Rugby High School enjoys ‘significantly improved’ illumination from energy saving LED upgrade

The comprehensive LED-based lighting upgrade is expected to deliver annual savings of £12.5K and a return on investment of only 4.5 years.

Increasing instances of lamp failure, a recognition that the quality of the illumination could be better, and a desire to take advantage of energy savings accruing from the latest LED technology informed a recent upgrade at Rugby High School in Warwickshire. The major, site-wide overhaul was undertaken by Energys Group and funded by Utility Rentals’ operational lease scheme.

As the school’s Business Manager, Allan Kerr, explains, “it had been clear for a while that the old lighting was nearing the end of its useful life. Lamps were beginning to fail on a more regular basis, meaning that we were spending more money on replacements and maintenance. In addition, we were working on plans for a new sports hall, and if we had kept with the existing lighting we would have had to increase our electricity supply.”

Having engaged the services of energy efficiency technology specialist Energys Group to advise on the project, it quickly became clear that a comprehensive LED lighting upgrade would both reduce demand on supply and enable substantial energy savings. Consequently, the two parties began work on a lighting overhaul to encompass the main hall, music theatre, classrooms, science labs, gym, sports hall, corridors, staircases, communal areas and the languages block.

‘Dramatic improvement’

The resulting installation draws on LED products from across the Energys Group range, and includes tubes, panels, down-lighters, spotlights, wall-lights, outdoor fittings and flood-lights. Mere weeks after the project was completed – with a minimum of disruption to the operational practices of the school – it was evident to school management and personnel quite how much of an improvement the new systems had delivered.

“For the first few weeks after the deployment staff kept coming up to me to remark upon the new lighting. In particular, the increased standard of illumination in the main hall, gym and science labs was singled out for specific praise,” recalls Kerr.

Whilst the quality of the lighting was immediately apparent, its benefits in terms of energy savings will become more evident over the medium to long-term. As a result of the massive upgrade – which ran to 712 new LED lamps and 575 LED fittings – Energys predicts a return on investment of just 4.5 years. Annual energy savings are expected to total £12.5K and approximately 104,985 kWh’s, with a reduction in CO2 emissions of 55.84 tonnes per year.

Raj Gunasekaran, Business Development Manager at Energys Group, says that “the improvement in lighting conditions across the entire site is very discernible, and of course the energy savings are also going to be very welcome – particularly in the current challenging economic climate for the education sector. But it’s also important to highlight that improved lighting often translates to happier pupils and staff, meaning increased productivity and quality of work.”

‘Brilliant scheme’

However, there is another important element in the mix here and that is the funding provided by Utility Rentals. Having investigated some other schemes but concluded that they were unlikely to deliver the finance in the necessary time-frame, Kerr instead applied to the Utility Rentals operational lease initiative, with Energys Group providing guidance and assistance throughout the process.

As Utility Rentals director Steve Mattey explains, the scheme is fast, guaranteed and “available for any school in the country – no matter what size or establishment type. The rental scheme is cash-positive from day one, with repayments covered by the energy costs saved. The repayments are also fixed and won’t go up year on year, and can even be deferred until 12 months after the lighting has been installed.”

The Rugby High School application was successful, and Kerr reports that he was struck by “how straightforward the process proved to be. I am also pleased with the fact that if any failures occur, replacements will be provided at no cost. It really does take the risk element out of what has been a substantial undertaking.”

Reflecting on the completion of another comprehensive lighting upgrade in the education sector, Gunasekaran says that “the benefits Rugby High School is now experiencing as a result of implementing the latest LED lighting technology are now increasingly commonplace throughout this market. At Energys we are able to support this transition with a comprehensive range of LED solutions, so it’s no surprise that we have many comparable projects on the agenda for the rest of 2017.”

Election 2017 results: Energys analyses the implications for green legislation and low carbon

Election 2017 turned out to be a revelation, with the Conservative majority lost and a new power-brokering tightrope set to dominate Westminster.

In a hung Parliament, what will become of environmental, low carbon priorities? Here’s the opinion breakdown…

Could Brexit soften?

The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) suggests a weak Conservative Government may end up negotiating a softer Brexit.

In its industry update, EIC argues this in turn could make it more likely that UK environmental law post-Brexit will mirror EU law indefinitely (the EU Parliament stated recently that full UK compliance with all EU environmental regulations is a non-negotiable part of any UK/EU trade deal).

