September 2014

2014 09 02 17.20.33

Our BRCT office is now an 'energy positive' office! Thank you to everyone who has supported our ambition to build more distributed generation and enhance our ability to provide meaningful advice and information. We had a lovely launch on the 13th of September and we can't help peeking at our cool Enasolar inverter to see how much we're generating while at work.
We're also enjoying having an enlarged BRCT team which is both helping improve systems and improve productivity. The office is truly abuzz with energy! This month we’re holding an Electric Bike workshop on the 18th of October (see the ad). Reduced carbon emissions and more dollars in the pocket are both possible when we move to electric transport. This workshop concentrates on one aspect of electric transport: electric bikes. You’ve probably already seen them around and maybe you’ve talked with the ‘early adopters’ and had a ride. We want to de-mystify electric bikes further, and look at how to maintain the bike and battery and the best type of electric bike for your situation. We’re also looking for people who want to invest in an electric bike. What is on offer is an opportunity to get an electric bike at cost, the catch being your participation in recording the experience.
September was a busy month for the Blueskin Food System work. Three community workshops right at the start of the month were held in Karitane, Waitati and Purakaunui, with 8 people attending each workshop from each settlement/area (8 people at each was pure coincidence!). This follows interviews with commercial growers (9), retailers (5) and backyard producers (2); 3 focus groups in Waitati, Karitane and Purakaunui with a total of 32 people; and 9 questionnaire responses (from people unable to attend focus groups). The current map of the Blueskin Food System area comprises some 16 000 hectares, and is dominated by extensive pastoral farming activity – meat and dairy are plentiful! And yet, there are many small scale ideas/initiatives that do not produce huge quantity, but do shorten the chain between producer and consumer.
Also coming up in October is Home Performance Advisor training. BRCT is sponsoring 8 people, one of whom will complete both level 1 and level 2 training to become fully certified. The Home Performance Assessment service is one of the key things we are concentrating on to help reduce fuel poverty in the community, and is backed up by our provision of information, and the Cosy Homes group, along with a varying number of offers and services through Cosy Homes affiliates.
Chris Rosin from the Centre for Sustainability (Dunedin) and Alexandro Solorzano from the Catholic University Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) were two of our visitors in September, here to talk about university/community partnerships for progressive change. It was fascinating to have a South American perspective on some of the same issues we deal with over here. Coming up in November we’re looking forward to a visit from the Department of Internal Affairs.

Don’t forget to stop long enough for a ‘Cuppa Tea’ – we’re interested in what your responses are to the wealth of ideas and contributions there.
If you would like to find out more about any project or anything else that we do at BRCT then please call in to see us (we are in the old dental clinic at Waitati School), call us on 4822 048, email us or just check out this website.