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Renewable Energy Black Isle Style (01/07/09)
Following on from last year’s Black Isle Ward Forum on the subject of Greening the Black Isle, 14 community buildings across the Black Isle Ward have now successfully had their premises audited for energy efficiency, energy management and renewable energy options.
The audit will assist groups in making choices which will reduce their running costs and carbon emissions. Several of the groups have already started to develop capital projects, based on the findings of the report, to undertake energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in their buildings. Resolis Hall has recently installed a solar panel for domestic hot water, whilst Ferintosh Hall are due to start work on their insulation and the addition of a solar system this summer. It is hoped that other halls will follow.
Results from the energy study were presented by consultant, Jim Hart, Senior Environmental Scientist with AECOM last week at an evening event chaired by Councillor Isobel McCallum in Culbokie Primary School. Melanie MacRae from Community Energy Scotland was also there to give groups advice and support on developing their renewable project and also giving details of the new CARES community renewable Scottish Government scheme which sees groups being eligible for up to 90% of the costs of a renewable heating system. Liz Whiteford and Nicole Wallace from LEADER were also there to talk about the European LEADER funding stream which has a local budget that these projects would also be eligible for.
Speaking on behalf of the Black Isle Councillors, Isobel McCallum said she was delighted with the turnout for the event. She said: “The feedback from people has been very positive. The audit and the presentation by Jim Hart of AECOM was very informative. The session gave people from the Black Isle the opportunity to share experiences and problems and to discuss solutions. With support from our ward members, Community Energy Scotland and the Leader project it is a good news story in that there is money available to make changes and become greener.”
Representatives from each of the halls and buildings are now away to speak with their committees to prioritise what may be possible to improve their energy efficiency and to seek advice and quotes. It was agreed at the meeting that the group will come together again in September to decide whether to submit one funding application covering the Black Isle.
Jim Hart, Senior Environmental Scientist with AECOM said: “We were delighted to be involved in this project, which highlighted opportunities to introduce renewable energy and energy efficiency measures to a wide variety of buildings. There are some commonalities between the projects which will allow the groups to take a collaborative approach to grant funding and procurement, therefore saving time and money. The area is home to some good renewable resources, including sun, wind, and a local biomass fuel supply chain, and the people of the Black Isle showed real enthusiasm for exploiting them. I look forward to seeing the community benefit from having buildings that cost less to run and are more comfortable to occupy."