Carbon Coop

The weekend before last I went to Manchester to help Matt Fawcett and Jonathan Atkinson of Carbon coop with the EcoHome_Lab openenergymonitor energy monitor building workshop. I haven’t blogged about Carbon Co-op before so Id like to give a bit of an intro to who they are and why I think what they are doing is particularly exiting.

http://carbon.coop
I first met Matt who is responsible for the monitoring at Carbon Coop at a Cleanwebuk event in London after initially exchanging a few emails. Matt explained that they are working on a retrofit programme to try to prove that it is possible to cut between 60-80% of energy demand from homes because this is what we need to save.

They want monitoring to be at the centre of everything they do, so that their members can see how minor changes impact energy usage as well as more major retrofit changes. They also want to monitor internal air quality as well as temperature for early identification of any problems with the insulation and airtightness measures. By monitoring humidity, CO2 as well as temperature Matt explained that its possible to isolate issues around damp/cooking etc from issues around ventilation.

They are really keen to use open source technology because that then gives them the freedom to configure the system as they need and then get at the data. They are keen advocates for open data and open source software and hardware in general and carry out their own work in an open way.

Since then Carbon Coop have installed 18 openenergymonitor energy monitors in houses across Manchester, held two energy monitor workshops including last weekends and are going forward with retrofitting 15 houses to between 60 and 80% carbon reduction.

Building monitors at the Carbon Coop EcoHomeLab workshop 19th-20th April 
What I really like about Carbon Coop is the way they are working on every part of the process: They start with the larger picture of what we need to do in terms of sustainable energy in housing and then go from there to work on an individual household basis, first carrying out a detailed whole house assessment based on the governments SAP (standard assessment procedure) to identify where most energy is being lost, which improvements would have the biggest effect and what to do first. They’re using the energy monitoring to provide feedback to households as described above. From there they go on to help households carry out work on their houses, from finding the best way to finance retrofit measures to working with architects and local tradespeople. Once the retrofit building works are complete they continue to monitor to ensure that the changes reach the predicted energy targets. They do all this using an open source approach, they are also a co-operative that is open for people to join. They are a really switched on group of people, carrying out their work in a thorough, thoughtful, evidence based way.

Every-time I go to visit them I come back inspired to develop things further. One of the highlights of the last visit was listening to Eleni Kalkantzi who works for URBED (Carbon Coop's technical partner) talk about the whole house assessment methodology and reports she, Charlie Baker and Marianne Heaslip have developed. A huge amount of work has clearly gone into these reports and the assessment method, they have an example report and report on the assessment method here:

See their example assessment here: http://carbon.coop/assessments/CC_EXAMPLE_ASSESSMENT2.pdf

Report on the assessment method: http://carbon.coop/assessments/URBED_ASSESSMENT_REPORT.pdf

They see the next step being to integrate monitoring data directly in to the SAP model on which their reporting is based to reduce the number of assumptions made. This is where the open source emoncms SAP model that we have been developing comes in but I will come back to that in another post.
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