Our aim is to work towards becoming a carbon neutral community. We need to address our large carbon footprint, because we are a mainly commuting community, with high heating bills from living in old stone houses. We aim to do this in a number of ways:
- One of our team is Professor Pete Smith, FRS, FRSE, who is an international climate change scientist working at the University of Aberdeen, who has contributed regularly to the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) who is advising us on the necessary steps on a pathway toward net zero emissions as a community by 2045 at the latest, with ambition to reach net zero sooner.
- We have been in contact with Professor Dave Reay at the University of Edinburgh who has agreed to offer honours / masters students the opportunity of coming to our community to do research projects which will help us to quantify our baseline carbon footprint levels, to provide a roadmap for emissions reduction and to advise on how we can monitor progress toward our net zero ambitions in the coming years.
- We see the disused kirk, which is a 200 year-old stone building, as an ideal example to demonstrate what can be done with high specification insulation, ground-source heating, and renewable energy, to transform old buildings like those we live in to net zero housing. This will serve as an example and a demonstration, with all of the details and costs on display on boards so that people can learn from the renovated kirk and adopt the technologies in their own homes. To this end, we plan to make it the centre of this project, creating a café information centre for learning and sharing ideas about the changes that individuals can make through lifestyle choices
- We also aim to purchase land nearby which we will plant with trees. The woodland planted on this land will offset 830 return car journeys to Aberdeen per year. We hope to acquire more land for planting trees in the future, but this initial step would be key in raising awareness of the cost in carbon emissions of car journeys, and the potential of encouraging car-sharing. Tree-planting will also provide added biodiversity habitats, with at the same time amenity value for the community. Working together to plant the trees will help grow our feeling of community, and of well-being.
- As we go forward we hope to work more with other groups, particularly other small communities with similar ambitions.
- The changes we learn how to make in our own homes and lifestyles will be on-going, and we hope that – together and individually – we can make a lasting difference as we work towards becoming carbon neutral. We hope to acquire more land for tree planting as funds allow, expanding the project as soon as possible.
- We believe that as we find effective ways of reducing our use of fossil fuels, and our over-use of energy, we can inspire others to realise how important this is.