Greener community buildings

The problem

Many community buildings in rural areas would like to become more efficient and sustainable.

Being able to heat their building using green technology would mean lower costs and a reduction in carbon output, as well as the social benefits of being an even more positive contributor to their local area.

Many however lack the information and resources to implement green energy solutions.

Our contribution to a solution

In order to get things moving for the organisations running these buildings, we realised that they could benefit from a combined and joined up approach. We needed to bring people together to make this happen.

We therefore ran an event with people from the community buildings. Buildings such as village halls, churches, community sports locations.

The event subject was:

‘Making community buildings smarter, greener and increasing their usage from across the community’.

The people who attended were:

  • those who operated rural buildings
  • experts in sustainable and green power
  • community organisations
  • rural research experts
  • the Rural Design Centre team

We first heard from people who had been involved in some amazing sustainability focussed projects. These were inspirational and provoked a lot of thought amongst the group.

We then ran a workshop to establish the main challenges that people were facing in this space.

We broke out into groups (using Zoom’s breakout rooms), and calling on a Liberating Structures technique called Troika Consulting, in small groups we all learned about the main challenges that each other was facing. This was done in small groups to ensure that everybody’s voice was heard.

Everyone has great insight from their experience, and we want to harness their valuable input for the benefit of everyone.

Whether their experience was from being a member of a rural community organisation, or a role in the sustainable energy industry, or from the experience they have had in their volunteering capacity.

Everyone in the group had something valuable they were able to contribute.

Since the group was formed and everyone’s thinking had been aligned, we helped the group to apply for funding for a feasibility study to establish the best methods of achieving their goal of sustainable and efficient energy.

We’re currently awaiting the outcome of the application, and will update as the project progresses.