How can community energy organisations build sustainable models for the delivery of energy efficiency? What role should community energy groups play in these projects - provider, promoter or protector? This workshop will explore best practice with insights from Carbon Coop, BHESCo, Urbed and Durham County Council’s involvement in REBUS, an EU funded project to improve the energy efficiency of publicly owned and community buildings.

Jonathan Atkinson is a board member and co-founder of Carbon Co-op, an innovative community energy enterprise based in Greater Manchester, focussed on energy efficiency, low carbon technologies and whole-house retrofit. In 2008, collaborating closely with technical partners URBED, he oversaw the development and establishment of Carbon Co-op and has since delivered much of its work as project manager. These have included Community Green Deal, a project delivering deep retrofit to owner-occupiers at scale and affordable prices and Nobel Grid, a European-wide smart grids projects to enable co-operatives and communities to take control of their energy systems. Throughout his career, he has explored the potential for co-operative and collective action to create change.

Kayla began her career with Deloitte & Touche in San Francisco and Ernst & Young in Amsterdam before moving to Greenpeace International in 1993. In 1999 as a consultant her client portfolio included Nuon (the Dutch utility), and Ecofys (European pioneers in renewable energy). At Nuon, she was the financial technician on wind farm development in China and Spain and PV development projects in California and Hawaii. She advised the IEA on the feasibility of a large-scale PV project in the Sahara Desert for DESERTEC. In 2004, Kayla moved to London providing business development and advisory services to utilities and SME’s in the Cleantech industry. Kayla is a qualified accountant and has an MBA in Environmental Management from the TIAS Business School in the Netherlands. In 2015 Kayla launched BHESCo which has since completed 35 energy projects and delivered energy efficiency improvements to 425 properties in Sussex. 

Marianne is an architect with interests in urban design, sustainability, and participative design at URBED (Urbanism Environment and Design) Ltd in Manchester. She holds an MSc in Architecture: Advanced Environment and Energy Studies. She is a resident of Liverpool 8, where she is a member of Terrace 21 MHOS cooperative and Granby Four Streets Community Land Trust. She was involved in the Technology Strategy Board ‘Building Performance Evaluation’ and ‘Retrofit for the Future’ programmes, and was the lead designer on a recent runner-up EnergieSprong pilot project in Nottingham. She is currently working with community business ‘Squash’ to deliver a new low-carbon community food hub building in Liverpool. She was lead designer on the Carbon Coop’s ‘Community Green Deal’ retrofit programme. She has worked closely with Carbon Coop to develop their range of retrofit assessment tools and householder training programmes that build on and share this knowledge and experience.

  • Richard Hurst - Education Development Advisor, Sustainability for Durham’s Education Development Service 

Rich is Education Development Advisor at Sustainability for Durham’s Education Development Service. Through this role, Rich manages the award-winning School Carbon Reduction Programme working with over 240 schools annually and is Project Manager for the Interreg Europe Rebus Project for Durham County Council. In addition, he works with Outdoor and Sustainability Education Specialists, a regional charitable organisation that works with schools on global sustainability and outdoor learning initiatives. Previous experience includes being the coordinating officer for the North East Strategic Partnership for Sustainable Schools which engaged public, private and third sector partners, funded by DoE; establishing the acclaimed EWE Centre in Durham; and being commissioned by national initiatives such as Eco-Schools, Growing Schools and Champions for Wind. He is also a board member of the National Sustainable Schools Alliance. In his spare time, he is a keen mountain biker, dog walker, and enjoys other activities that get him out of the house.