Recently, Global Footsteps trustees met up with Councillor Max Wilkinson to share ideas on how the charity can contribute to reducing carbon emissions. Max is Cheltenham Borough Council member for climate and communities, and lead member on the “Cheltenham Zero” initiative which includes the commitment for Cheltenham to become a carbon neutral borough by 2030.
We showed him what we were doing already, with our highly insulated building in Portland Street, which uses renewable energy for lighting, heating and power. As well as generating electricity, we hope that we can generate ideas amongst businesses, community groups and households in the town, showing them how they may reduce their dependence on fossil fuels as well.
Global Footsteps undertook a major eco-refurbishment of our building about 10 years ago. It was in very poor repair, and we wanted to show how we could make the necessary improvements as environmentally-friendly as possible.
It is a typical building for central Cheltenham, of Regency appearance although built slightly later. The improvements show what can be done with a Regency-style building to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions and improve the environment. This retrofit included good insulation, renewable energy, and low energy lighting.
The side and back walls at first and second floor level have 200mm celotex insulation and panel cladding on the outside.
The front walls and ground floor are insulated on the inside, with insulated plasterboard, so that the appearance at the front isn’t changed, and so that the side path isn’t too narrow.
Windows were previously aluminium framed and badly fitting. Now they are mainly sash windows with double glazed secondary glazing, more in keeping with the building, as well as being much less draughty.
The roof was in very poor repair, so was completely replaced with a well insulated flat roof, giving space for solar panels and an air source heat pump.
The four solar PV panels generate electricity, and the display in the shop above the door to the stairs shows how much has been generated, and how much CO2 saved.
The solar thermal panel heats the water and stores it in a well insulated cylinder.
The air source heat pump provides central heating using renewable energy, extracting heat from the air. It provides underfloor heating, with controls in each room.
The lighting is a mixture of LED lights, with dimmable low energy lights and automatic lighting to the stairs and toilets.
The Global Footsteps charity can arrange tours of the building, as we did for Max Wilkinson. There is access to the roof, which offers great views as well as close-ups of renewable energy. We hope to be arranging showcase events, as well as offering individual tours. We can also answer questions and give more details on energy savings if you are thinking of improving your own home or business using some of this technology. Contact Alison on firstname.lastname@example.org