He Huffed and He Puffed… but the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Eco Homes Stayed Warm!

A straw bale extension being constructed in Derbyshire

Looking for a different sort of day out this summer? Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire residents who have followed in the footsteps of the three little piggies and live in homes built from straw, wood, brick…. and also stone, are inviting you to visit them. Fortunately none of the houses will fall down if you huff and puff, but they do all have fantastic eco features that have saved their owners money and kept them warm and cosy.

All of the homes are involved in the brand new Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Eco Open Homes (NDEOH) ‘View By Appointment’ initiative. An Edwardian brick house with solid wall insulation, a straw bale extension on a Victorian terrace, a modern timber framed bungalow, and a 1760’s stone-built house with many eco features are all available to visit by appointment with the householder. From solar panels and wind turbines to simple draught proofing measures, the people who live in these houses have all found ways to save on their energy bills and reduce their environmental impact.

Caroline Harmon, of charity Marches Energy Agency, said: ‘Whatever material your house is built of, rising energy bills are affecting us all and there’s a pressing environmental need to reduce our energy use and get energy from renewable sources. This is an opportunity to see real solutions in real homes, done on a range of budgets, and have a chat with the people who live there about their experiences of having this work done.’

More than 600 people have visited a home or other building in the area between 2013 and 2015 as part of the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Eco Open Home Week events. The ‘View By Appointment’ initiative will give visitors more time to see homes and chat with the owners one-to-one. To find out more and book an appointment to visit any of the homes visit:

Community Renewable Energy Powers 130,000 Homes

A community-owned wind turbine at Hockerton, nr Southall. A local example of a community-owned renewable project
Community-owned renewable energy is generating enough energy to power the equivalent of 130,000 UK homes according to the findings of a‘state of the sector’ survey. Released by Community Energy England, the results show that a total of 222 organisations are now operating solar, hydro or wind power schemes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. These organisations have raised £190m investment, mainly from community share issues.
The report highlights the success achieved by community organisations but warns that reduced government support is threatening the future viability of the sector. Community Energy England Chief Executive Emma Bridge said: ‘These projects have proved that they are both innovatory and resilient in a very tough climate but the unprecedented cuts in subsidy and tax incentives present them with their biggest challenge yet.’
Read the full report:

D2 Energy Efficiency Surveys and Grants Available

The D2 Energy Efficiency Project is offering free energy audits to businesses in Derby and Derbyshire to help reduce business costs and carbon emissions, and increase the comfort of employees. Following an audit, project officers will work with businesses to implement the best options for your business. Grants of up to £15,000 (and up to 65% of the cost) are available to eligible businesses to carry out energy efficiency improvements. Measures could include improved lighting, insulation, more efficient process equipment and renewable energy. For more information:
Support is also available for low carbon environmental accreditation and technical support consultancy from the University of Derby: see

The D2 Energy Efficiency Project is run by a partnership between the University of Derby, Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Take the Family Cycling Quest in Broxtowe

Prizes are up for grabs for families completing five of Broxtowe’s Family Cycling Quest Quizzes by the end of October. With eight cycling routes in the area and a quiz for each one with clues and answers found along the way, the Family Cycling Quest could make for some great days out this summer. The routes help people explore new places around their communities and enjoy cycling. One rider, Rowan, aged 10, completed five Quests with her family and now wants to complete the rest. Three lucky winners from a prize draw will each receive a £50 voucher to spend on cycling equipment.
Quest maps, quiz sheets and further information are available online:

Apple Picking and Pressing Volunteers Needed in Chesterfield 

The Transition Chesterfield Abundance Project team are gearing up for the apple picking season, with their annual project to harvest unwanted fruit and distribute it free of charge or press it into juice. So much fruit goes to waste and this is a great way to help people who either cannot pick their own fruit or have too much, and distribute it to homeless shelters, food banks etc. There are plenty of trees to harvest but the project team is in need of more pickers and places to distribute the fruit to. Ways to get involved:

  • Apple picking – as part of a team during September and October
  • Apple pressing – there will be a weekly pressing session at Inspire Community Garden
  • Nominate an organisation to receive apples (mainly cooking) e.g. school, community group

If you can help, get in touch: