A research project on low carbon communities led by the Low Carbon Building Group, a research group within the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes, has been recognised as an exemplar project on energy and communities in a Government report on Energy.
The Evaluating Low Carbon Communities project (EVALOC) was highlighted in the Community Energy Strategy, a report by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).The research is led by Professor Rajat Gupta, director of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD) at Oxford Brookes, in collaboration with the University of Oxford. Laura Barnfield, Matt Gregg and Bob Irving are researchers in the Low Carbon Building Group who are also working on the EVALOC project.
The Community Energy Strategy report highlights the benefits of putting communities at the heart of energy policy, of which EVALOC is an excellent example. The report details the EVALOC project as a case study for developing true community energy in the UK. It notes that “the researchers have developed a robust approach to evaluating the impacts and effectiveness of community-led retrofits of homes and behaviour change initiatives on household energy use.”
Speaking about the project, Professor Gupta said: “EVALOC is an exciting, novel and collaborative four-year project. We are undertaking community-led action research and a programme of household level monitoring and evaluation. We are building on the experience of a number of professional researchers, as well as the experience and knowledge in communities and we hope to make a real difference to energy use and carbon emissions.”
The work is funded by the Research Council UK Energy and Communities Programme and brings together researchers from building and social sciences fields. It aims to transform the way communities use and produce energy, and build new ways of supporting more sustainable living. In the future, the EVALOC project will be developing a Community Energy Toolkit that includes materials and guidance for energy projects. The toolkit will also include methods for monitoring and evaluating household energy use as well as carbon mapping tools to help groups identify, action and monitor energy projects in their communities.
For more information on the Evaluating Low Carbon Communities project, visit the EVALOC website.
The DECC report can also be read online.