So, Election 2017 could increase certainty in some environmental markets. But equally a weak UK government must make an unstable and unpredictable run up to Brexit more likely, which could have serious economic repercussions.

Soft Brexit is likely good for low carbon, but instability and poor economics are not. Hints are it could be a choice between two devils.

DUP influences

Business Green thinks, ‘There will be particular concern amongst green groups about the DUP’s record on environmental issues and climate change.’ Following Conservative losses, a DUP partnership looks to be Theresa May’s only way to try and govern.

At the time of reporting, no alternative had been offered for a Labour-led coalition. Corbyn has offered to form a government, but Liberal Democrats are saying coalition isn’t on the cards.

Business Green notes the DUP manifesto does call for, ‘A secure and sustainable energy supply for both domestic and business customers.’

But it makes little or no mention of renewables, energy efficiency, or climate policy. “The perception of the DUP is not a pretty one for renewables and climate change,” an industry source told Business Green.

“Their manifesto is one we’ve been looking at for a while, it is not openly hostile, but also not particularly big on renewables, although there is a big focus on reducing manufacturing costs.”

Business Green also observes that industry hopes a hung Parliament may provide an opportunity for a cross bench informal coalition on climate and energy issues. “There is alignment on climate and energy issues across major party manifestos,” their source continued.

“The electorate is clearly divided, and not along party lines, so it’s really important that we all grow up and all work together on certain issues, and the green economy is one of those.”

Energy plans

Conservative energy reforms, proposed in their manifesto, could now be out to pasture; they may lack the votes, DUP or otherwise, to get them through. The new pot for industrial energy efficiency could also be threatened.

Overall; ‘Britain’s green policy is now at a standstill, and sustainability professionals will be concerned that this could cause a further delay to the release of some major proposed environmental legislation, such as the Clean Growth Plan and the 25-Year Environment Plan,’ writes EDIE.

But, ‘On the plus side, the Conservatives’ loss of seats will mean the party can be more closely held to account over the level of ambition when it comes to key environmental legislation.’

Election 2017 tears up the rule book

In every sense, the political floodgates are now open.

Paddy Ashdown has tweeted; ‘If this election was about Brexit, then must we not conclude that Britain has rejected Mrs May’s hard Brexit?’

That softening could be welcomed by some groups. DesmogUK argues; ‘As things move forward, it’s looking like it will be a lot harder for significant environmental deregulation to take place without a fight. Meaning staying strong on environmental policies could be an easy win for the opposing parties.’

This illustrates the fascinating balance of tit for tat and real world policy-making that is today’s politics. Jonathan Bartley, The Green Party co-leader, spots more dichotomies, noting; ‘The Green Party got nearly twice the votes of climate-denying DUP, who may now have a hand in Government.’

Of late, politics truly has become a strange brew. All that’s guaranteed is low carbon must fight for progressive, disruptive energy and environment policy to maintain high billing in the new Westminster.

That in itself is nothing unusual. But the unexpected circumstances of the coming battle have shocked everyone.

The Energys explainer: How can boiler optimisation improve your efficiency and bottom line?

Increasing the efficiency of existing boiler systems through intelligent controls is a simple and cost-effective way that organisations can save energy, with minimal disruption to operations.

Energys has created a simple explainer, to help you understand the benefits of boiler optimisation and, in so doing, open up valuable cost saving opportunities for your business.

Boiler optimision: The basics

What is it?

In simple terms, boiler optimisers adapt your existing boiler systems to improve the efficiency, without unduly affecting the temperature of your building.

How does it work?

Intelligent boiler controls reduce the number of times a boiler ‘cycles’. This, in turn, reduces the overall ‘burn’ time. By reducing the number of times a boiler fires up, it is possible to reduce the wasted oil or gas due to incomplete burn at start up.

Because intelligent boiler controls simply eliminate a source of energy waste, the temperature of the building is not affected.

Who would benefit?

Intelligent boiler controls are best suited to boilers that are:

  • Floor-standing
  • 50kW or above
  • Gas or oil-fired

This includes:

  • Forced draught burner boilers up to 2MW
  • Two-stage firing boilers (HiLo)

Whether you’re liable under the Carbon Reduction Commitment, aiming to improve your Display Energy Certificate, or racing to meet CO2 targets, boiler controls can help you to reduce your carbon impact. And in all circumstances, burning less fuel saves you money.

Need I worry about installation and disruption?

