- British Science Festival starts this week in Coventry
- How do we heat our homes in a fossil fuel-free future? Coventry and Warwickshire residents invited to join The Future of Heat debate
- Hundreds of free events for the public at the British Science Festival
Robots, pocket doctors and zero emission cars are just some of the life-changing technologies being showcased at this week’s British Science Festival in Coventry. But city residents and their Warwickshire neighbours are being urged to join a debate on another crucial area of our lives that is set to radically change – how we will stay warm in a future without fossil fuels.
82% of Coventry residents and 77% of Warwickshire households use gas central heating to heat their homes, with others using coal, wood and oil, while 14.7% of households in Coventry are believed to be in fuel poverty – one of the highest in the country.
‘The future of heat’
debate – a free event open to the public - is being held on Wednesday (11 September) at Warwick University as part of the British Science Festival. A panel of guests will be discussing how Britain can heat its homes and workplaces as we move towards a net zero emissions future.
Award-winning architect and broadcaster Piers Taylor, of BBC Two’s ‘The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes’ and ‘The House a £100K Built’, will be joined by Kate Algate of Coventry Citizens Advice, and Chief Safety and Strategy Officer Ed Syson of Coventry-based gas network company Cadent.
The event is free but booking is advisable. Tickets can be booked at: https://britishsciencefestival.org/event/the-future-of-heat/
“Moving towards net zero emissions will change what we eat, how we travel and, not least, how we heat our homes and workplaces,” said Mr Syson.
“Nearly all of us use fossil fuels for heat but if we are to avert catastrophic climate change we have to find low carbon alternatives. At the same time we need to tackle this challenge in a way that is affordable for all, particularly for those already struggling under the burden of fuel poverty.
“We’ll be exploring alternative technologies, such as hydrogen, and looking at issues around cost, affordability and practicality. Change could be on its way sooner than we think so we’re urging people to come and find out what the not-so-distant future holds for them and their families.”
Kate Algate of Coventry Citizens Advice commented: “A warm home is vital to our health and well-being but leading scientists have made it clear that we need to act fast if we are to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change. As a society we need to consider how we can help and support people to change their behaviours at the speed and scale required.
“Testing and developing the technology we use to generate our energy isn’t cheap so we need to ensure that consumers are protected from shouldering unaffordable costs, especially those one-in-ten households living in fuel poverty.”
Cadent is one of the principal sponsors of the British Science Festival, which runs from 10 – 13 September at the University of Warwick and venues across Coventry.
The festival brings together the public with the UK’s top scientists and speakers. It will feature more than 100 public talks, discussions and exhibitions
covering topics as varied as space, robotics, mental health, the future of energy, genetics, climate change, food poverty and smart cities – all absolutely free to the public.
Kate Jones, Director of Cadent’s West Midlands Network, said: “As an energy company, science and engineering form the bedrock of what we do. We are excited to be involved in a festival that will capture people’s imaginations and, we hope, inspire a new generation to study and pursue careers in science, technology and engineering. Find out how we are getting involved on our webpage: cadentgas/bsf19.
"Our region has so much to offer in terms of its expertise in cutting edge science and technology, so it is fantastic to see that this year’s events have been curated to highlight the region’s strength in digital technologies, smart cities and the future of energy and healthcare.”
Holbrooks-based Cadent will be running a number of events across the festival, including educational sessions
for visiting sixth formers on the potential for hydrogen as a low-carbon alternative for heating and transport. In addition to ‘The future of heat’
debate, the company is inviting the public to join it at Warwick University’s Dome on Wednesday (11 September), from 11am – 6pm, to discuss green alternatives to fossil fuels.
Highlights from the Festival include a ‘Festival carpool’, immersive music performances, a FarGo Village takeover and events featuring Konnie Huq, Jack Monroe, Alice Roberts, Claudia Hammond and the BBC’s The Sky at Night – to name a few.
Local residents are able to book to attend the Festival’s events, by visiting the website: www.britishsciencefestival.org
The Festival will be followed by a Family Day
on the University of Warwick campus on Saturday 14 September.