Time to think about winter...
Nikki Jones, October 2019
Image from Wikipedia A third of our heating in the UK is wasted – we heat buildings and rooms we don’t use, and our buildings leak. One degree down is estimated to save you 8% of your bill, so worth doing on all fronts – most of us won’t even notice one degree… ‘Insulation before installation’ is the mantra – get the cheap and easy wins done first. Here are a few thoughts, old and new. Any companies linked in to this are as examples, not direct recommendations. Get out your bills from the last year and sit your house-mates down (however young) to discuss; aim to cut 10% at least; take... read more »
Fourth Energy Tracer training weekend
Jamie Hanlon, October 2019
The fourth Energy Tracer training weekend was held on 5th/6th October, this time at St Pauls Community Centre in Bristol. The training was a full two days and included the theory of thermal imaging and building construction, and introduction to the CHEESE thermal imaging equipment and hands-on experience with some practice surveying.
Vacancies for volunteer assistant thermal-imaging surveyors - with free training
Concerned about climate disruption? You CAN make a difference, in Bristol, by volunteering with the C.H.E.E.S.E. Project (Cold Homes Energy Efficiency Survey Experts). Job description To assist in thermal image surveys of the interior of homes in Bristol with the object of improving the energy efficiency of homes. The award-winning not-for profit C.H.E.E.S.E. Project is gaining both local and national recognition having carried out over 300 thermal surveys in Bristol in the last four years using our unique low-cost system. Our surveys show clearly where highly-targeted low-cost retrofit... read more »
Job vacancies for part-time thermal-imaging surveyors - with free training
Concerned about climate disruption? You CAN make a difference, in Bristol, with the C.H.E.E.S.E. Project (Cold Homes Energy Efficiency Survey Experts). Job description To conduct thermal image surveys of the interior of homes in Bristol with the object of improving the energy efficiency of homes. The award-winning not-for profit C.H.E.E.S.E. Project is gaining both local and national recognition having carried out over 300 thermal surveys in Bristol in four years, using our unique low-cost system. These allow highly targeted low-cost retrofit, for example by using DIY techniques to stop... read more »
C.H.E.E.S.E. cited in Bristol and the Sustainable Development Goals report
Jamie Hanlon, July 2019
The Cabot Institute for the Environment at the University of Bristol, in partnership with Bristol City Council and the Bristol SDG Alliance, recently published their report 'Bristol and the SDGs' (Sustainable Development Goals). Under SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy, page 27), CHEESE is cited as one of the most significant projects tacking fuel poverty in Bristol: WHAT WE'RE DOING - Tackling Fuel Poverty (7.1, 7.3) One of the most significant projects occurring in Bristol to tackle fuel poverty is the Cold Homes Energy Efficiency Survey Experts (the C.H.E.E.S.E project). Using thermal... read more »
End of the 2018/19 season
Jamie Hanlon, May 2019
We have now completed our fourth winter surveying season, and are pleased to report this has been our best season yet! Overall, we delivered 115 surveys, up 26% from last year. Of this total, 18 surveys were performed for free to low-income households, and 23 surveys were performed by our partner organisations: Bristol Green Doors, Innovate UK, Dhek Bhal and Golder Agers. The map below shows how these surveys were spread our over the city. A huge thanks is due to our survey manager Maddy Longhurst for orchestrating the whole operation, to all our Energy Tracers for delivering the surveys,... read more »
Bristol Green Doors
Jamie Hanlon, May 2019
This year, Bristol Green Doors teamed up with C.H.E.E.S.E. to offer each householder a free thermal-imaging survey prior to the open-homes weekend. This was a great opportunity for us to survey some intereresting buildings with a variety of retrofit measures, and we provided some useful video footage that could be played at the open days. For the householders, it was a new way to view the performance of their homes, which these testemonials attest to: "CHEESE is the single most useful intervention I have had in my home since I began doing improvements when I first bought a house." "It was... read more »
Persimmon homebuyers can withhold money until faults fixed
Jamie Hanlon, March 2019
A recent Guardian article has reported that the developer Persimmon has said it would offer up to 1.5% of a property to resolve any construction faults. This would allow homebuyers to withhold money until the faults were fixed. The development is encouraging, but it falls short of the typical retention on a civil engineering contract of 5%. A small proportion of the surveys we conduct are in new-build properties, and they have revealed faults such as draughts and potential issues with dot and dab. The video footage we provide of the survey would provide excellent evidence of the existance... read more »
Climate Coalition Green Heart Hero Awards
Jamie Hanlon, March 2019
On Monday 11th March we attended the Climate Coalition's Green Heart Hero Award, for which we were nominated for the most inspirational community project. Congratulations to Transition Town Wellington for winning in the category, and to the other nominees and winners of the evening.