This is a technology that is fast and simple to implement. Hyde Park Junior and Infant Schools in Plymouth were equipped with four Energys Dynamic Burner Management Units in just a single half day of work.

“There was also the fact that the work could be undertaken while the boilers were live, so there was no need to take them offline for a period,” notes School Bursar Stella Copping. “The result was an installation that entailed no disruption in the short term, but which promises to deliver substantial benefits for our schools over the long run.”

Energys Group can deliver full ‘turnkey’ solutions covering installation, maintenance, monitoring and support, including supply and installation as a single package. In addition, we offer a 5 year warranty on both the product and installation.

What are my funding options?

Public sector

Energy efficiency funding, like the Salix scheme, is available to help increase the efficiency of existing boilers. Energys offers a public sector leasing scheme in partnership with Utility Rentals which requires no upfront capital outlay.

Private sector

The Energys Pay to Save scheme is a new offering from Energys Group, where your energy savings fund the project.

It is designed to help you avoid any need for capital investment and enables you to accelerate your path to a lower carbon footprint. Each agreement is individually negotiated with you and allows for a degree of tailoring to meet your organisation’s particular needs.

The final word on payback

The upward trend of fuel prices is likely to continue, but improving the efficiency of your boiler can secure ongoing savings on your fuel bills. As a result, payback on intelligent boiler controls is normally achieved in less than two years.

Energys boiler optimisation case studies

Organisations of different sectors and sizes are reaping the benefits of boiler optimisation technology. Testament to this success are our case studies, which illustrate the true opportunities real world installation provides.

Hyde Park Junior and Infant Schools

Through a leasing arrangement with Utility Rentals, for Energys Dynamic Burner Management Units, this school has achieved annual energy savings of 15%, some 9.45 tonnes of CO2 saving, with a 2.5 year payback.

Avon & Somerset Constabulary

The Avon & Somerset Constabulary has made impressive savings in gas consumption across 10 of its locations, thanks to patented boiler optimisation technology from Energys.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary is achieving annual savings in gas of 14-25%, averaging 18.8% across 10 sites where the units have been installed. Another huge benefit is that the system offers a remote access function, ensuring immediate and comprehensive visibility with regard to gas consumption and savings.

To find out how boiler optimisation could work for your organisation, contact us for a free, no obligation site survey.

Election 2017: What are the main parties promising on energy efficiency, low carbon and environment?

June’s vote offers an opportunity for the Conservatives and Labour to fundamentally develop and support low carbon, energy efficient UK business. What choices are corporate leaders being offered at Election 2017? Here’s the Energys Group lowdown on what both of the main parties are promising.

The Conservative manifesto

On energy and efficiency…

Theresa May’s manifesto ambition is that the UK should have the lowest energy costs in Europe, both for households and businesses. ‘As we upgrade our energy infrastructure, we will do it in an affordable way, consistent with that ambition,’ reads the Tory agenda.

‘And because for British companies, an energy efficient business is a more competitive business, we will establish an industrial energy efficiency scheme to help large companies install measures to cut their energy use and their bills.

‘After we have left the European Union, we will form our energy policy based not on the way energy is generated but on the ends we desire – reliable and affordable energy, seizing the industrial opportunity that new technology presents and meeting our global commitments on climate change.’

The Conservatives also want a wide range of sources for Britain’s energy production, saying, ‘A diverse energy economy is the best way to stimulate innovation.’

Low carbon…

Isn’t mentioned in the Conservative manifesto.

Sustainability…

Doesn’t gain a mention in an environmental context, though NHS Sustainability and Transformation plans are noted, along with the long term sustainability of the Scottish economy.

The Labour manifesto

On energy and efficiency…

Page 20 of the Labour manifesto is entitled ‘Sustainable energy.’ It says Labour policy seeks:

To ensure security of energy supply and ‘keep the lights on.’
To ensure energy costs are affordable for consumers and businesses.
To ensure we meet our climate change targets and transition to a ‘low-carbon economy,’ a phrase the Conservatives don’t mention.

According to Labour, today’s energy system is outdated, expensive and polluting. The party wants to, ‘Take energy back into public ownership to deliver renewable energy, affordability for consumers, and democratic control.’

Energy efficiency doesn’t gain a mention in the Labour manifesto.

Sustainability

This is mentioned in the context of the NHS, but not the environment. Labour does say it is committed to ensuring environmental sustainability in the operations of British businesses around the world.

