On Wednesday 11th May there will be a free ‘Question Time’ style debate on Sustainable Housing at the Petroc Brannams Campus at Roundswell in Barnstaple.  The event has been organised by Petroc students on the Foundation Degree in Sustainable Resource Management in Association with Plymouth University.  The course will be renamed the Foundation Degree in Environmental Management from September.  Those of the panel include

  • Thomas Store, Chair of 361 Energy CIC.  Thomas was until recently the Resident’s Costs Manager at AdvantageSW, exploring options for improving the energy efficiency of social housing as well as setting up a White label energy supplier, EnergySW in partnership with OVO Communities.  Prior to that he was a Ready for Retrofit Project Officer with the Energy Savings Trust.
  • Nick Backhouse, Renewables Surveyor with RES (Devon) Ltd.  Nick was one of the pioneers in the renewables sector in North Devon, setting up Eco-Exmoor in 2002.  He moved on to Optimum Heating Ltd in 2013 where he focused on Biomass boilers and now works with RES (Devon) Ltd, who install a wide range of renewable technologies.
  • Jamie Barnes, Specialist in historic buildings.  Jamie is a lecturer at Petroc on the Foundation Degree in English and History where he teaches about landscape history and heritage.  He is a Conservation Associate with Silverlake Design Limited, Lostwithiel and specialises in the conservation of historic buildings and buildings of traditional construction techniques.
  • Alastair Green, Architect.  Alastair is a lecturer in the Built Environment Department at Petroc and an Architect with Woodward-Smith Chartered Architects in Barnstaple.
  • Ricky Knight, Green Party.  Ricky is the leader of the North Devon Green Party and was their parliamentary candidate for the constituency at the last election.  He was also third on the list for the Green Party in the South West at the European Elections.  Ricky has supported sustainable energy in the district for many years and has a solar PV system and a woodburner at home.

Our Chair for the event is Myc Riggulsford.  He is an independent science and environment journalist and broadcaster, writing on public concerns such as climate change and renewable energy. Originally a radio broadcaster, he presented ‘A Question of Science’ on BBC Radio Wiltshire Sound’. He has chaired public debates including three at the Science Museum and hosted Europe’s largest science teaching festival, Science on Stage, on behalf of CERN.

With household energy consumption in 2014 accounting for nearly 30% of all energy consumption in the UK, addressing the energy efficiency of UK housing is a key requirement if we are to cut our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.  Apart from the challenge of climate change, we also have a significant proportion of UK households who struggle to pay their energy bills.  Households are more susceptible to fuel poverty if they live in properties with poor energy efficiency.  Some in this country have to choose between adequately heating their homes and properly feeding themselves.  Others build up hundreds or thousands of pounds worth of debt as a result of this issue.

So what is the solution?  Should we better insulate all properties and what is the best way to go about this?  Would installing renewable energy be a cheap and green solution?  Would the easiest answer be demolition and starting again?  These issues and those you bring to the debate will be discussed in what should be a stimulating evening.

This event builds on the successful debate on ‘Fracking, Nuclear or Renewables’ that 361 Energy CIC organised in partnership with Petroc last November.  About 50 people attended a lively debate and many commented afterwards how much they enjoyed the evening.  You can book a seat for the upcoming debate at Brannams Lecture Theatre by going to EventBrite.