Cash-positive lease package delivers energy efficient LED lighting upgrade to Theresa May’s former school

A risk-free operational lease has allowed the Oxfordshire state secondary school to install the latest LED lighting technology with no upfront costs, delivering £8.5k annual savings.

The number of schools across the UK deciding to make the journey from traditional lighting to the latest LED-based systems is increasing all the time – thanks in no small part to the availability of innovative financing schemes that make it possible to cope with the investment expenses over an extended period of time.

Occupying the site of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s former school, Wheatley Park School in Oxfordshire is one such institution, having recently utilised a leasing scheme operated by lighting specialist Energys Group and Utility Rentals to undertake a comprehensive lighting upgrade.

The school is no stranger to the benefits of energy efficient lighting, having engaged Energys Group five years ago to undertake the successful retrofit conversion of fluorescent T8 tubes to energy-efficient T5s. With the T5 adapters coming to the end of their life, Energys proposed an LED upgrade using the latest technology from New Vision, that would bring significant benefits in terms of energy consumption and lighting quality.

Unique funding option

It was Raj Gunasekaran, Business Development Manager at Energys Group, who first suggested to Wheatley Park Senior Site Manager David Jones and School Business Manager Kevin Heritage that they might wish to explore the opportunities presented by a unique lease package funded by Utility Rentals. The scheme enables schools to upgrade their lighting to energy efficient LED with no upfront cost.

By contrast to some other available funding schemes, the Utility Rentals scheme is “fast and guaranteed and is 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,” says Utility Rentals director Steve Mattey, who highlights the scheme’s compliance with the Academies Financial Handbook.

‘Extremely happy’

 For Kevin Heritage, the business case for the lease package was a ‘no brainer’ and helped the project to get approved by governors. “There is no upfront investment capital needed and the repayments are covered by the money we will save on energy. All of the lighting is fully maintained for the duration of the lease, so there will be no surprises.”

Encompassing both indoor and outdoor areas, the installation resulted in new LED lighting being brought to classrooms, offices, science labs, workshops, common areas, science labs and the drama block, among other spaces.

Remarkably, the fit-out was completed in just over one week, but its benefits are set to be long-lasting indeed. With annual energy savings expected to be £8.5k, and maintenance costs reduced by £4k, the project’s Return on Investment is predicted to less than 3 and a half years.

Enhanced learning environment

The school is evidently delighted by the results of the project. “The lighting is now 30% more efficient and it has actually been possible to reduce the amount of lighting as the output is so much brighter – so there’s a further notable saving to be taken into account,” David Jones observes. “The funding scheme’s five-year repayment terms allow us to meet the costs in a reasonable way that complements the long-term budgeting of the school.”

Kevin Heritage adds that teaching staff have commented positively on the upgrade. “A number of studies demonstrate the importance of good lighting for student performance, and for us it stands to reason that the excellent illumination levels, pleasant daylight colour and uniformity of the new lighting has improved the learning environment.”

Final word goes to Raj Gunasekaran, who helped plant the seed of the entire project in the minds of the school staff. “The Energys/Utility Rentals scheme has brought obvious and immediate advantages to Wheatley Park, which is terrific news,” he says. “With many other projects currently in progress funded by the scheme, numerous other schools are set to experience similar benefits from new LED lighting fit-outs in the months and years ahead.”

Looking for more information on lighting efficiency for schools? Don’t hesitate to contact us here for help and advice on energy saving ideas and how you can upgrade your school lighting.


Energys LED upgrade set to deliver £7K annual savings for Harry Gosling Primary School

The East London primary school has undergone an entire LED lighting upgrade with Energys Group products, in a project that is expected to achieve return of investment (ROI) in just four years.

Given their often stringent financial and operating circumstances, it is to be expected that schools and colleges of higher education have been among the most enthusiastic adopters of energy-efficient lighting technology. Located in Tower Hamlets in the east of London, Harry Gosling Primary School is a case-in-point, having recently instigated an LED upgrade centred around solutions from Energys.

Constructed more than 100 years ago, the school buildings have been the subject of a number of improvements during recent times intended to enhance their efficiency. Most recently of all, School Premises Manager James Doherty took steps to replace legacy fluorescent lighting that was aesthetically displeasing and inconsistent in terms of light distribution. There was also a clear mandate to reduce expenditure on lighting-related energy and maintenance.

