Environmental Future Proofing your Community Building

Are you planning environmental improvements to your village or community hall? 
Are you looking to save energy, reduce waste or make more space for nature outside the building?

Every hall – of every size and age – has a responsibility to consider the impact of its operation on the environment and we need to take bold steps now to reduce carbon emissions and achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050.

Thanks to funding from the Prince’s Countryside Fund and Western Power Distribution Community Matters, CCS are delivering a two-year programme of training and networking to help future proof your community building.

You’ll also find a range of resources here to help you along the way, including information sheets, case studies, events and useful links.  We will be updating and adding to these so keep checking in.  

Why take action?

In 2019, the five local authorities in Somerset declared a climate emergency and are working towards a carbon neutral Somerset by 2030. We all have a role to play by reducing our carbon footprint. However, environmental improvements bring other benefits for halls too:

  • Financial savings. Environmental improvements can reduce running costs and improve financial sustainability.
  • A warmer, more welcoming environment can attract more business. No one likes a cold, draughty village hall!
  • Inspiring your local community. Environmental improvements in village halls can inspire and inform local people and engender a community wide approach to tackling climate change.

Making a start

  • Set up a working group to take the lead on environmental issues
  • Draw up an environmental policy for your hall.
  • Undertake walkaround environmental and/or energy audits to inform your actions
  • Each time you plan building repairs or purchases, consider the opportunities for environmental improvements, even if this is just replacing a light bulb with a low energy equivalent.

Reducing Energy

A ‘walkaround’ energy survey of your community building is the best place to start when considering how to reduce energy and can form the basis of a carbon reduction plan. Download our template DIY energy audit

Click to download your copy

Energy Action plan:

  • Work as a team: make use of relevant skills in your committee and the wider community
  • Start with the ‘quick wins’. The Centre for Sustainable Energy produce a useful information sheet of Low and zero cost energy improvements to community buildings.
  • Don’t forget behavioural changes. Monitor how people are using the building and whether this leads to wasted energy.
  • Before considering large investments in a new heating system you should look at how to reduce heat lost through the roof and walls by improving insulation and draughtproofing. CSE and The Renewable Energy Hub have a range of information resources on insulation.
  • Finally, consider renewable solutions such as solar, air and ground source heat pumps. Seek expert advice on the most appropriate renewable solution for the property.
  • Create a budget to pay for improvements and identify how to fund them. Download our list of potential funding sources here (updated monthly)

Making space for nature

Community halls often have associated outside spaces, whether this is a car park, courtyard or a large recreation field. Whatever the space, there is always room to create a home for wildlife. The Somerset Wildlife Trust Team Wilder website includes a wealth of ideas, resources and videos to inspire you. For example, you could:

  • Install bird, bat and bee boxes
  • Plant for pollinators, providing flowers throughout the year
  • Plant shrubs with berries and seeds for birds and mammals
  • Allow areas of ‘weeds’ to flower to feed bees and butterflies
  • Provide water for birds
  • Stop using chemicals
  • Never use peat
  • Raise local awareness of local wildlife within your community
  • Start a community wildlife initiative

Events

We are running a series of 12 free events themed on different environmental topics during 2022-23.

See our up and coming events here

For more information contact

Sally Sargent

sallys@somersetrcc.org.uk

Take a look at these other useful online resources

Funded by: