North Yorkshire Council has announced that community organisations across the county have taken part in a scheme that offers advice on how carbon emissions and energy costs can be reduced in buildings across the region.
Free surveys were provided to community organisations as part of a project to accelerate decarbonisation in North Yorkshire, with funding for the scheme coming through a UK Shared Prosperity Fund grant of £75,000.
Buildings such as village halls, sport and leisure facilities, schools, theatres and museums were selected to take part, with around 50 submitting reports on how venues can save money, whilst also contributing to decarbonisation.
Cllr Greg White, Executive Member for Climate Change at North Yorkshire Council, said:
“Reducing the carbon footprint of buildings in our communities and making them fit for the future is a key aspect of our climate change agenda. These buildings are often older and colder and can be off the gas grid, using oil or electricity for heating. The surveys can offer a few simple ways for local communities to address some of these issues.
“At Draughton, measures like spending £1,500 on roof insulation and £4,000 on windows will make savings in emissions and a significant difference to their heating costs.
“But when you look at bigger venues like The Forum in Northallerton, 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year could be saved if all the recommendations are implemented – that would be the equivalent of planting 1,250 tress.”
As part of the survey, respondents were asked to outline the measures that were already being taken to tackle the climate crisis, whilst also highlighting any issues that may be preventing them from taking action. Examples of issues given were cost, lack of time, and a lack of appropriate technology.
One example of a building that benefitted from the scheme was Draughton Village Hall, near Skipton. Trustees were informed that 1.142 tonnes of carbon emissions could be saved every year by spending around £38,000 on improvements. Suggestions for improvements included additional UPVC windows, loft insulation, solar panels, and using a heat source air pump rather than a gas boiler in the 150 year-old building.
Parish Councillor and Leader of the Draughton Action to Zero community group, Richard Neale, said:
“As a community we are looking to mitigate climate change by doing as much as we can in our homes but also in our public buildings – such as the village hall and the church.
“This study gives us a kickstart to launch a scheme for the village hall, the hub of our village, which we can develop alongside the rest of our Draughton Action to Zero project’s proposals.
“These could include both energy efficiency improvements and domestic green energy installations for the church for our village homes, as well as, potentially, a larger scheme for the community-owned local green energy generation.”
According to North Yorkshire Council, figures show that the county produced 5,829 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2020, a third of which was contributed to by agriculture. Alongside this, transport was responsible for 28% off the emissions, and homes 19%.
The council’s draft climate strategy aims to reduce emissions to prepare the county for the changing climate and ensure that nature can thrive in the future. This draft was supported by members of the executive in January, with them also endorsing a bid for York and North Yorkshire to become the first carbon negative region in the nation by 2040. The strategy undertook a main, eight-week consultation that ceased in April, however young people under 25 are still able to contribute to the survey. The council will go on to make a decision later this year, on whether to adopt the strategy.