Salix funding

A previous positive experience of Energys during a project that saw the energy efficiency specialist provide boiler optimisation for two units (and achieve a 26% saving!) meant that the company was regarded as a natural choice when the subject of a lighting upgrade came up for discussion. In addition to advising on and supplying appropriate LED lighting solutions, Energys was able to support the school through the process of applying for funding from Salix Finance, which delivers 100% interest-free capital to the public sector to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Doherty observes that “because of the Salix funding the school is essentially not incurring any additional costs for the project since repayments can be made from the energy savings”. Clearly, that is another significant reason for the project to have won the support of the school’s management and finance departments.

Radical upgrade

So extensive is the upgrade – which covers all existing lights – that Doherty believes it may make Harry Gosling Primary one of very few schools in the country to have undertaken a complete LED upgrade. Encompassing classrooms, corridors, offices, staircases, ICT rooms, the main hall, offices and common areas, the indoor-only project saw Energys provide a wealth of solutions from its extensive range. LED panels, downlighters, wall-lights, 2D LED lamps, tubes, LED emergency bulkheads and PIR sensors were among the items specified by the Energys team.

Doherty is full of praise for the installers, who he describes as being “very efficient and highly considerate. They undertook the work during the holidays and it really felt like they had become part of our staff – the whole process was so seamless. The fit-out took six weeks, meaning that everything was done and dusted in time for the new term to begin.”

In terms of the end-result, there is no doubt that a dramatic improvement in terms of the overall lighting quality has been achieved. “Light is now a lovely daylight colour and is uniformly diffused, while there are no issues with glare; Energys products having been designed with a very specific focus on reducing glare. There has also been an enhancement of the school’s aesthetics since the new fittings are much more attractive than the old fluorescents.”

Prior to the upgrade lights were failing on a frequent basis, but the long lifecycle of Energys products is expected to lead to a substantial reduction in time and money spent on maintenance. Meanwhile, the Energys products’ five-year guarantee means that if there are any failures the company will come and replace them anyway.

The school’s Display Energy Certificate rating may also improve as the result of a project that cost £29.5K and is estimated to achieve annual savings in the region of £7K. Return on investment is predicted to be as little as four years – a remarkable result given the all-encompassing nature of the upgrade.

Spread the word

The easier disposal process associated with LEDs is another benefit earmarked by Doherty, who says that he is “thrilled by the results of the upgrade. It pains me that there are so many other schools around the country putting up with bad lighting that is wasting energy and also impacting negatively on the learning experience. Evidence about the positive benefits of LEDs for education is increasing all the time. In the future, I would love to show other schools around to help showcase the advantages of the latest LED lighting.”

Raj Gunasekaran, Business Development Manager for Energys, comments: “We are delighted that Harry Gosling Primary School is experiencing such a dramatic improvement in its lighting quality as a result of this upgrade, and believe that the project will be a valuable one in spreading the word to other schools and colleges of higher education about why now is the time to move across to LED.”

Looking for energy saving ideas for schools? Visit our education pages for inspiration and advice, or contact us here.

Energy efficiency funding announced for Wales public sector

Salix has announced a second round of funding for the new Wales Funding Programme, which combines two previous schemes into one application process.

The scheme is for Welsh public sector organisations, and projects delivering either energy efficiency, renewable energy or resource efficiency are eligible.

The closing date for applications is 5th October 2016.

Energys Group’s proven technologies have been used successfully in dozens of Salix-funded public sector projects. We can support you every step of the way, including helping you to fill in the Salix application forms, making it a completely hassle-free process.

We recently helped Hackney Community college save 320 tonnes of CO2 a year thanks to a major energy efficiency project funded by Salix.

Considering applying for Salix funding? Contact us for advice.

The Energys Guide: Frequently asked questions about LED lighting for schools

At Energys Group, we have helped hundreds of schools save money and reduce their carbon footprint by upgrading their old, inefficient lighting to the latest energy saving solutions.

For schools considering making the switch to LED lighting, here is our guide to the most frequently asked questions.

Understanding LEDs

1. LEDs are more expensive than traditional lighting – are they worth it?

Yes. LEDs consume far less energy (saving up to 70% on energy use) meaning that payback can be achieved in a much shorter amount of time than fluorescent or incandescent lighting – typically less than 3 years.

