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15 April 2011, 16:04
A Thames Valley village is one of 14 in the country hoping to win a £100,000 by competeing to cut the most energy.
Tackley in Oxfordshire is cutting their energy supply by a quarter by installing solar panels and insulating homes.
The community has revolutionised the way it generates and uses energy after British Gas installed solar panels and a ground source heat pump on the local village hall, and through the use of nearly 600 energy saving measures, ranging from efficient light bulbs to energy monitors, in local homes.
The measures, combined with simple changes in behaviour, such as switching off appliances when not in use, have had a big impact on the community. As well as dramatically cutting electricity costs, the village solar panels generate an income of around £2,900 a year through the Feed-in Tariff scheme, which pays the owners of solar panels for the renewable electricity they generate and use. The village hall’s ground source heat pump cuts its heating costs and also earns a yearly income of £1,800 through a similar scheme called the Renewable Heat Incentive.
The hall is a registered charity run for the benefit of the village and is at the heart of the community. It offers facilities for hire, function rooms and a successful community shop and cafe.
During his visit, the Prime Minister spoke to members of the community whose homes have benefited from simple energy efficiency measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation, radiator panels, cylinder jackets and energy monitors as well as seeing how the village hall generates its own power and heat.
Tackley school has also been involved in this project and has benefited by a greenhouse to support their eco friendly agenda. The 7-8 year olds of the school have put their ideas about energy conservation on paper and produced a picture depicting what energy conservation means to them. David Cameron presented Ellie Gilllman with a certificate and small prize for her winning entry. (There were also 5 highly commended entries from Thomas Norton, Freya Smith, Katie Sale, Phoebe May and Anya Crocker).
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“This is the Big Society in action. I have been supporting this project from the beginning and it’s great to see the people of Tackley and British Gas working hard and getting results, which are cutting energy bills and generating clean, green energy."
Gill Withers, a resident of Tackley Village said:
“It’s wonderful to have David Cameron visit us and see the changes we have made in our community. The British Gas Green Streets project has created a real buzz in the village. Community buildings are a great opportunity to generate energy and engage people. Everyone in Tackley can see our solar panels, learn how they work and understand what renewable energy is all about."