Act now: Applications for Salix HE ‘Revolving Green Fund’ close in October 2017

In the Higher Eduction (HE) sector, energy efficiency has a huge amount to offer.

After all, the Carbon Trust estimates that through efficiency, UK schools and institutions could reduce energy costs by around £44 million per year, which would prevent 625,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

That’s to say nothing of the benefits to children and teachers from more efficient, comfortable buildings to learn and work in.

Salix Fund extended

Given efficiency’s remarkable potential to help its encouraging news that the Salix Fund, which offers a number of financing solutions, is calling for applications for  interest-free funding for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in England through the Revolving Green Fund, with applications being accepted until 27th October.

Energys is delighted by this news. Almost half of all HEIs in England worked with Salix on energy efficiency projects in the last financial year, resulting in the completion of projects utilising over £20m from Salix managed programmes.

As well as impressive carbon emissions savings, these projects will see annual energy bill savings of £4m annually and £63m over the lifetime of the projects.

What kind of work can Salix cash catalyse?

Crucially, Salix money can go towards over 120 energy efficiency technologies, and Salix is able to support programmes of work spanning multiple years.

The work might cover building management systems, boiler improvements, or LED retrofits, all technical solutions which, here at Energys, we can help with.

“HEIs might want to look at suites of work, across the varying retrofit requirements they might have,” comments Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys.

“Energy efficiency can make a massive difference in HEIs across the country. Historically, the challenge has been getting the cash upfront to make the improvements happen.

“That’s understandable; those tasked with managing HEI budgets have a complex role, with many disparate elements battling for priority.

“Therefore, the right funding and financing streams make such a positive difference. We’re delighted to already work with HEIs and Salix, so we have the experience that counts.”

HEI funding; don’t hesitate

There really is nothing to lose from investigating what scope Salix has to benefit your HEI, so Salix advises interested parties to follow the link to the application page.

Or, simply contact us at Energys, for help on the opportunities available.

Everyone Active set to save nearly £76k with intelligent, energy-saving lighting upgrades

0LED-based solutions have been successfully implemented at three of the leisure operator’s sites in the UK.

With a reliance on complex and power-intensive building systems, leisure centre operators are continually on the lookout for new technologies that can help to reduce their energy expenditure. Established in 1987, Sports and Leisure Management (SLM) is no exception, and continues to optimise its use of technology at approximately 145 leisure and cultural facilities across the UK.

For a recent upgrade initiative at three council leisure sites operating under the consumer leisure brand Everyone Active, SLM enlisted the input of leading lighting specialist Energys Group, which is part of its energy management strategy team. In a pattern well-established by previous projects, the Energys team – led by Business Development Manager Raj Gunasekaran – set about researching viable energy-saving solutions in order to determine how much money might be saved over the long-term.

In the wake of a successful deployment of boiler control and valve wrap solutions a few years ago, it was decided that a comprehensive installation of the latest LED-based lighting was the best way to achieve further savings. The new specification was designed by Energys to comply with Sports 4 England criteria, ensuring optimum comfort and efficiency.

Financing energy efficiency

Energys has a distinguished track-record of assisting companies and organisations to benefit from energy-related funding schemes. In this instance, the upgrade was financed by Energys’ own Pay From Savings scheme, whereby SLM paid 30% of the fee on completion and the remaining 70% from savings. Designed to minimise capital outlay, the saving over the lifetime of the lease is ex-pected to be in the region of £76,000 across the three leisure centres.

“As with a number of other leisure complexes in the recent past, the scheme has made it possible for SLM to implement these hugely beneficial new LED-based solutions, with positive results both for the overall cost of the operation and the comfort of patrons,” says Gunasekaran.

Solution specifics

Across all three sites, the upgraded lighting installations draw on the latest LED products from the Energys Group range. LED tubes, panels, down-lights, hi-bay units with intelligent multi-sensors, spotlights, wall lights, outdoor wall lights, SON replacement lamps and flood lights all feature in the far-reaching projects.

The specification of intelligent auto-sensing lights in sports halls and indoor track spaces at each of the three sites – in order to provide additional savings when unoccupied – was another important aspect of a project that also encompassed indoor stadiums, gym and dance studios, offices, cafes, kitchens and store rooms, among other spaces.

The installations at three leisure centres – Westgate, Bourne and David Weir – were completed in no more than two weeks apiece during December 2016 and January 2017. But whilst the work itself might have been fairly quick, the benefits are destined to be long-lived. For example, the projected energy savings at Westgate are £26,774 and 243400 kWh, with a return on investment (RoI) of just 2.4 years.

