MEG's first major public educational event about greener home energy, was held on the 18th of November 2023 and was a great success. 14 exhibitors drew in over 240 visitors from Marlow and beyond. It enabled hundreds of conversations between experts and residents (see photos below). MEG is confident that the show will have inspired and accelerated many individual actions to improve energy efficiency, switch to electric heating, or to install domestic renewables. Decarbonising household energy is one of the toughest challenges of Britain's transition to Net Zero.
MEG is proud that the Smart Energy Show has helped accelerate the journey.
Exhibitors at the Show (photo courtesy of Jon Perry)
Visitors at one of the five talks, which took place in the Eliot room of the Court Garden complex.
A thought provoking presentation was made by Martin Fry, Hon President of ESTA (Energy Services & Technology Association) on Tuesday, 10th October 2023.
MEG felt it was important to encourage the thoughts of young people on climate change and their ideas for action, so we created a competition for 12 – 18 year olds with a £100 prize for the winner. The competition was run in early 2023 and publicised in the two secondary schools of Marlow, Sir William Borlase Grammar School and Great Marlow School.
The subject of the competition was: ”What do you think that you and the residents of Marlow and its organisations can do to help reduce the effects of climate change?” and students were invited to submit written responses of not more than 600 words.
The competition was won by Great Marlow School student, Isabella Murray and the £100 cheque was presented to her by Marlow Town Mayor, Richard Scott.
On Wednesday the 7th of June at 7pm Solarbility presented a Zoom talk on Photo-Voltaic Solar Panels. Independent Solar PV experts, Gary Whapples & Jackie Ashby from Solarbility Ltd talked through the benefits of Solar PV from a homeowner’s perspective. They explained what it is, how it works, how it can save homeowners money and the positive impact Solar PV has on the environment. The talk was followed by a Q&A session.
A recording of this event can be viewed here.
On Wednesday the 10th of May at 7pm we were delighted to have an ‘Ask the Experts’ presentation from Tom Gregory entitled ‘Air Tightness Testing Explained’ on Zoom. Tom Gregory, from Air Leakage Testing Ltd, spoke about the role of air tightness in reducing energy consumption and improving comfort levels in houses. He explained the principles behind the test, the test method, the requirements for newbuilds and benefits for existing houses as part of wider energy saving improvements. He also gave examples of common air leakage paths. Tom’s talk was followed a question and answer session.
YouTube link - https://youtu.be/uDGMGuzpxS8
Tuesday March 7th.
Dave Scarbrough, from “The Climate Community in Windsor & Maidenhead”, gave a talk about how to save money, energy and carbon by better draughtproofing and insulating your home.
This talk included guideline costs & savings for various improvements. Dave’s talk was followed by a question and answer session.
The link to see this presentation is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YscpBqioMfc&t=16s
An update on Air Source and Ground Source High Temperature and Low Temperature Heat Pumps and the contribution that they make to the decarbonisation of heat in pursuit of Net Zero Carbon.
Bean Beanland, Chair of the Council of the Ground-source Heat Pump Association, will explain all about the development of Heat Pumps, followed by a question and answer session.
Martin Fry gave Marlow Energy Group a very interesting talk at 7pm on Wednesday the 18th of May. Martin says, Understanding and managing energy use has two benefits, saving money and in more recent times, helping the environment by reducing emissions. This has been a discipline for many decades but there have been a number of challenges. Energy is only a few percent of our operating costs so why bother about making savings? We don't even know what our costs are, someone just pays the bills. We've got energy management set up, job done, but....
In much more recent times, priorities have changed. You've got it set up, but is it working? Stakeholders, customers, staff and shareholders will be looking to engage only with organisations with a demonstrated environmental commitment. 'I wouldn't want to do business with an organisation not committed to the environment'. So we now have a whole series of relevant international standards. ISO 50001, Energy Management Systems, EN 16247, Energy Audits, etc, etc. ISO 50001 gives the detailed structured approach to energy management. The system is put in place and then is externally verified and certified.
Buckinghamshire Council’s South West Chilterns Community Board (SWCCB) held an external event in order to promote, not only themselves and internal Council services, but also the relevant Town and Parish Councils, Businesses, Voluntary organisations and statutory services.
This event took place in Higginson Park, Marlow, between 10am and 2pm on Saturday the 2nd of April and was open to all and Marlow Energy Group (MEG) had a gazebo there (see photo below).
A talk by Leigh Fairbrother, Head of Sales at Q-Bot, who explained how Q-Bot uses intelligent robots that travel beneath suspended floors to spray insulation under the floorboards. The insulation immediately reduces the heat lost through the floor and the draughts, ensuring a healthy and energy-efficient home, saving both money and CO2.
Leigh has a background in architecture and has been working on energy efficiency related projects with social housing providers for over a decade. Leigh is passionate about the decarbonisation agenda and keen to help householders reduce the demand for heat and improve the quality of their homes.
