Do you want to help your community run their buildings without wasting energy and develop new skills at the same time?
The Surefoot Effect and HeatHack are offering a new programme for communities that will help them decide what’s right for their community buildings, most of which are older and traditionally built. We need volunteer engineers to assist them with the more technical aspects of the programme. Engineers can find their own community groups to participate, or we can help them find one in their area.
Over four two-hour sessions, the groups will learn how thermal comfort works in these difficult buildings and check whether they are using their current heating system efficiently and in line with the need to move to net zero. Since many of these buildings are under-used, they will also think about what the right future use of their building will be, including planning a community engagement event to gather evidence of unmet community needs. For some buildings, the right solution might be increased use that serves the community better, using grants and increased letting income for infrastructure changes that mitigate heat loss and change heating over from fossil fuels to electric. For others, it might be localised heating that makes the users comfortable for shorter stays without attempting to warm the entire space. Whatever kind of engineer you are, your ability to understand basic principles of heat transfer and experience of coming up with solutions in time and within budget will be of immense value to your local community.
You can expect to spend around 40 hours over six to twelve months assisting your group with making a plan for the future of their building and documenting aspects of their building and its use that affect thermal comfort, so that heating professionals and architects will be able to serve them better. We will provide you with thermal monitoring devices and help you use them to spot any obvious inefficiencies that can be rectified cheaply in the shorter term. We will provide training for you alongside your fellow engineers in online sessions and support you throughout your role. In return, you may learn more about energy efficiency in traditional buildings, enjoy practicing your skills on what can be a tricky problem, and will develop client-facing skills that help in a wide range of careers.
For more information, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to approach a community building yourself, here is a printable .pdf information sheet that you can show to the building’s management.