Community Buildings

09/12/2010 at 12:08 pm | Posted in 10% in 2010, Community energy | Leave a comment

Some buildings owned by community buildings in Balsall Heath will be getting help to make their buildings more energy efficient. John Newson for Balsall Heath Is our Planet will be advising them, paid for with a grant from the Grassorots Grants programme of Birmingham Foundation.

The cold weather makes our community organisations very aware that they are struggling with buildings that leak too much heat and suffer from draughts. This means money is being wasted which is badly needed to sustain the services they offer to local residents.

The programme will continue to the end of March and five buildings will have energy saving plans in place by then. contact John Newson at BHIOP[at] or 0121 440 7919

Free sunshine for all

09/12/2010 at 11:32 am | Posted in 10% in 2010, Home Energy saving, Solar power | Leave a comment

Balsall Heath could be on the way to an extra hour of daylight every evening. The Daylight Saving Bill passed its crucial second reading in the House of Commons on 3 December. The motion for a review of the evidence and a trial period was passed with a majority of 82 votes. This is a huge step towards having more natural light and lower electricity bills for everyone. more details

Be Inspired

28/10/2010 at 3:17 pm | Posted in 10% in 2010, Home Energy saving | Leave a comment

Something inspiring is happening , in the form of an ambitious demonstration by Balsall Heath Housing Co-op of how to make an old terraced house into one fit for the 21st century. This should be a beacon for other social landlords with hard to heat housing. Balsall Heath leads the way once again.

Work is begiinning now on site to show how to deliver an 80% cut in CO2 emissions for a Victorian terraced property which is typical of inner city Birmingham. Tenants will enjoy low energy bills into the future. There is a website about the project.

Daylight Saving – why not?

27/10/2010 at 4:11 pm | Posted in 10% in 2010, Home Energy saving, Solar power | Leave a comment

‘Balsall Heath Is our Planet’ welcomes that the Daylight Saving Bill of Rebecca Harris MP, which will be having its second reading in Parliament on 3 December. This asks for the evidence for daylight saving to be looked at and a trial undertaken.

Daylight Saving now has the support of ROSPA, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, which is based in Birmingham. They say that giving people an hour of daylight to get home from work or school would have a major effect on accidents. Lighter evenings would allow people to feel safe to walking, cycling and waiting for public transport.

BHIOP tries to help local residents to save energy and reduce carbon emissions, but it seems that a fairly cost-free way to make across- the-board savings by households, businesses and the local authority would be by daylight saving, i.e. realigning clock time to provide an extra hour of daylight every evening. Why should we pay for electric lighting when we could have more daylight?

We very much hope the evidence will be considered by our MPs and by the government.

The Birmingham Mail is asking readers to send in their views about this subject.

Anyone wanting to know about the evidence and the campaign can visit Lighter Later website
and petition their MP

Residents get control of electricity use

22/09/2010 at 1:18 pm | Posted in 10% in 2010, Home Energy saving | Leave a comment

Fifteen residents in Hallam St, Balsall Heath, have today been presented with free electricity monitors by EDF Energy. The company is sponsoring the upcoming Birmingham Half Marathon, which will run down their street on 24th October. A video will appear on the website, where more details of the Run can be found.

The ‘Ecomanager‘ is new, in that it both measures the electricity use of a number of applicances in your home and allows you to switch them all off, preventing waste from things being left on ‘standby’. Studies have found that people can save 15% of their electricity just by being aware of how much things are using. On sale from EDF
Balsall Heath Is Our Planet will be offering the residents help and energy advice sessions.

Light Evenings, please

20/09/2010 at 11:35 am | Posted in 10% in 2010 | Leave a comment

For hundreds of years, we used to get up with the sun and go to bed when it got dark. Electric light then encouraged us to stay up much later in the evening. There is a national campaign in the UK to move all the clocks forward one hour throughout the year. This would put our activities back into line with the sun, adding an hour of daylight to the evening. We did this in both World Wars and again in the 1970s, to save coal.

