A programme of green building and sustainable living events is being launched for winter and spring, as more and more Cumbrians are going green with their construction projects and lifestyles.
The series of workshops, courses, talks and tours are a chance for the county’s builders and householders to gain skills and knowledge on making buildings as energy efficient as possible. The programme also delves into ways to green up lifestyles and is perfect for self-builders, professionals and anyone keen to save energy at home and live more sustainably by taking on some of the latest clever techniques, products and technologies – as well as some traditional skills!
“CAfS is well known for our autumn Cumbria Green Build and Sustainable Living Festival, but this year we’ve been able to add an ongoing programme of events in the winter and spring,” said Karen Mitchell, chief executive of Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS), the organisation behind the events.
“Thousands of new homes are being built across Cumbria, with a 63 per cent increase in supply over the past five years. With the technologies and materials readily available now, these new homes could have ultra-low energy bills, and we’re keen to give self-builders and construction professionals the chance to see what’s possible, so that our housing stock is fit for the future.”
Alongside this is a thriving culture of renovation and modernization of traditional properties, bringing the stone solid-wall buildings that the region is famous for into the 21st century.
“When home renovations are going on, it’s often a one-off opportunity to make buildings more energy efficient, saving the occupants money on their bills, and helping to tackle climate change,” Karen said.
Among the directory of events are the opportunities to learn how to insulate solid stone and brick walls without causing damp and damage to the stone, choosing the correct insulation and render for a traditionally built home, and how to install airtightness tapes and membranes. Two courses come with CPD accreditation for construction professionals, looking at different aspects of renovating existing properties.
“We’re also hoping to inspire people to come together to build homes for themselves and others in their communities,” Karen said. “Community-led housing is gaining ground around the country, with some inspiring new developments. The Ashley Vale community in Bristol is an intriguing example, and there’s a chance to hear all about it at our talk by one of their driving forces, Anna Hope.”
The programme goes beyond buildings and into the outdoors, with courses on growing food and foraging, along with a chance to see how compost is being made from wool and other natural ingredients in the county. There are also opportunities to skill up on draughtproofing and energy-saving measures, and to delve into the science behind climate change and how to reduce carbon footprints.
“It wouldn’t have been possible to offer these events if it weren’t for supporters including the Community-Led Housing Hub Cumbria & Lancaster, Carlisle College, Kendal College, South Lakeland District Council and the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme,” Karen said. “We’re very grateful to them and to all of the expert partners helping to run the events.”
The events are now open for booking via the CAfS website at www.cafs.org.uk/events.