How to use the Community Energy Hub

This page provides a basic guide on how to use the Community Energy Hub. In particular, it explains:

How to use the Hub to find information about Community Energy

The Community Energy Hub aims to help you find high quality information and resources for community energy projects anywhere on the web. You can find information by clicking the magnifying glass at the top right of the homepage (Search) and typing your subject into the dialogue box, or by going to the “Resources” area of the Hub using the button in the top navigation.

The Resources area of the Hub is organised around a series of headings which broadly follow the journey that community energy projects follow, from “Getting Started” through planning and financing to legal agreements. There is also a section on “Research and evidence” where you will find information on the impact of community energy. These category headings are listed across the middle of the page in the “Resources” section.

Individual resources can take a range of forms, from documents to download, links to visit or videos to watch. Once you are signed in, you are able to comment on each resource, ask questions, make suggestions to update it, and rate the resource (1-5 stars).

Tip: If you are looking for information on a particular technology or approach (e.g. solar PV or volunteer energy advice), try the “Choosing and planning a project” section. Here you will find sections on energy efficiency projects, the different renewable energy technologies and energy management.

How to use the Hub to find Community Energy groups or projects

If you want to find a project or organisation in a particular location or with a particular subject, you can use the Search function at the top right of the page (magnifying glass).

On the projects page, there is also a **projects map **you can use as a quick reference for what projects are active in your area. In future we will develop the site to provide new ways to find (and suggest) the projects and organisations you are interested in.

How to use the Hub to communicate your work

The Community Energy Hub has been designed with a suite of social networking tools to help you and the community energy sector as a whole to communicate. The networking functions of the site are intended to appear simple and familiar, however they can be used in many ways.

Examples of how to use the site to support your work include:

  • Find and exchange information with other groups and projects sharing the same aims and challenges as you.
  • Ask for help from other users.
  • Identify your organisation or projects to potential partners (including local authorities, private sector and government).
  • Demonstrate popular support for your organisation or projects.
  • Disseminate reports, research or information on events.
  • Demonstrate the scope and scale of community energy activity to government and industry.
  • Find out the latest news from other community groups across the country.
  • The information below shows how you can use the site’s functions to do these things and more.

    If you find new ways to use the Hub to support your work, please contact us at hub@communityenergyengland.org so that we may share this with others.

    Your profile

    Click the “Register” button at the top right of the homepage to set up a profile for yourself on the site. This can be your "Personal" profile (in your name) or an "Organisational" profile (see below) and will enable you to post comments and rate resources on the site. You will also be able to post information about yourself (such as interests and experience) and put up a picture. This can be any image but using a photo on your personal profile can help people you have met online to find you at conferences and meetings.

    Your organisation’s profile: as well as your personal profile, you are able to set up an organisational profile for your group. This will enable you to maintain your own personal profile alongside a separate one for your group or organisation. When you make comments, you can then be clear whether they are personal views or on behalf of your organisation, depending which profile you use.

    Having your own or organisational profile will also enable you to join other people’s projects if you are interested in participating, supporting or being kept up to date.

    Projects – Promoting your work

    Once you have a profile, you will also be able to set up “Projects”. These can be an online information page for an actual project you are involved with (such as a community PV installation or an energy efficiency initiative) or could be a discussion group about issues that are important to you (see below for details).

    You can set up a “Project” for each of your community energy activities (e.g. a community wind turbine project, or an energy advice project). This will identify them separately on the Projects map and enable people to find information about each of your projects by using the site search. If your group has multiple projects, we would suggest you set up the project page using an "Organisational profile" (see above). If you would like to see your project included in one of the themed networks, please contact hub@communityenergyengland.org.

    People will be able to “join” your project to show their support or stay updated with the latest news & discussion. They will also be able to add comments (including images and video) at the bottom of the page.

    As a project administrator, you can add further detail to the project page (e.g. a link to your website), upload resources (such as reports or blogs) and add regular updates. Try to keep the initial introductory text short, and feel free to add a video or image if it helps to explain the project.

    “Projects” are more visible than “Profiles” on the site, so if you are keen to let people know what your organisation stands for, your aims and who you are, you may want to set up a “Project page” for your organisation as well as a profile. You can then use the "Project page" on the Hub to demonstrate support for your work as people join it. You can also use it to help search for partners or disseminate findings.

    Should I set my group up with an "organisation profile" or a project page?

    Projects - starting a conversation

    You can also set up a “Project” if you would like to share information, start a discussion or ask for help. For example, you might want to set up a project called "How to get people interested in energy", “Recommendations for energy advice tools” or “Abstraction Licenses for hydropower”. You can make these projects open access so that anyone who is interested, has the same problem or has experience to share can join in the discussion. It's best to be as specific as possible when you are setting up a “project”, to keep the discussion focused and avoid it becoming too broad. Always remember to search the projects first to check that someone else hasn’t already set up the same discussion.

    Events

    The hub is a great place to promote your Community Energy events. Once you have signed up, you can add events. You can link to external sites such as Eventbrite or you can allow Hub members to display if they are attending your event. The map function allows you to clearly show where your event is, just make sure you are very specific with the venue details. By only putting a city, the map will pick a central location and could cause confusion to guests. Community Energy England administrate the site and will remove any events that are not Community Energy related.