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The SONNET project is offering community building managers free energy audits. Carrying out an energy audit can be the first step towards many benefits for community buildings, including:

  • Accessing funding for solar panels and other renewable energy
  • Understanding how you can reduce your energy bills
  • Taking a leadership and education role on energy literacy in your community

BEN member organisations such as Easton Community Centre and Hartcliff and Withywood Community Partnership have already been on this journey, and experienced many benefits. We also thank those of you who joined our BEN open meeting earlier this year which explored how community buildings can save energy and engage their communities,  for those of you who missed it, the blog write up is here.

There are two steps to participating as a community building manager:

  1. Complete the SONNET survey developed by BEN. This is open to all community building managers, and will contribute to an asset map of community buildings in Bristol.
  2. Community buildings owned by Bristol City Council are then eligible for a free SONNET energy audit. This is more technical than the first survey. You have to complete the survey first to book a full audit.

Community buildings not eligible for the full audit will receive some support from BEN with advice on where to access funding, how to communicate about energy with your communities, and how other members of the network can support you in your energy journey.


We also have one free 12 KW Solar Panel System (PV) to offer a suitable Bristol City Council owned property. Responses from this survey will be assessed to find a shortlist of the most suitable buildings to install this solar system.


Ideally you will have access to a recent energy bill when completing this survey. However please do not be put off if you do not as all answers given will be useful. We can also follow up with you to support your completion of the survey. 


How you can get involved:

  • If you manage a community building in Bristol, especially if your landlord is Bristol City Council, please complete the SONNET survey.
  • If you have connections with a community building in Bristol, please encourage them to complete the SONNET survey.

See additional information for research participants to find out more about our privacy policy and how we will use your data.

This is a great opportunity for community buildings to lead the way on energy efficiency in their communities, an approach which has been at the heart of BEN’s city-wide thinking for a long time. Many of the community buildings in Bristol are owned by Bristol City Council and leased to community organisations, but are often left out of Bristol City Council energy upgrades. This project aims to understand how to unlock these. BEN’s role is to carry out the engagement work on this project – with community building managers, leaseholders and surrounding communities. We hope to understand better how these buildings are used and the potential and barriers for energy efficiency upgrades and their financing.

More information about the SONNET project:

The SONNET project’s Bristol City Lab is an innovative research project exploring new ways to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy investment in community buildings in Bristol. The City Lab partners are Bristol City Council, the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex and BEN and the project will run until summer 2021.

The Bristol City Lab is just one element of SONNET (Social Innovation in Energy Transitions) which is an international project with partners across Europe who will share knowledge for energy innovation.

Our open meeting in June 2020 started to discuss some of the possibilities that the project might develop.

Learn more about SONNET in Bristol.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 837498.


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