each other
Equality
Neighbourhood schemes
You can't walk more than 2 miles without knowing someone

Food
Community bakehouse and icehouse
Farms as hubs for food, energy, industry, education, compost and communities
Smell fruity wildlife
Vegetables fruit and flowers everywhere - growing veg in gardens
The bypass has become an orchard
Farmers' market three days a week
Berry fields
Varied forms of agriculture: animals, vegetables, nuts, seed, fruit, hemp
Shared eating
More animals around (hens, goats, etc.)



Nature

The Earth is sacred
Clearn streams and rivers
Hear more wildlife
Respect for nature
The land is not for sale
Fewer road; more trees
Wild swimming
Wildlife thriving
Working horses

Transport

I never smell petrol fumes - only hear cars in the distance
No cars, or far fewer cars that run on renewable energy
Joined up public transport powered by solar, hydrogen and PVCs
Bicycle hubs for community use
Revival of canal system for transport
New rail station at Stonehouse high level - Nailsworth railway reopened
Lots of people walking
Tram up the High Street and Bisley Old Road
Aerial wire transport system from hill to hill
More use of animals for transport and farming


Transition Stroud
Reaching out, connecting
Hope solutions
Transition Stroud networks community decision-making: no more SDC and GCC!
TS well supported
TS hub/resource centre (or hug resource centre?) - demonstration centre
Transition Stroud no longer needs to exist
TS active and running smoothly


Enterprise
Traders guilds
I am wearing boots made by a local cobbler from a Stroud cow, local hand-made clothes uninfluenced by fashion and locally made jewellery
Schools are workshops and full of as many adults as children
Animal farm for children and husbanding skills - children are learning to grow and cook food
Old skills are brought back to the commonality
Theme markets selling crafts, where we hear the noise of chatter and play
We look back to the Age of Waste and Greed
Trees for use - woodland co-operative
No poverty - social services, hospitals etc. reduce as the need for them reduces
New industries for recycling waste - mending workshops
All small shops busy
Local jobs - no need to commute
More exchanges; less money, or no money at all, or local money!
Murals replace adverts and signs
Local small-scale industry is thriving
No McDonalds, no Woolies, no Barclays . . .
Mindset has changed so that money no longer equals survival
Industrial units side-by-side with food along the canal
Work day ends early and starts late!

Energy

A huge locally owned wind turbine in Rodborough
Tidal stream energy
Power and heat from sewage
Solar panels
Heating with wood - sustainable coppiced woodland (instead of TV)
Micro/personal home energy

Monday, 15 September 2008

Hundreds visit eco-homes over weekend

Open Homes for a more Sustainable Future

At the weekend over 750 visits were made to 12 homes in the Stroud area to see renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in action and in addition well over 400 people visited Randwick Village Hall to see the eco-exhibitions and the official opening of the hall (i). Below is the press release we sent out - but also see the childrens' poster competition here, Philip Booth's blog re the opening of the Village Hall plus photos here and lastly more re the Village Hall here.

Photos (1 to 3): Getting ready for village hall opening, one of the exhibits and inside Randwick Village Hall.

Philip Booth, the Coordinator of the Transition Stroud project who organised the opening of the 12 homes and exhibitions in Randwick Village Hall said: "We've been blown away by the response. Interest in energy efficiency and renewable energy is huge. The homeowners have had constant flows of visitors all weekend and most could not have coped with larger numbers. Enormous thanks must go to these pioneers for opening their homes to help others and give advice - indeed the whole project has been put together by volunteers and thanks must also go to them all (ii)."

WI nearly run out of cakes!

Randwick Village Hall had over 150 attend the Hall Opening with speeches by the Village Hall Committee members Alan Tomlinson and Val Flack, the District councillor for the ward, Cllr Philip Booth and Wap Mayor Stan Giles who cut the official ribbon. Flowers were presented to Krista Harris of Stroud District Council for her help with gaining the grants and to Alan Tomlinson's wife, Sue for her support. In total on the Saturday well over 400 people visited the hall, which is claimed to be the countries first carbon neutral village hall and has various insulation measures, PV and a Ground Source Heat pump which were all on show to the public along with exhibitions on energy advice, grants and various technologies.

Philip Booth commenting on the Village Halls' eco-makeover said: "The Village Hall committee, Alan Tomlinson, Val and Harden Flack and Mort Watkins have been absolutely amazing with this: it is lots of hard work to pull in the grants and get a project like this together. We are very fortunate to have such a great team which has been supported by so many in the village. It was amazing to have over 400 people visit the hall and see the exhibitions. At one point I got worried the WI would run out of cakes - but I should have remembered that has never occurred in their history and somehow other cakes were rustled up for the teas there. Indeed the money raised from the teas will be going towards the next project; improvements to the hall's toilet facilities."

