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.


What you need to know about the new Salix Energy Efficiency Fund for academies and sixth forms

This year Salix has launched a new fund that aims to support energy efficiency projects in multi-academy trusts (MATs) and sixth form colleges (SFC).

The new Salix Energy Efficiency Fund (SEEF) is designed to support numerous energy efficiency upgrades including LED upgrades and boiler control installations.  Here we answer your questions on SEEF and the results you can achieve with the support of the new Salix funding scheme.

What is the funding for?

The Salix Energy Efficiency Fund focuses on supporting academy and sixth form energy efficiency projects that need capital to invest to save but may not meet the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF) criteria.

Who is eligible for funding?

SEEF funding is available for all academies including multi-academy trusts (MATs) and sixth form colleges (SFCs).

What energy efficient projects does SEEF support?

Numerous energy efficiency projects can be carried out under SEEF including LED lighting upgrades, heating control installations and boiler and heating system upgrades.  See here for a full list of eligible technologies. Energys Group offers a number of energy saving technologies which are eligible for SEEF funding.

What’s the payback period?

Projects must pay for themselves within 8 years through annual energy savings. If the project doesn’t meet the 8 year payback target, capital can be put towards paying back SEEF.

Where can I apply?

Application forms for SEEF can be found here. All completed applications will need to be emailed to

Suppliers are permitted to complete and submit Salix applications on behalf of clients; Energys Group has helped numerous schools and academies with this process. Contact us for advice.

What is the deadline for applying?

Applications for the Salix Energy Efficiency Fund can be submitted from October 2016. The deadline for applications is 3pm on Friday 13th January 2017.

What are the benefits of a SEEF funded energy efficiency upgrade?

Looking for real-life examples of what can be achieved through Salix funding? Energys has helped many schools and colleges save money and improve learning conditions with Salix-funded upgrades. One of our clients, Hackney Community College, is saving 320 tonnes of CO2 a year through the instalment of Energys LED lighting and boiler optimisation technologies.

Salix funding has also helped Harry Gosling School achieve £7K annual energy savings with an LED lighting upgrade from Energys. For more inspiration read our education case studies page.

Looking for advice on how to save energy in schools? Contact us and ask for a free site survey.  

Smart tech vital for UK’s growth, say 95% of business leaders

A majority (95%) of big business leaders consider smart technology to be important for the UK’s economic growth.

More than 500 British senior decision-makers have overwhelmingly said they support the digital upgrade of Britain’s energy system, according to a survey from Smart Energy GB.

Around 83% believe Britain’s energy system needs a digital upgrade, with similar numbers believing the smart meter rollout is important for the British economy.

Millions of digital smart meters are currently being installed in homes and small businesses across the country, enabling better management of energy supply and demand. It is expected the new meters will underpin greater integration of smart technology across the country.

Nearly seven out of 10 are considering the technology in their own business strategies.

Just under 90% of respondents said they would like to see government put together a plan for Britain to maximise the economic potential of smart meters, smart meters data and smart technologies.

Around 94% of the people that believe this also said it should be developed hand-in-hand with businesses.

Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive of Smart Energy GB said: “Smart meters are transforming the way consumers are buying and using energy. They’re the vital building blocks of a digital energy system. This research shows that business leaders across the country recognise the incredible opportunities that are being created by the smart meter rollout and the transformation it brings to our energy system.”

For more information about the role of smart technology see here

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.