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Marshfield - community energy project The Parish of Marshfield in South Gloucestershire is already known for its great Bakery and organic Ice Cream. But a new project may be about to add to that. Marshfield is one of number of communities who have taken advantage of funding from the government’s “Local Energy Assessment Fund”. The funding will be used to assess and quantify the village's energy use and wastage. One of the techniques adopted by Marshfield has bene an aerial survey using the latest technology in thermal imaging.

The village was surveyed across a period of two nights, and the project has seen massive enthusiasm from the community. Of around 640 houses in the village, only 3 chose not to participate. Karen Wilkinson, a member of the Parish Planning group which applied for the funding, says “Marshfield is a vibrant country Parish with a very active community which has shown an interest in energy issues for some time. Using thermal images provides an arresting visual snapshot of each house’s energy loss and an easy way for people to engage in what can be a complex issue.”

This is the first time that such a comprehensive survey of a village has been done across a wide range of buildings - old and new, large and small. The information gathered by the innovative survey will surely prove a benchmark for new surveys across the country.

The project will be holding an “Energy Day” on 24th March at which the community will be able to see the results of the thermal imaging survey, eight in depth case studies of improving domestic efficiency in different housing types in the village and hear the results of a feasibility study into generating community renewable energy.

The thermal imaging has been undertaken by IRT Surveys. Mike Edwards of IRT Surveys says “Marshfield’s trailblazing energy project will reap the community dividends. When we heat our homes, lots of heat is lost through walls, windows, roofs and so on. This is all wasted energy – and so wasted money. By taking a thermal image of your house, we can give you a picture of where the heat is being lost.”

The Marshfield survey has been funded via the Department of Energy & Climate Change’s LEAF fund, which aims to support communities across England and Wales to play an active role in the development of a low carbon society where energy supply is both secure and affordable. The fund will help communities understand their potential for increased energy efficiency and use of renewables.

In addition, detailed energy efficiency surveys have been carried out on seven different houses, with the aim of covering a representative selection of local construction types.

The case studies look at the type of construction, the existing measures for retaining energy and what could be done to improve the energy efficiency of the house to reduce bills, energy usage and carbon footprint.

For the technically aware: SAP Design Stage Assessment calculations under the latest SAP software (SAP 2009), SAP Energy Efficiency options report for each dwelling and EPC will be available at the Energy Day.

For more information, see the village website