Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, The Architecture Centre in Bristol, is a charity that champions better buildings and places, and encourages everyone to enjoy and learn about architecture and design. We'd love to install solar panels on this amazing community space in the heart of Bristol’s Harbourside - but we need your help to reach our crowdfunding target by 31 July.
We asked Christine, The Architecture Centre Manager, why she wanted to get involved with our solar fund-raise and how it will help them achieve their goals and 'walk the talk'...
"We have a free exhibition gallery in the heart of Bristol’s Harbourside that welcomes visitors from across the city and beyond, and run a wide range of events that inspire and involve people with the places and spaces around us - from talks to family activities, guided walks to debates and discussions. We also run learning activities with schools and youth groups, and organise the hugely popular Bristol Doors Open Day in September, when people can explore behind the scenes at fascinating buildings and sites across the city, all for free.
Why do you want to get involved in our proposed solar panel project?
"The Architecture Centre has championed sustainable building right from our founding 20 years ago - this is something we continue to be passionate about, and sits at the core of our mission to promote better buildings and places. Despite the challenges of our own heritage building - we are based in an 18th Century former sail loft - we aim to 'walk the talk': we monitor our energy usage closely and have for example recently installed high efficiency heaters to reduce energy use.
"Installing solar panels would not only enable us to reduce our energy costs still further - allowing us to invest more of our income in our charitable activities - but would also enable us to be an exemplar and guide to other organisations and individuals seeking low energy solutions.
What do you hope to achieve with the solar panel installation?
"We would like to cut our bills and do our bit for the environment, but also share our experiences with others - organisations and individuals who look to us for best practice advice, and it would be fantastic to be able to tell our own story and share our experience of reducing our own energy use on a heritage building.
"As an independent not-for profit-organisation we would reinvest money saved in our activities - for example helping us to reach more young people through inspirational programmes such as Shape My City, which provides life-changing mentoring opportunities and empowers young people to help shape their neighbourhood for the better.
What would you say to prospective investors in our fund-raise about the benefits of community solar?
"This is a fantastic scheme that really exemplifies the potential of the 'triple bottom line' approach - bringing social, environmental and financial benefits. Investing in this scheme will enable small charities and community organisations like us to invest in something we could not otherwise contemplate - and will have a lasting positive impact on our organisation, the people we work with, and the planet."
Can you spare £50 or more to help us bring solar to The Architecture Centre?
With the help of our community, we've already raised almost £9.5 million for our solar projects and the countdown is on to raise the remaining funds, so we can make our planned solar installations go ahead on community buildings across the city, including The Architecture Centre.
Our share offer with up to 5% pa returns on investments over 25 years ends on 31 July 2016. You can join our growing community with an investment of just £50 up to £100,000. Find out more from our positive investment partners, Ethex.
Investment decisions must only be made on the basis of the share and bond offer document and not on information provided in this release. Your original investment capital may be at risk and any return on your investment depends on the success of the Puriton solar array and Bristol Energy Cooperative’s business as a whole. You should read the offer document in full, including the risk factors set out in the offer documents, and the terms and conditions regarding this offer at ethex.org.uk before investing. You should consider taking appropriate financial and other advice before making any investment decision.