Green building at heart of week-long festival

Date: Tuesday 5th September 2017

EDEN is to host a dozen events as part of the Cumbria Green Build Festival this year.

The week-long Cumbria-wide festival opens on 16th September, with 30 events, including visits, workshops and bus tours.

The aim is to make homes, businesses and buildings more energy efficient.

“The festival is a great way for people to find out how they can use less energy at home — from small changes like draught-proofing through to a major retrofit or new build,” said Frankie O’Keeffe, green build manager for the Penrith-based, Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS), based at Eden Rural Foyer, Old London Road.

Support from the Pride in Penrith Lottery has meant the charity can add more events locally this year. CAfS is the charity behind the festival, which is now in its 12th year.

The first event in Eden will show residents how to find and seal up draughts before autumn in a practical workshop on 18th September at Penrith library. Anyone thinking of making more substantial improvements can learn about eco building at a full-day workshop on 20th September at Penrith Rugby Club, hosted by Ecological Building Systems.

Penrith is also the starting point for a bus tour on 20th September, delving into renewable energy, electric vehicles, retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency and using natural wool insulation. Stops include the Blencathra Centre, the Thermafleece office in Dacre, and the Threlkeld office of the Lake District National Park Authority, which is funding the event.

There’s the chance to visit private homes in Eden, too, where the homeowners have very low energy bills thanks to improvements they have made to their homes. It includes a bungalow, dating to 1951, in Penrith, which has been refurbished to be very draught proof, and an older, traditional home in Glassonby.

In Appleby, there’s a tour of the Eden Insulation Passivhaus factory on the Cross Croft estate on 23rd September. It is followed by a Freegle Give and Take on 24th September, and a bus tour funded by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, around sites in the Eden Valley and the national park, starting in Appleby on 22nd September.

Neighbouring Great Musgrave will host a full-day workshop for builders on using lime mortar, run by Eden Hot Lime Mortar, on 16th September.

Elsewhere in Eden, Alston will host three Green Build Festival events. These form part of the week-long Alston Moor Greenprint Festival funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Cumbria County Council. Talks by a panel of experts on 20th September will look at whether eco architecture could provide the affordable homes and workspaces the area needs for a sustainable future.

The following day, festival-goers can learn how to do composting with a workshop exploring the different types of composters and what to put in them.

Eden Arts will bring its Repair Café to Alston for the first time on 23rd September.

“People who’ve been to Green Build Festival events before have told us they really enjoy seeing what others have done and talking directly to householders about it in a non-salesy environment,” said Frankie.

“It’s really inspiring to see how people have reduced their energy bills in different ways — from making their homes more airtight and improving insulation, through to using renewables to generate energy and choosing heating systems that don’t rely on fossil fuels like gas and oil. It’s all good news for our area’s carbon footprint, too, helping to prevent damaging climate change.”

Most of the festival events are free to attend but advance booking is essential for many.

Full details of all the festival events and booking information can be found at or by calling CAfS on 01768 210276.

The Cumbria Green Build Festival 2017 is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Cumbria County Council, Electricity North West, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, HSBC, Lake District national park, Pride in Penrith Lottery, South Lakeland District Council and Yorkshire Dales national park.