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Over the last week we have:
- Attended the Oxford Low Carbon Hub AGM - we are a member of the Hub and they have been a great support, we hope to work closely with them on Solar Panels and Retrofit Insulation during the project.
- We completed our preliminary discussions with potential Consultants last week - and compiled a shortlist of 4 consultancies recommended by the Greater South West Energy Hub - the grant awarding body we will be applying to.
- We issued the Invitation To Tender for the Consultancy work on the feasibility study to the companies on our shortlist on 13th. The deadline we set is very tight (25th October) but we have had a positive response from three consultancies already.
- Approached the housing association that manages some of our properties and received a favourable response.
- We are close to finalising our application to the Financial Conduct Authority to form a Community Benefit Company. This will give us the legal framework we need to carry out the first part of the project and manage the finances should we be successful in winning the grant. The company will allow us to open a bank account with an ethical bank and could be used more widely for qualifying projects. We hope to be sponsored by Energy4All, the company that manages the day to day operation of the Westmill Co-Op. When this is finalised we will submit the CBS application.
- Fact-Finding visit to The Cotswold Wildlife Park.
The Park claims to be a UK pioneer in ground source heat pumps, installing the first in 2010 to keep the giraffes warm. It was so successful they installed a larger second system to heat their greenhouses and tropical houses in 2014. Nichola, the financial controller, kindly offered to show us their ground and air source heat pumps and solar installations and answer our myriad of questions. We were particularly impressed by their financial savings (the total financial benefit over 20 years as a result of energy cost savings and grants, and using 3% inflation a year, amounts to just over £490,000) and the reliability of their ground source system in needing no maintenance at all during its first ten years of operation. We took a few photos (below) showing the pumps and hot water tanks. Not exciting to look at but surprisingly quiet - they could barely be heard above their freezers! Also see the photo below showing the site of the groundworks - nothing to see other than the manhole covering the manifolds that collect the pipes. There are 18 x 200m pipe loops buried in the field. The water passes from here under the road to the pump house. Cotswold Wildlife Park is justifiably proud of their system and more than pleased to show it off. Many thanks to Nichola.
Apologies if we haven't managed to call on you yet. If you are at all interested in the Project please contact us to let us know - with no obligation or commitment - either :
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Annabelle Zinovieff, Ken Hirons, Ian Mason, Karen Mason, Margaret O’Donohoe, Richard Benwell, Sophie Stainer, Jacqui Russell