Energy Tracers Spring Forum
Jamie Hanlon, March 2019
We held our first Energy Tracer forum on Saturday 2nd March at the Ambition Lawrence Weston youth centre. This was an opportunity for everyone involved with the project to get together to discuss the successes, challenges and ways forward with the project, as well as specific technical issues with thermal imaging and domestic buildings. Thanks to everyone who came and contributed to such a lively and diverse discussion. We will now reflect on all of the feedback and look how we can integrate it to refine and improve the project.
Redland climate change and energy talks
Jamie Hanlon, February 2019
Nikki Jones, a researcher, writer and journalist on oil, gas and energy will give a series of 6 free talks in Redland every Tuesday from 5th March to April 9th at 7.30 pm. They are fully updated from previous years. The venue is the Mustard Room at the Kensington Arms in Redland. The atmosphere is relaxed and each lecture is self contained. The event in the series is a discussion to draws together the threads of previous talks and points to what we as individuals can do. It is easy to go away from climate change meetings with a feeling of helplessness at the task ahead. Booking links:... read more »
New-build homes: why some owners are left feeling the cold
Jamie Hanlon, February 2019
A recently published Guardian article highlights serious problems with the thermal efficiency of new-build homes in the UK. It suggests two issues are at the heart of the matter: dot-and-dab dry lining and poor standards of inspection. Dot-and-dab is a technique of attaching plasterboard to masonry walls when it is not possible to use screws or nails. Adhesive is applied directly to the wall in 'dots' and 'dabs' and the board stuck to it. The approach provides quick and easy way to dry line a wall. Compared to wet wall plastering, it also provides extra sound and heat insulation, if... read more »
Climate Coalition Green Heart Hero Award nomination
Maddy Longhurst, February 2019
We are thrilled to have been nominated for the Climate Coalition's Green Heart Hero Award, for the most inspirational community project. Green hearts reflect the belief in the possibility of a cleaner, safer future; the ambition and efforts of projects big and small that are transforming communities everywhere; and the force of millions who are protecting the things they love. The Green Heart Hero Awards are a chance to celebrate these extraordinary endeavours and give our neighbours a huge round of applause for all they are doing to create a cleaner, more secure future for our communities... read more »
Have a C.H.E.E.S.E. survey this winter and be entered into a prize draw!
