With funding from innovation charity Nesta, Bioregional and SpiralEdge have created an online tool to help community groups manage energy data for local households and deliver community energy-saving and green energy projects.
Community energy groups in the UK have had great success over the last few years. Groups including Bristol Energy Co-op, Low Carbon Hub and Repowering London have raised millions of pounds to invest in a low-carbon future by saving energy and investing in renewable energy sources for Britain’s homes.
These groups also often provide local people with much-needed energy advice and access to energy-efficiency schemes to tackle problems such as fuel poverty and cold, draughty houses.
But dealing with potentially thousands of households means that effective data management can be an issue. Resources are often tight and many groups are mainly run by volunteers, which means it can be difficult to gather and manage all the information needed to access new pots of funding or energy-efficiency schemes.
In response to this problem, Bioregional teamed up with SpiralEdge, a web development company, and secured funding from Nesta to develop Community Energy Manager. This free online tool is designed to help community groups manage their data effectively.
For example, a group may want to record data from householders in its local area about household energy-efficiency measures. Community Energy Manager can be used to efficiently store, aggregate and map this data and identify trends, opportunities and key areas in their neighbourhood with common issues. This simplified output can then be used for groups to develop their own energy schemes or engage with larger schemes run by a local authority or energy company.
Community Energy Manager can also show the impact that community-based programmes are having, helping to demonstrate their effectiveness to investors, other community groups or for future funding bids.
Community Energy Manager is powered by EnergyMap, which allows open data such as neighbourhood-level gas and electricity consumption estimates and census information to be mapped. This helps people visualise and analyse energy use to better understand what local needs are and what measures might be most effective.
There is an advanced trial version of the tool available and we need your help to test it. Community groups can use Community Energy Manager for free and it’s really easy to use, so if you’re a community energy group, do sign up or invite your members to join.
Community Energy Manager also has great potential to help deliver high-impact projects of varying scales on the ground. We are looking for councils, energy companies and other organisations that want to deliver energy efficiency, energy advice and renewable energy projects in communities to use our new tool. Contact Matt Wood (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.