A welcome to Rick Lomax new project officer for Low Carbon Cottages
Here at Nurture Lakeland we're really pleased to offer a warm welcome to Rick Lomax, our new Project Officer for the Low Carbon Cottages project. After months of planning and investigation we are finally up and running with this ground breaking project which is looking at the carbon emissions of the Holiday Lettings Industry.
Here's what Rick has to say about the project:
I am Rick Lomax, or my other title is the ‘Sustainability Initiatives Officer’ at Nurture Lakeland, grand indeed, and over the next 14 1/2 months or 447 days I will be responsible for delivering the aims of the Low Carbon Cottages project.
The project is designed to address the gap in knowledge around making traditional holiday cottages more energy efficient and sustainable. Why? Is a good question, roughly 20% of buildings in the UK are termed traditional, i.e. built pre 1919 yet there is only really a wealth of information and resources looking at building new eco structures and the knowledge of how to make an older building compete on an energy efficiency level, is almost non-existent. This information needs to be gathered to look at energy and carbon reductions in this type of property. The carbon emissions associated with building use is around 30% of the national emissions, and to work towards the government’s 80% reduction in carbon emissions set out to be met by 2050, means these types of buildings must be part of the solution. However attention must be paid to the aesthetics, character and individuality of these properties, so we cannot indiscriminately slap on insulation and render to the outside of these properties, we must work with their features and retrofit in a responsible way to preserve them.
My role is going to be balancing the needs to maintain the building’s character and yet offer unobtrusive methods to reduce the carbon emissions of the building and in doing so also decrease the running cost to the property owner. This will be a difficult process, but many changes can be around the use of the building, guest behaviour and assess the building management that already exists. We all know of the Hotel ‘don’t wash your towel till it’s necessary’ poster in the bathroom, which is both a sustainability and cost reduction exercise. We are hoping to discover the ways in which energy and carbon is lost through our own actions as the holiday guest. Understanding the typical habits of guests is going to be key, so we can ascertain the biggest areas to be improved and through education, quizzes and competitions, engage the holiday guest to be part of the solution.
The project is really going fill the knowledge gap and go further to specialise in both Cumbrian properties and also tailor all the information and support to Holiday cottages, of which there are around 3500 holiday cottages which represent 3 million visitor days in South Lakeland alone.
We will be engaging cottage owners, suppliers, contractors, specialists, sustainable tourism experts within Nurture Lakeland and Academics from the University of Cumbria to build a best practise toolkit to educate people about the best methods to achieve energy efficiency within Traditional holiday cottages.