Maddy Longhurst, January 2019
To be in the prize draw, you just need to apply for, and have a survey. Apply via the Survey tab at the top of this website. If you have already had a survey since 1 November 2018, you will be automatically entered into the draw. Prizes you could win...so far...! Five lucky people will win copies of the excellent Haynes Eco House manual. This is the manual we have in our CHEESE boxes to help people decide what actions they are going to take as a result of their surveys. Easton Market have donated a delicious box of fresh and other ethically sourced goodies to our prize draw. One lucky... read more »
Bristol Green Capital's 'Our Future' report is newly out and C.H.E.E.S.E. is ready to act
Maddy Longhurst, January 2019
The newly published Our Future report is part of Bristol's One City Plan. 'Our Future' lays out the following targets for the city to achieve: Nobody suffers a cold home by 2028. Make all existing buildings energy efficient by 2030. The C.H.E.E.S.E. Project has a big part to play in helping to achieve these targets. Please contact us if you're a social or private landlord and would like to talk to us about partnering to survey a number of properties. Please contact us if you're a tenant or home owner and would like your house surveyed. The overarching Vision statement of 'Our Future'... read more »
The weather forecast is cold cold and more cold
Maddy Longhurst, January 2019
This coming week's highest Bristol temperatures are hovering around 6 degrees according to the met office. And the news everywhere is talking about preparing for a national, prolonged cold snap. Unless you live in a brilliantly insulated retrofitted, or new build eco-home, you'll probably be feeling the cold creeping in and you'll be turning the heating up to compensate. The C.H.E.E.S.E Project is here to change that. By having a thermal-imaging heat-loss survey, you will have all the information you need about where exactly the problems are and how you can target your time and money in... read more »
C.H.E.E.S.E. at Money Entitlement Event
This was a free event, hosted by Karin Smyth MP on November 30th at The Gatehouse, Hareclive Road. It aimed to offer people a better understanding of the financial help they may be eligible to receive, by providing an opportunity find out more about univeral credit, pensions, tax credits and so on. As the weather gets colder, there will also be information about keeping warm and saving energy, which is why we were there. Details about the event are on a Facebook page.
Bristol City Council's unanimous vote declaring a Climate Emergency
On 13th November Bristol City Council made history by being the first UK city to declare a climate emergency for the city and to make Bristol carbon neutral by 2030. C.H.E.E.S.E. knows it has a unique role to play in the acceleration of decarbonising homes and mitigating worsening fuel poverty across the city. Bristol's Energy guru Nikki Jones has written to Marvin Rees to set the energy context for the city and help to clarity the extent of the challenges we face. In her letter she says: Dear Mayor and Council Physics trumps economics. The IPCC tells us that the planet is likely to reach... read more »
Volunteering opportunities with CHEESE this winter
With our winter survey season fast approaching, we are looking for volunteers to assist with our home energy surveys. As an assistant, you will provide support to an Energy Tracer surveyor with the handling and setting up of equipment, and engagement with householders. This is a great opportunity to gain experience of our work and surveying approach, and to make a positive contribution to tacking climate change and fuel poverty. For ideas of other ways that you can help with CHEESE, please see our volunteering page. If you would like to volunteer with CHEESE, or have any specific... read more »
Community Energy Awards
We are delighted to have won the national 'Community Energy and Carbon Saving Award', for "The most inspiring energy conservation and/or management project". The award was presented at this year's Community Energy Awards at the Arnolfini in Bristol. The event was hosted by Community Energy England (CEE) and Community Energy Wales (CEW). It’s fantastic that our innovative thermal imaging project has been recognised for our achievements which with support is scalable. We need to build on this momentum to put a greater focus on energy efficiency given the scale of carbon reductions needed... read more »
2018 project progress reports
We have recently published two reports on our last year and the 2017/18 survey season. Our progress report outlines how the project has developed. It highlights that last year was a crucial step in the project's development. We engaged with a range of community organisations, helping us to expand the project, and as such we performed the largest number of surveys in a season to date, with consistent high-quality feedback from householders. We have also been continuing to develop our technology, raise money and lobby local and national government. The analysis report presents our findings... read more »
Third Energy Tracer training weekend
We ran our third Energy Tracer training weekend on the 20th/21st October, which was held at the Ambition Lawrence Weston youth centre. The training was a full two days and included the theory of thermal imaging and building construction, and introduction to the CHEESE thermal imaging equipment and hands-on experience with some practice surveying.
