POTEnT mid term Regional Action Plan Update
1) Building Insulation
Pilot Insulation project November 2021- March 2022 leading to https://www.homenergymk.org in partnership with Wolverton Community Energy. Short description:
The UK Government are phasing out gas boilers and providing grants for heat pumps. The problem is most homes are not energy efficient enough for a heat pump. The heat loss means larger heat pumps would be required meaning the capitol cost and running costs would be higher than if the homes had adequate insulation.
The cost of energy surveys and finding a trusted installer has made insulating homes a confusing and expensive option.
With a number of project partners, we decided to address this issue. The project plan was devised by Milton Keynes Council and Wolverton Community Energy. Funding came from local network provider Western Power Distribution. Monitors and software was bought in from Build Test Solutions. Project delivery was through three Parish Councils.
The Parish Councils asked for volunteers to have their homes assessed for heat loss. A range of 23 typical MK houses were chosen. For three weeks of February, monitors were placed in volunteers’ homes. Meter readings and monitored temperatures were fed into the software. Each house was provided with a 4 page report on heat loss, risk of mould and options to improve energy efficiency.
The result was an assessment of 23 house types that could be shared with other householders to provide an idea of how to reduce their energy costs through a fabric first approach. Insulation guides are available to assess options and find a reliable local installer.
Funding of £10,000 for the pilot project was through the Community Matters fund. This was provided by National Grid Company, District Network Operator, Western Power Distribution. The funding was only available to Local Authorities so the POTEnT team at MKCC successfully applied for the full amount available.
More information on the pilot scheme in the Interreg Europe Good Practices database ( Good practices | Interreg Europe - Sharing solutions for better policy).
Following the successful partnership in the pilot, in January 2023 a new insulation scheme in partnership with Wolverton Community Energy launched with Milton Keynes City Council funding of £150,000.
This project delivered support for householders in four ways :
20 home energy assessments using Smart HTC sensors (Build Test Solutions) to monitor heat loss throughout domestic homes. This allows for targeted energy saving measures as in the pilot scheme.
Energy Advice days in different communities across Milton Keynes.
Demonstration Homes. Volunteered homes have their energy efficiency improved. A video is made of each stage of the process to make the homes heat pump ready. Demonstration Homes have their full energy survey for free. The video is shared with homeowners with similar houses so they know what to expect from the process.
Housewarming. Monthly meetings that will help homeowners understand choices for improving the energy efficiency of their house. Courses are free and cover taking stock, insulation, doors and window, draughts and ventilation, heating and controls and building a whole house plan.
Full details on https://www.homenergymk.org.
2) Renewable Energy installations
Several sheltered housing complexes have had solar PV fitted in the last 12 months and more are planned. The work is ongoing and a summary of achievements will be in the final report in May 2023.
The MK POTEnT project team are supporting an off gas village in the early planning stages of installing a ground source heat pump network and a solar farm.
Milton Keynes City Council plan to mount PV on all Council owned properties. Last year the sheltered accommodation at Everglade House had PV installed and 140kWp was retrofitted onto Granby Court social housing. PV is already on the roof of the Civic Office and there are plans to fit PV on the facia of the building.
3a) Green Business Network-establishment
Milton Keynes Council has partnered with Ngage Solutions to support more than 150 businesses with the understanding, knowledge and resources to and more sustainable through their PRISM scheme. Ngage will use its expert knowledge to engage, advise as well as signpost businesses to the support they need in various ways including: Providing practical engagement live events covering how businesses may be impacted by climate change and what they can do to mitigate the impacts. They will also provide access to alternative grant funding to the uptake of low carbon technologies and connecting businesses through community engagement and develop and inform members on the best ways to save and grow sustainably. Businesses who engage with the project will gain access to a specialist team that will help to demystify climate jargon, access to tools and resources that will support them to measure baseline emissions and set actionable long-term carbon reduction targets.
3b) Green Business Network-low carbon installations
The businesses who are training on the Cranfield University project (see business Green Growth below) are committed to low carbon actions but we do not yet have anything to report. We will be hearing about the plans of these businesses before the final POTEnT report in May 2023.
3c) Green Business Network-Funding
Green business funding of £500,000 investment has been offered to MK businesses and community groups.
The not-for-profit economic development organisation Ngage has partnered with Milton Keynes Council to deliver their PRISM Project in the area. The funding of £100,000 is running until March 2023. The Prism project supports MK based businesses achieve their climate action goals. The programme will help 180 local businesses by providing practical support for local firms, including grant funding and expert advice and training to help business make the most of low carbon opportunities. Prism will run events and workshops for companies and create a network of like-minded businesses who can work together.
4) Green Roofs
A grant of £60,000 was awarded to Bridgman and Bridgman LLP to construct a green roof on MKC owned Saxon Court.
Green Roof presentations and workshops, both on line and in person, have been delivered in 2022 and early 2023.
5) Skills training, apprenticeships
- Bridgman and Bridgman are training eight young unemployed individuals from YMCA MK and Groundwork UK to install and maintain green roofs.
- The Parks Trust in Milton Keynes have been awarded £54,585 to take on four new trainees to help maintain green spaces in MK.
- The business Green Growth funding of £250,000 for Cranfield University is currently running to train 50 Businesses. This is a highly bespoke and innovative scheme at the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship with a focus on:
- Adopting green business practices
- The creation of green jobs
- The reduction of carbon emissions and
- The deployment of green technologies