LEDs also have a much longer life expectancy than traditional fluorescent or incandescent lighting even when compared to the latest T5 technology. LEDs can last up to 10 times longer than traditional options.

2. Are all LEDs the same? Shouldn’t I just go with the cheapest quote?

Not all LEDS on the market are the same – there are a lot of suppliers out there providing differing quality LEDs over a broad pricing range.

This vast range of products makes selecting the correct product for your application very difficult. Without the correct product the result may be that you don’t get the outcome you should be getting in terms of light output, quality, colour or lamp life.

As an LED manufacturer, our LED products offer high quality as standard, with low glare, even light distribution, excellent colour and over 50,000 hours life expectancy, all backed with our 5 year product guarantee.

3. Will LED lighting reduce my maintenance costs?

The long life of LED fixtures (50,000 hours) also massively reduces the costs and disruption associated with maintenance – making them even more cost-efficient.

4. Don’t LED lights give off a cold colour?

Not necessarily. In fact, LEDs offer a whole range of colour options to suit your space – be it warm white, daylight, or a cooler tone. Our team has a lot of experience working with schools and can advise you on the best ‘colour temperature’ for your application – whether it’s a classroom, office or sports hall.

5. Don’t LEDs cause more glare than traditional lighting?

While poorer quality LEDs can cause glare, our products have been designed specifically to address this issue. Our LED solutions for schools keep glare to an absolute minimum, particularly important in areas with high glare potential such as sports halls and ICT rooms.

6. LEDs are coming down in price – is it worth me waiting a few more years?

The price of LEDs has reduced considerably over the last few years to the point we are now. Only small further reductions and/or technology upgrades are currently being introduced as the technology becomes more and more mature.

It’s also important to factor in the ‘cost of inaction’ while you wait. Installing LEDs now will start to deliver energy savings straight away, whereas as you wait your less efficient lighting is costing you money.

We typically see investment in school LED upgrades pay for themselves in less than 3 years.

7. I’ve heard that LEDs aren’t bright enough – is that true?

No – we use our industry experience to ensure that the replacement LED product specified will provide superior lighting output, performance and uniformity to your existing lighting while still providing the maximum energy savings.

8. Are the LED fittings direct replacements for the existing lighting?

Yes – we use direct replacements both in terms of lighting performance and form & fit.
This ensures that minimal disruption is caused during the installation.

LED Lighting for schools: choosing the right supplier

1. Have your staff been DBS-checked?

Yes, our installation staff will have already undergone DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks – so they can get on with the job straight away.

2. Do you have experience in providing lighting to schools?

Yes, we have extensive experience in the schools/education sector. Read our case studies online and read our book of education sector press coverage.

3. How do I know that you are going to be around for the full warranty period?

Energys Group has a solid reputation within the schools sector; since our company was founded 10 years ago we have helped hundreds of schools reduce their energy bills with energy efficient technologies. We would be happy to provide you with references; read our case studies for testimonials.

Funding for LED lighting upgrades

1. You offer a leasing arrangement option to finance the lighting upgrade – how does it work?

We offer a lease package in partnership with Utility Rentals, which enables schools to press on with their lighting projects now, with no upfront capital required. Rentals can be structured over a 3 or 5 year period, depending on what suits your school the most. And all installation and ongoing maintenance charges can also be spread over the rental.

The lease package includes a 5 year parts warranty as standard so you have comfort in knowing that if so much as a light bulb fails within that period, your school will not have to pay a penny to replace it.

Flexible payment profiles are available – payments can be made annually or quarterly and can be structured to match your school’s budget.

2. What are the benefits of a leasing arrangement, rather than paying for the lighting upfront?

  • There is no upfront capital outlay required.
  • You pay as you save – in most cases, the savings on electricity bills will outweigh the lease cost.
  • Your revenue budget can be used, freeing up your capital budget for other uses within the school.
  • Payments are fixed for the term of the lease, offering protection against inflation.
  • The operating lease is designed for the education sector and compliant with IAS17.
  • At the end of your rental agreement, you can upgrade your lighting again, to the latest technology: and seamlessly continue paying the same annual/quarterly fee out of your revenue budget.

Do you have a school lighting question that we didn’t answer? For help and advice on upgrading your school lighting, contact us.