Job vacancies for part-time thermal-imaging surveyors, with free training
The deadline for this opportunity has now passed, and we are no longer accepting applications. We are looking for enthusiastic, sustainably-minded people to train as CHEESE Energy Tracers to conduct thermal image surveys of the interior of homes in Bristol this winter. Commencing with a course over the weekend of October 20th/21st 2018 in Bristol, this opportunity begins with free training to a CPD standard in our unique method of thermal surveying. We are offering part time work, according to your availability, daytime, evenings and weekends until the end of March 2019 (with two weeks... read more »
Job vacancy for a thermal-imaging Survey Manager
The deadline for this opportunity has now passed, and we are no longer accepting applications. We are looking for a motivated, organised individual to manage our thermal-imaging surveys of the interior of homes this winter. Commencing early October 2018 in Bristol, this role is for 2-3 days/week until end April 2019 (with two paid weeks leave over Christmas/New Year). This period may be extended or increased if further funding becomes available. Due to the nature of our surveys it will involve, at times, working during the evening and at weekends. There is a six week (15 day) probationary... read more »
Redland May Fair
We had a fantastic day at Redland May Fair on the first May bank holiday weekend, which was bathed in sunshine and extremely hot. Although the weather was not ideal to people about their cold homes, we had a busy day with lots of people interested in the project and in organising surveys next winter. Note the cheese 'bait' in the photos!
CHEESE lunchtime gathering to celebrate a successful survey season
This survey season was our most successful with 91 surveys delivered. It is a considerable body of work and indeed should make a substantial difference to energy consumption and also to people's lives. To celebrate and reflect on this achievement, the CHEESE team got together for lunch at Mike Andrew's house (see photos below). This was an opportunity to debrief with each other, to discuss what went well and what could be improved next year, and a chance to share in the future of the project. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to the project's success!
Completion of this winter's survey season
With the weather becoming warmer, we are drawing to the end of our 2017/18 winter surveying season. We are delighted to report that we have completed 85 surveys as of 12 March, with 3 more scheduled for this weekend. We are most encouraged to have exceeded our plan to carry out 80 surveys. And, also as planned, a third of our surveys have been done for free for householders on low incomes. This is thanks to the fantastic efforts of our dedicated survey coordinator, volunteers and volunteer management. Surveys next season If you are interested in having a CHEESE survey, then although you... read more »
CHEESE awarded £10,000 by Bristol Community Energy Fund
We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded £10,000 by the Bristol Community Energy Fund. This will enable us to complete the current 2017/18 season and prepare for the next, including more training and videos. It is a vote of confidence at an important time for our project, and also an acknowledgement of all the hard work that everybody has put into the project so far. Well done to you!
CHEESE social at Narrow Quay YHA
We organised an informal get together on 19 February at the Harbourside YHA. This was an opportunity for those working on the project, and others who have expressed an interest in it, to get to know each other, to ask questions and to provide their own feedback and ideas. Thanks to all who came, and we look forward to the next one, sometime in the summer.
The CHEESE response to goverment consultation on 'building a market for energy efficiency'
The government department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) issued a public consultation in October 2017, appealing for views on to build a market for energy efficiency. Susan Nicholls and Michael Alford Andrews of the CHEESE project compiled evidence and submitted a response, which we have published below. For reference, the consultation document can be accessed here (PDF). Contents Background: The value of thermal imaging as a tool to incentivise energy efficiency Q1. What information do you have on current rates of delivery of measures outside of Government programmes,... read more »
Successful registration as a community interest company (CIC)
We are very pleased to announce that, effective from 14th February 2018, the CHEESE project is now registered as a community interest company (CIC). This status was granted by the CIC regulator on the basis that the our activities are carried out for the benefit of residents of Greater Bristol and then the United Kingdom and that they contribute to a reduction in energy loss from homes. The project also assists those who have difficulty affording their fuel bills to have more comfortable homes. It helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel bills, contributing to warmer homes and a... read more »
Further funding successes
We are pleased to announce two further funding successes that will support us in delivering phase three of the project this winter. We were awarded £5,000 by the Megawatt Community Energy Fund. The fund was setup to distribute profits of the Bristol Energy Cooperative and is managed by the Quartet Community Foundation. It was a very competitive round, with many fantastic organisations, so we are very pleased to have received the money and the recognition and support of the wider community. See here or here for a full list of the grants awarded. We also received a £1,000 grant from The... read more »
Second Energy Tracer Training weekend
Our second Energy Tracer training weekend was held on 21st/22nd October, again at the Ambition Lawrence Weston youth centre. The new Energy Tracer recruits learnt about the theory of thermal imaging and building construction on Saturday, and were introduced to the CHEESE thermal imaging equipment and hands-on experience with some practice surveying on Sunday. We also held a refresher session for existing Energy Tracers on Sunday to prepare them for the upcoming survey season.
