Meet the new free CAfS services for households
Cumbria Action for Sustainability
Exciting times here at CAfS - we've launched two new services that will help households reduce the energy they use at home. One's a comprehensive audit for people looking to do improvement works, and one focuses on draughtproofing and tariffs. Maybe you could take advantage of one of those. You'll also read about our big energy fair coming up in Ulverston and share your views about a micro anaerobic digester scheme we're helping with in Keswick. Oh, and find out how our thought-provoking film night and discussion went in Kendal.   Jaki

Book a free* home audit for energy & weather resilience improvements
Are you considering improvements to your home, to make it more energy efficient and cope better with extreme weather?

You might be able to take advantage of a free* comprehensive audit of your home, to help you work out the most effective improvements to make. 

CAfS is about to launch a new service, offering weather resilience home energy audits to householders in Cumbria who are concerned about the effects of extreme weather (such as flooding) on their home, and who want to make their homes more energy efficient.

Andrew from CAfS will visit your property to carry out the audit, and you'll receive a detailed report on the most effective improvements to make. 

We're now taking bookings, and we'll start doing the audits next month. We're able to offer this service thanks to a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
Turning food waste into green energy in Keswick
What do you think about the idea of using food waste from cafes, hotels, restaurants and B&Bs to generate green energy?

We've just got involved in an exciting project exploring the possibility of doing this in Keswick and the surrounding area. We're keen to hear your views, whether you live there or elsewhere in the county.

It'd work by having  some ‘micro’ anaerobic digesters (ADs) at community facilities. Food waste would be brought to these small-scale ADs, which break it down to produce biogas and a substance called ‘digestate’.

The biogas can be used to generate light, heat or electricity or converted to biomethane and used in the same way we use natural gas. The digestate is an excellent replacement for nitrogen fertiliser for soil.

We're gathering views on behalf of local community group SusKes, thanks to funding from WRAP through the Rural Community Energy Fund. We've launched an online survey and people in the Keswick area will have also received some information by post. 

There's more information on our website or click the button below to go straight to the survey.
Register now for free draughtproofing & LED bulbs!
If you or someone you know needs help to deal with draughts and get energy bills down, get in touch about our new Energy Saving at Home service.

A trained energy champion will visit your home to:
  • find any draughts
  • look for any light bulbs that could be changed to LEDs that use less electricity
  • give you tips on using less energy
  • check whether you'd be better off on a different tariff
If you have draughts or light bulbs that need tackled, CAfS will arrange for a professional installer to do this for you - all free of charge. (There are a few eligibility criteria.*)

We are immensely grateful to Copeland Community Fund and the Ebico Trust for their start-up funding for this service. Thanks to their support, we've trained ten energy champions who are busy making homes warmer and more comfortable this winter and into the future, working alongside our installers.

We're applying for national funding to extend the service for another two years. This couldn't have happened without the initial support from Copeland Community Fund and ongoing funding from the Ebico Trust and Global Action Plan.

We can help another 30 households with our current funding, so book your visit now!
An energetic extravaganza for your diary!
Roll up and power down... it’s the Big South Lakes Energy Extravaganza in Ulverston on Saturday 4 March.

This energetic buffet of all things green and sustainable is  just the thing for anyone who wants to get their carbon footprint down:
  • Take a workshop on maintaining your bicycle
  • See demos of upcycling & making furniture from pallets
  • Learn about growing your own food
  • Chat to experts about heating and powering your home with renewable energy
  • Take the pedal-powered light bulb challenge with South Lakes Action on Climate Change
  • See stunning photos of the impacts of climate change from all over the world with Cumbrian photographer Ashley Cooper, author of ‘Images from a Warming Planet’
  • Find out about community energy from groups who've done it in their area
And it's all free, thanks to funding from South Lakeland District Council, as part of their wider work to reduce carbon emissions and fuel poverty.
Before the Flood inspires insightful climate debate
It was fantastic to have a packed theatre for our special screening of Before the Flood, Leonardo DiCaprio's new climate change documentary, at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal on Monday.

The film was outstanding in the way it explored the impacts of climate change around the world and the ever-increasing urgency of a global response to it. We hope it reaches audiences that the average climate change documentary wouldn't.

Equally insightful was the discussion afterwards. Members of the audience put questions and comments to Tim Farron MP (leader of the Liberal Democrats), Jo Magne (South Lakes Labour), and Simon Blunden (Kendal Green Party).

One of the recurring themes in the debate was the need to engage with the wider population about climate change, and how to make it an issue people can connect with on an emotional level and want to act on.

“This was a hugely positive event, but it needs to be the catalyst for something a bit bigger," said CAfS trustee Tim Maiden, who organised the screening in conjunction with the Brewery. "Both the film and the discussion afterwards brought out how important it is to get our messaging right on climate change, in a way that works politically and is consistent with the science. We n eed to get the message out to a broader audience and work together with political parties and climate change groups to achieve both of these."

CAfS has begun initial discussions with local political parties and other groups to explore the next steps.

At the event, the CAfS chief executive, Hazel Graham, promised we'd share a few resources that came up during the discussion. Here they are: 

One Million Climate Jobs – How the UK can reduce emissions by 86% in the next 20 years

Zero Carbon Britain – How the UK can be net zero carbon by 2030

Wake Up, Freak Out, Get a Grip  A short animation film explaining the feedback mechanisms in our climate system that could lead to catastrophic climate change
In brief...
Join the Penrith gardeners and veg growers
Learn to grow food and flowers while making Penrith greener and brighter! The town's Garden of Eden group is welcoming new helpers. They meet on Tuesdays at  the Salvation Army in Hunter Lane at 10am for an hour's gardening and a cup of coffee.

They also run projects to encourage food growing and healthy eating, including a new free 'b ring and take' vegetable table outside the Salvation Army on Tuesdays from 10am to 1pm, starting in April. If you're dropping off surpluses in advance, put them in the raised bed area. 

You don't need any skills to help out with the group. Contact Joan Robinson on 07754 773701 or email  Follow them on Facebook
Grants for energy improvements at community buildings
Community buildings in the Millom area can apply for a grant to improve energy efficiency (postcode areas LA18 4 and LA18 5).

The Thrive Renewables Community Benefit Fund, administered by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE), is still accepting applications for grants up to £4,000. They can be used for changes like LED lighting, insulation, draughtproofing, improved heating or lighting controls, and other energy saving improvements or professional advice.
Sustainability award for Lake District biogas plant
Well done to  Clearfleau on achieving an Edie Sustainability Leaders Resource Management Award for its anaerobic digester plant at First Milk’s Lake District Creamery cheese factory at Aspatria.

The plant converts whey into biogas, which is then upgraded to bio-methane and fed into the grid to supply the creamery and other local users.
How Low Can You Go?
Producing, sourcing and cooking our food makes up the largest proportion of the average person's carbon footprint... or so I learned this week!

It will hardly be news to any of you that buying seasonal food grown or produced locally is a great way to make in-roads into your food miles. It often comes with less packaging, too. Here are just a few ideas to help you find local produce:
Freegle Bring & Take | 4 Mar | Old Courthouse, Shap | 10am-2pm
Bring things to give away and take anything you want. No furniture please.
16 Mar | Alston Town Hall | Free talk: Roger Curtis, Historic Environment Scotland
CAfS at Cumbria Life Home & Garden Show | 18 Mar | Rheged, Penrith
Several stalls this year offering advice on sustainable building & Passivhaus
Cumbria Action for Sustainability
01768 210276 | |
Company Number: 6492907 Registered Charity Number: 1123155