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Go Green! roadshow for Stafford town centre

Zero S
The 95 mph all-electric Zero S motorcycle, built in California, is European e-Motorbike of the Year for 2013. It has a range of up to 130 miles, can recharge in 1 hour, and costs just 1 pence per mile to run. See it in Stafford on 15 June!

An exciting line-up on the theme of sustainable travel and eco-friendly living will take centre stage in Stafford on Saturday 15 June. That's when the Go Green! roadshow takes over the town's Market Square for the day. The event features electric vehicles, electric cycles, andpushbikes, as well as promoting the benefits of walking, ways to save energy in the Go Green posterhome, and the multi-million pound INTO project being run by Staffs County Council. It has been organized by Sustainability Matters in conjunction with Stafford Borough Council, and aims to get people thinking about smarter ways to travel and use energy as steps to a more sustainable future. There will even be a demo of solar PV panels by the Stafford Area Community Solar scheme.

Nissan Leaf

Local dealer W.R. Davies will be showing the potential of the Nissan Leaf electric car. It has a range of over 100 miles and can be fully recharged at home overnight.

Electric vehicles (EVs) fuelled by the sun?

The event grew out of the idea that if your home or business generates electricity using, say, solar PV, you can potentially run an electric vehicle (EV) directly from the sun, for free, and get paid for the electricity into the bargain through the feed-in tariff. A bit like going to a petrol station and the petrol company paying the customer to fill up! In your dreams?? OK, this might work only on certain sunny days, but making the connection in people's minds is the important bit. Hence it was planned to put the solar panels alongside some electric vehicles. Local dealers Nissan and Toyota dealers W.R. Davies were approached, and they were keen to get involved by bringing along their electric cars. Then we thought, why not an electric motorbike and electric bicycles? Why not indeed? Jason of Streetbikes in the West Midlands was very enthusiastic, and promised to turn up on a 95 mph Zero electric motorbike, all the way from California (via Halesowen). Also signed up are local charity Back2Bikes, who deal in new and reconditioned bikes and electric bicycles.

An electric vehicle (EV) charger fitted to an exterior wall.
It can run off solar panels during daylight, recharging an EV using renewable energy from the sun.

Charging upsolar PVCharger for electric vehicles

Alright having an electric car or bike, but what happens when it runs out of juice? Where can I recharge its batteries? Well, you'd be surprised at how many charging points there are now in and around Stafford. This is another objective of Go Green!, to provide information about EV charge points, and government grants that are available toward the cost of EVs. For instance, you can get an EV charge point installed at home for FREE under a government scheme to promote EVs. Staffordshire County Council have been working with local companies to encourage the installation of charge points, and many of these can be used by members of the public. More details available on the day.

Pedal power

Do you cycle for pleasure, or to get to work, or are you thinking of taking up cycling? The County Council are bringing along their Bike Bus, which is part of the INTO (Inspiring New Travel Options) project to promote cycling across Stafford. Members of their team will be on hand to offer cycle route information and check-ups for your bike, and answer questions about the INTO project. Want to change your bike, or get one for the first time? Back2Bikes, a local charity that specializes in 'recycling' cycles, may have just the thing for you. As well as pushbikes, both reconditioned and new, they also sell, loan or hire electric bicycles. And, if you sign up to install solar panels through the SACS scheme (see below) you can get great discounts on a range of Back2Bikes items.

Bike busThe Bike Bus helps to promote cycling around Stafford as part of the INTO project run by Staffordshire County Council

People can test their own energy levels by having a go on a pedal power generator, courtesy of Keele University's Sustainability Hub. Also they can try some simple experiments with solar panels, and learn more about the work of the University in its efforts to encourage greater sustainability both on and off the campus.l

Walking for health

It is estimated that nearly 25% of adults are obese, and a further 35% are overweight, and the main reason is that we are simply not taking enough exercise. Why not try walking to burn off some of that excess, or simply to keep in shape? Remember walking? It's the best way to travel whenever you can - it's free, requires no vehicle, is environmentally friendly, and it's healthy. This is the message that the Borough Council's Walking for Health team will be promoting, advertising their activities such as guided Health Walks, encouraging us to get out and about more on two legs instead of four wheels.

Walking at a brisk pace will typically use about 4-5 calories
per minute, and help keep you healthy.

Out and about by bus

Buses are another vital part of our public transport system, and operators are increasingly looking at ways of 'greening' their fleets. One good local example is Bakers Coaches of Stoke on Trent. They use diesel-electric buses on some of their local routes around Stafford, and one of these distinctive yellow-and-blue Bakerbuses will figure prominently in this year's Go Green event. These hybrid vehicles produce less harmful emissions and carbon dioxide in their exhaust gases compared with conventional diesel-engined counterparts. So come along to find out more.

Greener living...and special discounts!

The plea to 'Save energy' is now so familiar that many of us tend to 'switch off'. Is there any more we can do? Well, how about the new generation of super-energy-saving lightbulbs? The latest LED models will be on show as part of the Save Your Energy stand at Go Green!, along with other advice about energy efficiency and renewables. And find out the latest prices for installing solar panels under the Borough-wide discount scheme called Stafford Area Community Solar (SACS). Reductions in the cost of installation still ensure returns on investment of around 10-11% tax free, in spite of cuts in the government's feed-in tariff for solar PV. Installations resulting from a free survey booked at the Go Green! event will qualify for a range of special discounts on bikes from Back2Bikes.

STOP PRESS: Staffordshire Wildlife Trust will be taking part in the Go Green Roadshow. Visitors can learn more about the work of the Trust in helping to conserve the natural environment - the foundation for any truly sustainable community.

Also Solar Boat making with the GetSet team from Rugeley Power Station.