Yesterday Jane and I had the pleasure of meeting up with Jo Trussler (The NT Low Carbon Village Coordinator) on her original patch at Coleshill. I’ve wanted to meet Jo for a while as admired so much her work at Coleshill – showing how sustainable development projects fit into community life. It was amazing to tour the village amongst the autumn colours – made even better by the fact that the orchard they had rediscovered during her project was in full-fruit, so we all were kept very satisfied munching on juicy apples!
The climax of the tour was the village shop – at the heart of the community. Here they sold local honey, beer and flour – finished products of their hard work. The shop was run by volunteers and had a great buzz to it.
All this was run out the back by their community log batch boiler and PV. Logs were deliberately chosen as they fitted in well to the lives of the rangers who lived there. As their shed was right next door, they could bring the logs over without any problem, and the chopping of trees was an important part of their countryside management. Everything seemed to be so well thought out and harmonious to everyday life.
(Jane and Jo)
But the project hasn’t been all about renewables. Everyone’s home in the village had been insulated and draft proofed so that they could be as energy efficient and low carbon as possible. Of course this all wouldn’t have been achievable without funding from Npower.
(Inevitably) some things didn’t work out as planned – community compost being one of them as people already had big enough gardens to compost and no one was around to turn it regularly. But that was a really small glitch in the scheme of things.
It was generally just brilliant to see the whole package come together: the funding, the community, the energy and the local food!