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Improving the energy efficiency of community buildings

This will mean a lower carbon footprint and reduced energy bills.

This can be achieved by a range of measures from low cost and simple changes to larger scale building work.

Step 1

An energy audit – assesses the current energy use and efficiency of a building. This will help decide the work that needs to be done to identify the most effective options for energy efficiency improvements.

  1. Self-assessment energy surveys – using guidance and a checklist the Centre for Sustainable Energy this can be done by a walk around of the building noting people use the different spaces in the building, plus heating, lighting, insulation and ventilation, which parts of the building use the most energy and where energy is being lost.
  2. Expert energy audits – professional advice about the energy use of your community building. Expert assessments will provide data and evidence about your building’s energy use and performance which can offer clear, costed plans and support funding applications. Energy Solutions Oxfordshire offer energy audits to organisations across Oxfordshire.

Step 2

When you have the energy audit you are ready for the next step.

The plan should be to reduce energy use as much as possible, then improve energy efficiency, and finally consider renewable energy.

Options for making improvements to your community building

  1. Behaviour changes – using less energy eg lights are off when building not in use
  2. Physical improvements to reduce energy waste (e.g. repairs, insulation, efficient heating)
  3. Renewable technologies (air source heat pumps, solar panels)

Consult local residents and users of the building to help with the design the changes to give the best experience for users and to make sure that users know how to use the building most efficiently. Talking to residents will also help to raise awareness of energy options in the wider community, as the building can be used as an example of what users could do in their own homes. 

Step 3

Funding for improvements – see option below

Our Councillor Grant Scheme – each South Oxfordshire district councillor has £5,000 to award to projects or services that offer community benefits in their ward area, budget permitting. These grants could be for carrying out energy audits of community buildings or investing in energy efficiency improvements. This scheme is open for applications once a year.

Who is eligible? Non-profit community organisations and town and parish councils.

To apply: Visit South Oxfordshire District Councillor Grant Scheme


Our Capital Grant Scheme This provides funding to voluntary and community organisations to help build thriving communities and improve the quality of life for the residents in the district through capital projects that; improve economic and community well-being, provides infrastructure that meets local need, that protect and restore our natural world; and take action on the climate emergency. This scheme is open for applications once a year.

Who is eligible? Non-profit community organisations and town and parish councils.

To apply: Visit Our Capital Grant Scheme


The Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund provides loans of up to £20,000 to village hall management committees to improve facilities for their communities. This can include measures that increase the energy efficiency of community buildings.

Awarding organisation: DEFRA, administered by ACRE

Who is eligible? Community groups

To apply: Visit The Rural Community Buildings Loan Fund


People’s Postcode Lottery Grant – Community groups can apply for a grant to fund energy efficiency measures, under the theme of improving biodiversity and responding to the climate emergency.

Awarding organisation: People’s Postcode Lottery

Who is eligible? Not-for-profit organisations. Please note town and parish council cannot apply for this grant.

To apply: Visit People’s Postcode Lottery Grant

Contact us - Climate and Biodiversity Team

South Oxfordshire District Council
Abbey House
Abbey Close
OX14 3JE