What does it all actually mean?

EDIE writes; ‘The official Labour Party manifesto has been broadly praised by green groups for including a raft of bold pledges to ramp up renewable energy generation, tackle air quality and embed the Sustainable Development Goals into central government.’

On the Conservative document, Environment Analyst writes: ‘The manifesto, and its pledge to, “leave the UK’s environment in a better shape than it was found,” is almost completely devoid of commitments or ambition to continually improve the UK’s natural environment.’

Describing the environment as ‘found’ is an interesting choice of words, normally used to describe policies inherited from an opposition. This hints Theresa May wants this election to separate her position and policy from the previous Tory administration.

EDIE says: ‘The Conservatives have pledged to maintain the UK’s climate change commitments through enhanced clean technology and energy efficiency funding, but the Party’s manifesto also proposes continued support for the North Sea oil and gas industry and an additional focus on fracking.’

Reading between the lines

On balance, Labour’s manifesto gives environment more space than that of the Conservatives. Then again, the Tory’s paper contains promises, although uncosted, on energy efficiency, and hints that an energy efficient private sector is a priority – which is a very welcome move if it materialises.

For a party sitting in power, who chose an election, the decision to release a manifesto without any detailed costings, given that such figures should easily be to hand, is strange.

It could reflect a certainty that victory is around the corner. Either way, by failing to monetise her promises, Theresa May is asking the corporate electorate to take her on trust.

Her promise on energy efficiency, for example, could be crucial. But it contains no detail on the level of financial support it will offer. More stringent numbers would have done much to further her cause in the low carbon sector.

Polling and the race to the post

Recent polls put the Conservatives ahead. If they triumph at the ballot box, the low carbon sector will have to wait and see what true costings on green policy emerge.

Either way, unfortunately, environment and low carbon remain low priorities across the UK political landscape and until these topics become vote winners (or losers) they will remain well down the agenda.

The Conservative manifesto: click here

The Labour manifesto: click here 

New report says energy efficiency is not just needed; it’s essential

A new report from the Royal Academy of Engineering says, ‘Improving energy efficiency and resource productivity needs to be a priority.’ The paper definitively reveals just how key efficiency is for a resilient, effective UK.

The report, a collaboration of 38 organisations, forms the engineering profession’s collective response to the government’s green paper on industrial strategy. It has benefited from an unprecedented level of engagement by the engineering community; vital to creating its meaningful, focused lobbying position on efficiency.

Describing the paper, the Energyst writes that, ‘The UK’s main engineering bodies have urged government to provide energy efficiency payments or tax breaks to businesses, communities and households that can demonstrate proven reductions in demand.

‘The engineers also urged government to give teeth to existing energy efficiency regulations. Focusing on energy efficiency and productivity will be the cheapest way of decarbonising the economy and increasing UK competitiveness.’

Energy efficiency’s vital role; the Royal Academy paper in depth

The Academy is unequivocal; energy efficiency is essential, and it’s needed sooner rather than later.

It writes; ‘Energy efficiency is often overlooked, but a unit of energy saved is usually much cheaper than all production options. Reducing demand has a double benefit: it benefits the user by reducing their costs and it benefits the system by reducing the amount of generation required.’

The Academy argues that incentives and regulation should go hand-in hand with reporting against energy efficiency benchmarks of performance standards, which many in the professional engineering community would view as a reasonable requirement.

Plenty in the wider sector agree. “Improving energy efficiency and resource productivity needs to be a priority, particularly in buildings, and a systems-thinking approach is required to deliver this in all sectors,” Ant Wilson, Director and AECOM Fellow, Sustainability and Advanced Design Building Engineering, told The Academy.

What comes next?

“Papers like these go a long way towards proving what we at Energys know; how vital energy efficiency is to a resilient and productive UK,” says Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys.

“Here, we are keen to work with all stakeholders, including the government, to establish and deliver the best systems for promoting efficient growth and sustainable UK businesses.”

The Academy’s paper concludes that in order to achieve the goal of secure, stable and affordable energy supply, the government needs to base its policymaking around multi-vector, system-wide solutions that build on end-use energy efficiency measures.

Such work could do much to put the UK on the path to the overarching sustainability so badly needed, not only for business profit, but for CO2 remediation and more secure, longer term power.

“As such, papers like these are essential to helping raise the level of the debate, in advance of the energy efficient futures we all predict will soon be here,” concludes Cox.