Success at the The Funding Network evening
We are delighted to have received encouraging support from the members of The Funding Network (Bristol) at a live funding evening at TLT LLP solicitors on 12th October. Mike Andrews made a six-minute presentation, supported by Green Party Councillor Jerome Thomas and CHEESE members, and we were rewarded with personal funding bids totalling £5,000. This money will make a valuable contribution to our operations this winter.
Opportunities to work on the CHEESE project this winter
We are currently looking for enthusiastic people to help with the upcoming survey season, in paid and voluntary positions. See below for details. Energy Tracer training We are running a free training course for CHEESE Energy Tracers on the weekend of 7th and 8th October, 2017. We expect a commitment to help with/carry out at least one survey a week (on average) during the 19-week season, from November until the end of March 2018, with a break over Christmas, from 10th to 31st December. Surveys take approximately two hours and are typically scheduled on weekends, and sometime evenings to... read more »
CHEESE at Goram Fair, September 2017
We had our gazebo stall at this year's Goram Fair. We didn't escape the rain but it didn't seem to put people off from coming.
CHEESE at Bristol Green Capital 10th Anniversary event & Green Mingle
More details here.
CHEESE at Redland May Fair
This year's Redland May Fair was hugely successful and attracted large crowds on a beautiful sunny day. We spoke to lots of people about the warmth of their homes, retrofit and the value of having a CHEESE thermal imaging survey. That was until the heavens opened and we all got very wet. Thank you to Bristol Energy Network who kindly lent us their new gazeebo.
Phase two complete
We have come to the end of our winter 2016/17 surveying season, and completion of phase two of the CHEESE project. Despite some difficulties with funding early on in the season, we are pleased to be able to report some impressive achievements. The pilot last year was led by thermal imaging expert Brian Harper, who conducted the surveys with trainee CHEESE surveyors and provided his own equipment and energy-saving boxes from his project in Malvern. This year however, we have recruited and trained 13 of our own Energy Tracer surveyors, who have operated in pairs throughout this season to... read more »
CHEESE at the Easton Food Assembly
Nick and Jamie were at the Food Assembly meeting in Easton community centre to spread the word about CHEESE (not to sell any!).
Health and Safety for home visits workshop
The Centre for Sustainable Energy provided a training session this weekend for trainee CHEESE Energy Tracers on health and safety for home visits. This provided a forum to discuss the expectations of the surveyor and the householder and issues associated with visiting peoples homes, including the risks. In the pictures below, the instructor Anna Watts (from CSE) and the CHEESE Energy Tracers, with the visible light and thermal versions of the picture.
First Energy Tracer training session
We ran a successful first training session for Energy Tracers surveyors on 9th/10th October, held at the Ambition Lawrence Weston youth centre. This was a full two days, which included the theory of thermal imaging and building construction, and introduction to the CHEESE thermal imaging equipment and hands-on experience with some practice surveying.
At the Bristol Energy Hub, April 2016
Bristol Energy kindly invited the CHEESE project to run a stall on 2nd and 9th April in their new Energy Hub, located on the Bristol Harbourside. This was a great opportunity to showcase the achievements and ambitions of CHEESE to members of the public.