July 29, 2015
Despite the fact that the UK Government has just lobbed a grenade into the plans of countless communities who are thinking about how they can harness renewable energy, the need to reduce our carbon emissions is as great as ever. These ideas take time to take root and so an innovative approach by community based environment group – South Seeds – may yet bear fruit. An Energy Snapshot for five communities on the South Side of Glasgow is intended to ask as many questions as answers.
Introduction to Energy Snapshot for full report click here
South Seeds is a community led charity based in the south of Glasgow. We work in partnership with residents and local organisations to help improve the look and feel of the Southside of Glasgow. Our main effort goes into helping local residents tackle climate change by taking practical action such as improving home energy efficiency, cutting energy bills and tackling fuel poverty. Alongside this we work with local residents to bring underused land back into use as both gardens and food growing areas. As one newspaper described it, we’re “tackling Glasgow’s substandard homes with peas, beetroot and thermal imaging“.
In 2012 South Seeds received an award from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund to reduce the consumption of carbon in Govanhill, Crosshill, Queen’s Park and Strathbungo here in the southside. We know that the overall energy use of a household depends on the physical fabric of the dwelling plus the behaviour of those living there. This report marks a starting point for our work to identify where we need to focus our efforts by drawing out from background data the types of buildings, housing condition and tenure in our project area and pulling this all into a single source: our Carbon Savings Map.
Here’s what it tells us: most of the housing stock we’re looking to improve is Victorian, built at a time when coal mines were being worked underneath the streets we still walk down. Time and circumstance have not always been kind to our area, and make action to cut energy use more difficult. Many of the buildings are rated by the Scottish Index of Multiple Depravation as in poor condition. We have a lot of Victorian sandstone tenements in the area which suffer from being in a poor state of repair, and some blocks of tenements in the project area have the highest percentage of private lets in the whole of Scotland. However, we have a good proportion of housing maintained by registered social landlords which is in good condition, and a programme of repair and regeneration work which is slowly but surely making its mark here.
This report first sets out some essential information about our project area, then we map out the main features of our area, and then examine the main housing types we will be working in, and what opportunities exist across our area for cutting energy use and bringing local land back into more productive use.
One final point before we begin: one thing the map doesn’t show, but we know will be critical to our success, is the fact that we have local residents looking for solutions to help them cut energy bills and energy use, and we have a strong network of community groups, housing associations and agencies ready to help us in this work. We will be using this Map to guide us in this work, and while we know that we have a number of challenges to overcome, we also know that we are part of a community up for the task.