Studies show that we would all save on our electricity bills, by putting the lights on one hour later. Solar power would be more useful. People could get home from work before dark, for more evenings . They would feel safer in the light evenings to walk, cycle, take exercise and use public transport. Fewer children would die in street accidents. We wouldn’t miss the hour taken from early morning, when most people are asleep. There would be no real cost to most of us.

The national 10:10 campaign has led on the issue , as it would be an easy way for us all to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we produce from burning fuel.

A Bill is to come before Parliament in the autumn calling for a review of the benefits and a trial period. To see more information, you can visit the website Lighter Later.

Ideas to cut waste

22/06/2010 at 2:30 pm | Posted in 10% in 2010, Community energy | Leave a comment

Staff at St Paul’s Community Development Trust in Balsall Heath worked hard at their recent staff conference (on 18th June), to explore ideas for cutting waste in the organsaition and helping to build an ‘eco-neighhbourhood’. Since the Trust is the largest employer with 120 staff and many services for local people, it can have a large impact.

The workshop was run by me, John Newson of Balsall Heath is our Planet. It has resulted in a report full of good ideas from the staff to be considered by the Trusts’s management. There seems to be a wealth of creativity and enthusism among the people who work in Balsall Heath.

St Paul’s Trust website is here

10% carbon reduction in 2010

22/06/2010 at 2:15 pm | Posted in 10% in 2010 | Leave a comment

Jericho Foundation in Balsall Heath has made a committment to reduce its carbon emissions from burning gas, oil and electricity by 10% in 2010 – and has succeeded! The social enterprise helps young people into work, but wanted to help the area environmentally, also. They were asked by Balsall Heath is our Planet to take up the 10:10 challenge; they calculated the existing carbon footprint and moved to ‘cut the carbon’.

Funding allowed Jericho to replace its expensive electric heating with a new, efficient gas fired boiler and radiators. Electricity is mostly made from coal and much is lost on the way from the power station. Gas has only half the carbon content of coal.

Other organsiations can sign up for the 10:10 challenge, as can individuals, at 10:10

Jercicho Foundation’s work is explained on their website

Tree Planting

10/02/2010 at 4:27 pm | Posted in 10% in 2010, Trees | Leave a comment

150 Trees have been planted across Balsall Heath this spring 2010. They will provide shade and keep our iner city area cool in summer, while providing homes for birds and even improving the air quality. We lost many younger trees in the 2005 tornado.

John Newson attended a meeting of the Birmingham Climate Adaptation Team and proposed community tree planting. A grant has allowed Balsall Heath Forum’s Green Team to do the planting with the assistance of St Paul’s Trust.

The trees have been placed to fill the gaps in previous rows, and to make an exciting new avenue in Balsall Heath Park. There is a new row along the cycle path from the Middleway along Longmore Street. The silver birches and flowering cherries should give a visual display all year round and help Balsall Heath with its Britain in Bloom effort.

Tree Planting<

Save 10% in 2010

30/11/2009 at 11:45 am | Posted in 10% in 2010 | Leave a comment

Combating climate change seems to be a huge task. Maybe only governments can do it, but maybe they won’t believe the public really want this.

That’s where the 10:10 idea comes in. Thousands of people and organisations are promising to cut their emissions by 10% in 2010. By the end of 2010 you will reduce your purchase of coal, gas and oil by a tenth. Simple energy saving measures can allow anyone to do this, but it would have a huge effect if we all did it. We would begin in one year the process of reducing the greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere. The 10:10 website allows you to sign up and also gives useful tips about how to plan your slimmed-down energy lifestyle Link to 10:10 website

I would be happy to hear from anyone in Balsall Heath who is ‘taking the pledge’ or wants me to talk them into it!  John Newson BHIOP[at]

Congratulations to Birmingham City Council for signing up to reduce its energy and carbon use in 2010 by 10%.

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