Low Carbon Communities research findings published at engaging conference
Thursday, 02 April 2015
The Evaluating Low Carbon Communities (EVALOC) project presented the findings of their £1.14 million research project at a conference held at Oxford Brookes University on Tuesday (31 March).
The EVALOC project, which ran from January 2011 to March 2015, was a collaborative project between a team of researchers from the Low Carbon Building Group of Oxford Brookes University and the Environmental Change Institute of the University of Oxford, with six low carbon communities across the UK. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council energy and communities stream of the Research Council UK’s Energy programme, EVALOC research evaluated the role, impacts, effectiveness and limits of low carbon communities in motivating energy reduction and renewable investment among local residents.
As a community, LCCs included people who would not have otherwise been able to afford energy saving interventions such as solar panels. The communities also saw a greater increase of resident participation, volunteering and interest in energy saving activitiesProf Rajat Gupta, Director of the Oxford Institute of Sustainable Development, Oxford Brookes University
As part of the conference, EVALOC researchers shared findings on the role of community based social learning in stimulating energy and carbon reductions, the impacts and effectiveness of home energy improvements, how energy feedback can be used to make energy visible and the influence of social networks in communication energy messages. The EVALOC energy and communities toolkit was also unveiled. Members of low carbon communities including Middlesbrough Environment City, the Easterside Partnership and Sustainable Blacon shared valuable insights on their experiences of being part of a low carbon community, and participating in EVALOC.
Prof Rajat Gupta, Principal Investigator on the EVALOC project and Director of the Oxford Institute of Sustainable Development and said: “Our research has found that community-based low carbon initiatives contribute to energy and carbon reduction at a community and household level.
“Individuals living in a Low Carbon Community (LCC) h the knowledge and skills to reduce energy use and have warmer, more comfortable homes which in turn meant they had better health.
“As a community, LCCs included people who would not have otherwise been able to afford energy saving interventions such as solar panels. The communities also saw a greater increase of resident participation, volunteering and interest in energy saving activities which would benefit individuals and the community as a whole.”
The EVALOC research team at Oxford Brookes included Rajat Gupta, Laura Barnfield, Matt Gregg, Chiara Fratter and Bob Irving, all members of the Low Carbon Building Group of OISD and School of Architecture.
The conference marked the end of the research project and the launch of the final report which can be found online.
More information about the EVALOC project can be found on the EVALOC website.
The EVALOC team were delighted to receive positive feedback from the conference delegates:
It was, without exaggeration, one of the best academic conferences I have been to; a great balance of research insight, policy implications and human centeredness.
Anne Augustine, Low Carbon Hub
I really enjoyed the conference. Good to have both researchers and community representatives talking about EVALOC from their respective perspectives. I hope you manage to get funds to support the toolkit. It would be a lasting legacy of the project.
David Vincent, Director at David Vincent and Associates