Underlining SLM’s commitment to carbon reduction, the sites will also benefit from a reduced environmental impact as a consequence of the new lighting. For example, at Bourne, a CO2 reduction of 58 tonnes per year is expected, whilst the figure rises to an impressive 180 tonnes per year at David Weir.

Daylight harvesting and scene setting

Designed to incorporate daylight harvesting (whereby lighting is adjusted according to natural lighting), the new solutions are easily controlled by staff using a tablet that can be pre-programmed to suit requirements for different sports. The end-result has been a dramatic improvement in conditions, says Chichester Contracts Manager Stuart Mills, who oversees the Westgate and Bourne sites.

“The standard of the lighting is so much better now,” he says, highlighting in particular “the greatly enhanced conditions around the poolside, with obvious benefits for health and safety since the life-guards can now see more easily to the bottom of the pool! Visually the new lights are a nicer, brighter white and it makes such a difference to the spaces.”

Despite the long opening hours at each centre, installation was planned to be as non-disruptive as possible, says Katie McKeown, General Manager at David Weir Leisure Centre. “We are open from 7am until 10pm on weekdays, and 8am until 6pm on weekends, but Energys worked around our usage patterns, so there was no need to cancel any classes or activities. As a result we didn’t receive any customer complaints during the process.”

Mark Ford is the Southeast Regional Technical Manager at Everyone Active, overseeing 70 of the 140 or more sites Everyone Active operates. He is delighted by the quick and efficient turnaround of the upgrades, and the positive impact they have had at all three sites.

“The quality of the lighting really enhances the facilities and has had immediate impact on customer feedback,” he says, “but I must also pinpoint the dramatic savings that we are going to enjoy for many years ahead. In addition, we are an organisation that takes its commitment to carbon reduction very seriously, so these upgrades will deliver a dramatic advantage in that regard. Consequently, I fully expect us to initiate similar projects at other sites in the future.”

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.”

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.

Why finding the best energy efficient funding tackles price rises head on

Today’s businesses face an urgent challenge; energy prices are going in one direction, up. Logically enough, this makes the case for energy efficiency even more compelling; the less you use, the less you spend.

At Energys, the evidence behind rising costs is mounting. “When we estimate energy saving calculations for customers, we’ve recently based their calculations on energy prices of around £0.11p/kWh,” explains Raj Gunasekaran, Business Development Manager, Energys.

“But today, speaking with my clients, I find their real world energy charges are in some cases as high as £0.17p/kWh.

“It’s my job to track the market, and I’m keen to stay ahead of the game. But the trends increasingly make it clear that for my customers to stay ahead too, as energy prices have gone up, they must think smartly about reducing energy use.

“If they don’t, they risk losing more and more money. Contrastingly, building efficiency into their activities, as a barrier against rising prices, makes the benefits of using less power even more valuable.”

The proof is in the pudding

Proving the point, The Telegraph writes: ‘Wholesale electricity prices have climbed 32% from last year due to concern over the country’s wafer-thin power supply margins.

‘UK energy suppliers have shouldered the highest wholesale market costs in 2 years, and face further cost hikes ahead alongside a political crackdown on rising bills.’

No matter what your position on the politics of electricity costs, it’s clear the wisest firms should act now, to protect themselves against the financial pressures of the UK energy landscape.

Costs are rising, and no matter why, staying in business is about tactically minimising your energy usage today.

Energy efficient funding; beating price rises the smart way

For plenty of firms though, there’s a challenging disconnect. Energy efficiency saves you money, but you have to spend to install it. Or do you?

“Many organisations don’t even need to use upfront capital,” says Gunasekaran. “We understand that sustainability measures come with a cost.

“Even if that cost is payed back rapidly, as is usually the case in a couple of years, you still need to find a way to pay for efficiency at the point of install.

“Therefore, Energys operates flexible and bespoke funding solutions, to remove the barriers to energy efficiency.”

The promise of the pound

It’s always tough to take spending proposals to the board, especially in times of heightened external costs on energy. But now, more than ever before, thinking strategically is key.

Energy efficiency reduces costs, and adds extra wins when such costs are ramping up day in day out. It also adds reputational benefit, and will likely improve the quality of your estate and the happiness of your employees.

Contact us today, and see how financing LED improvements can help insulate you against UK energy cost volatility.