The Carbon Co-op began as an URBED Co-op initiative, managed by Jonathan Atkinson of Low Winter Sun, aimed at setting up bulk buying co-operatives to help make low carbon technologies more affordable and simpler for people to buy: Clubbing together as streets and communities people will be able to buy energy saving goods at a discount, everything from energy monitors to solar panels, helping them save money on energy bills and do their bit for the environment.
Kindling ran a series of carbon budgeting workshops in homes and streets around South Manchester in 2009, which was further developed by a longer-term pilot project in Moss Side in 2010. As part of the Moss Side project we produced the 'Carbon Coop Manual' . The groups were orgaised via social networks, with the Co-op targeting groups of friends and neighbours to help them work out what they are spending on energy in their homes and how they might reduce that figure. The Co-op also talked neighbours through ways they might work together to instigate larger projects such as community-owned solar panels or Combined Heat & Power units.
The Carbon Coop was finally formally registered a registered as a Community Benefit Society in July 2011 after our inaugural members meeting at which around 50 founding members participated.
Most recenty the focus has been on developing the 'Carbon Saving Society' as a way of generating money for investment in renewable technology (such as solar panels) which is currently we supported by government subsidies. In addition to paying a reasonable rate of return to members of the investment coop, the subsidies will enable us to finance meaures which achieve far greater carbon reductions through the retro-fitting of existing buildings.
See Carbon Coop website for more info.