Tranquility had over 250 visitors

Photos (4 to 5): Wood Pellet boiler and Tranquilty House.

Most of the homes were having over 50 visitors to see measures including wood pellet boilers, lime plasters, solar thermal, green roofs, co-housing, rainwater harvesting, external insulation and more (see website with details: www.stroudopenhomes.org.uk).

However Tranquility House that has been dubbed by the Building Contracts Journal as ‘the most energy efficient house in the world’ had over 250 visitors over the weekend.

Philip Booth said: "Tranquility House takes a very different approach to some of the other homeowners. Those who joined the tours there were given much thought-provoking information. I had the chance to talk with some of the people going around the various homes and they were grateful for the chance to discuss the possible measures and get views about the best way forward for their homes. I was also surprised to find that folk had travelled from Worcester, Bristol and a whole host of other places to see the homes. Apparently there are only two or three similar Open Homes schemes around the country - Stroud leading the way again!"

Walks and Cycle

Photos (6 to 8): Cycle group off to visit another home, details of external insulation at one home and in another home learning about lime plaster.

A cycle and walk tour went around the homes over the weekend and one further walk is going ahead on Sunday 21st September as part of the Walking Festival The four mile walk will be 10am- 4.30pm (approximately) and go around Rodborough including Tranquility House.

Philip Booth added: "Many people expressed concern about rising energy prices and the challenges climate change presents. Houses account for a quarter of UK CO2 emissions. New builds only account for less than 1% of homes and so even if we do them more sustainably we still have to sort out our older homes. Retrofitting older buildings is preferable to demolition as it avoids waste and saves the embodied energy within them rather than using more energy to make new buildings - quarrying, transporting and processing raw materials as well as construction all take lots of energy. It has been great to see the enthusiasm from the community for this Open Homes project from people in all walks of life. Let us hope it translates into eco-renovations across the whole District!"

Notes
(i) Transition Stroud will be compiling a brief report on the day: not all feedback forms from the homes have been collected yet, but the figures are based on numbers counted or estimated by the homeowners.

(ii) In addition to thanks to the homeowners thanks must also go also to Stroud District Council for funding the leaflet, Debbie Hewitt for organising the walks, the Greenshop for funding our website and Transition Stroud members who helped organise especially Paul and Claire Sheriden, Greg Dance, Dave Crane, Dave Cockcroft, James Beecher, Imogen Shaw and John Albar

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Join a local wildlife hunt

7.30 Thurs 18th Sept join a group learning more about our local wildlife with conservationist John Rhodes. Call Helen Pitel on 762957 for more info.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Help for homeowners to take green initiative


Open Homes for a sustainable future: 13th and 14th September 2008


As regular readers of this blog will know Transition Stroud have organised 12 homes around Stroud to open to the public so that they can see renewable energy in action, discuss energy efficiency and get advice on eco-renovations.

When homes were opened in Oxfordshire people got excited and inspired and already here in Stroud there is a real buzz around the project. We have homes that have taken a few measures like adding solar thermal or a wood pellet boiler to those who have taken many measures. These pioneers are showing what is possible and there is no question that with climate change and rising energy prices taking such measures is going to take off in a big way.

Houses account for a quarter of UK CO2 emissions. New builds only account for less than 1% of homes and so even if we do them more sustainably we still have to sort out our older homes. Retrofitting older buildings is preferable to demolition as it avoids waste and saves the embodied energy within them rather than using more energy to make new buildings - quarrying, transporting and processing raw materials as well as construction all take lots of energy.

On Saturday 13th September at 11am Randwick Village Hall will have it's official opening: they are have installed measures like a ground source heat pump and Solar PV and hope to be the country's first carbon neutral village hall. In the hall from 11 to 4pm there will be exhibitions of some of the measures that people can take, plus grant information and money off solar and rainwater harvesting installations from the Greenshop.

Over the weekend in addition to a whole range of measures on different homes there will also be a chance to see the largest PV generation in the country on private housing, see how co-housing works and there will also be tours of Tranquility House that has been dubbed by the Building Contracts Journal as ‘the most energy efficient house in the world’ (pictured above). There are also two guided walks of the homes which are part of the Stroud's Walking Festival and a cycle route.

See our website which has times and details of the homes plus links to many eco-renovation projects:
http://www.stroudopenhomes.org.uk/