It is good practice to follow the ‘energy hierarchy’, prioritising actions as below.
This means looking at measures which save energy before you look at renewable energy.
For example, improving insulation is an energy conservation measure, upgrading lighting to LEDs is an energy efficiency measure and solar PV panels or replacing oil or gas heating with an air or ground source heat pump are renewable energy measures.
Open eco homes
is a long-running project from Cambridge Carbon Footprint. Householders who have renovated or built new eco homes pass on their knowledge to visitors by organising tours in their homes over two days in September. The advice is local, independent and free, (although donations are always very welcome). As well as tours, the project includes workshops to help build retrofitting skills and knowledge. Case studies, including details of local suppliers, are available on the website. Although mainly featuring homes, Open Eco Homes provides lots of useful information relevant to Community buildings
The Centre for Sustainable Energy have a useful guide explaining some of the issues related to energy efficiency in community buildings with practical steps to carry out an energy audit, and provide some guidance on possible improvements and how to fund them.
CAT (Centre For Alternative Technology) offers free, independent and impartial advice on a wide array of topics relating to sustainability with information on renewable energy and green buildings
If you are unable to generate all the energy you need using renewables, you may wish to consider switching to a green tariff. This sends a message to your supplier and the wider industry that you wish to avoid electricity generated from fossil fuels.
Thermal imaging cameras:
To make your building energy efficient, it helps to understand where the heat is escaping. If you are resident in South Cambridgeshire you can borrow a thermal imaging camera for free to identify gaps in insulation, draughts and heating problems which are usually invisible.