Martin Fry discusses the successes and failures of the COP26 conference held in Glasgow. Martin is the Honorary President of the Energy Services and Technology Association (ESTA) and a Visiting Professor at City, University of London, where he helps to run a Masters Degree on Energy and Environmental Technology and Economics.
Marlow Energy Group’s (MEG’s) ‘Green Shoots’ competition for the best photos, which show improvements to our environment around Marlow, was won by Verity West for her ‘Bug Hotel’ photograph. Verity won the first prize of a cheque for £50 for her photo (see photo). Marlow Town Mayor, Cllr Richard Scott, presented Verity with her cheque (see photo). The photos that were chosen in second, third and fourth places received a cheque for £35, a £20 voucher from Saddle Safari and a £20 voucher from FourState, respectively. The Marlow Energy Group (MEG) was delighted to receive so many entries from so many people, who care about our local environment.
Ed Gemmell discusses the importance of the COP26 conference held in Glasgow. Ed is the Managing Director of ‘Scientists Warning Europe’ and is leading the SWE delegation at COP26. Locally Ed is Chairman of the Hazlemere Parish Council Climate Emergency Working Party and a Unitary Councillor for Buckinghamshire, elected on the one policy of "Climate Action Now"
Marlow Energy Group’s (MEG’s) had a stand at the Green Village at the Marlow Carnival in September (see photo, opposite). MEG Members invited families and individuals to play a ‘Duplo Game’. Participants added Duplo blocks to form piles relating to their various energy usages. This enabled them to comprehend their own Carbon Footprint and how it compared with UK averages. Click on ‘Information’ in headings above, to calculate your own Carbon Footprint.
With an increasing proportion of our electricity coming from intermittent renewable energy sources like wind & solar, new strategies are needed to match electricity supply and demand.
At any moment, the amount of electrical power generated, and consumed need to be in balance - too much or too little, could lead to power-cuts, or wind /solar farms being turned off when they could be delivering power.
Traditionally, supply and demand were matched by ramping fossil fuel and hydro-power up and down, but increasingly as fossil fuels provide a smaller share of electricity, this needs to be supplemented by adjusting demand to match supply, and by storing power for later use.
Examples include running industrial processes at times when there is spare generation available on the grid, letting the grid operator control when out immersion heaters run, and smart electric vehicle charging / vehicle to grid.
Gary's talk will discuss these demand side management, and related smart meter / tariff arrangements and how these interact with the emerging Internet of Things.".
Ed Gemmell, Founder of No Disposable Cup Day, Managing Director of charity Scientists Warning Europe, will be introducing us to ‘No Disposable Cup Day’ and talking about the environmental disaster associated with the UK’s insatiable coffee habit. He will then comment on the takeaway packaging industry, plastic lawns, plastic diets, Tik Tok and what we can do to fight plastic pollution and climate change in our own lives.
Brian will be talking about the ‘End Plastic Soup’ initiative, which was started by the Rotary Clubs of Amsterdam in 2018. A member of Marlow Bridge Rotary Club, Brian is an Ambassador for this initiative. Brian will cover plastic waste and micro-plastics pollution in the River Thames, plus the global problem with plastic waste and its solutions.
Paul Bolton is the President of Marlow Bridge Rotary Club (MBRC). Paul will give a talk on how MBRC supports various community projects both locally and internationally.
The speaker was Lars Boerner, the Managing Director of VerdErg. The company envisions a future where low head hydropower can be as reliable and as cost effective as energy from fossil fuels, but with a considerably lower carbon footprint.
VerdErg technologies could minimise negative impacts to rivers, such as the Thames, while generating clean energy to local households & businesses.
Please Note IDDEA have recently gone into administration, although the YouTube video is still interesting and informative.
Marlow Energy Group, in association with IDDEA, held a ‘Marlow Solar Streets’ Zoom event promoting the installation of solar PV (photovoltaic) in Marlow in early 2021.
IDDEA had already installed 700 solar projects in the south and south-west. The highly competitive figure of £4000 for 12 panels (4kWp total) was being offered on the basis that IDDEA could make at least 10 installations in and around Marlow. This had not been a problem in other towns such as Henley, Thame, and St Albans.
The Zoom presentation describes the financial savings, environmental benefits.
This exciting venture was supported by Marlow Town Council’s ‘Sustainable Marlow’ campaign and by many local groups.
David Adkins of the National Grid and Steve Shaw of Power for People talk about Local Electricity Supplies and answer various questions.
Explaining both the benefits of good insulation, by Tony Cowling of Draft Busters, but also giving an explanation of the Government's Green Home grants, by Ed Andrews of Instagroup.
Learn all about Air Source and Ground Source Heat Pumps and the contribution that they can make to the decarbonisation of heat in pursuit of Net Zero Carbon.
Bean Beanland, [ex]Chair of the Council of the Ground-source Heat Pump Association, will explain all about Heat Pumps.
Andy Tunstall of the Green Group explains about how solar panels work and the role they play in decarbonsiing domestic power use.