Energys Group’s Next Generation Lighting and Heating Controls Deliver Dramatic Energy Savings to Biggleswade Academy

An annual energy saving of around £20,000 is expected as a result of the extensive installation at the L.I.F.E. Academies Trust-operated school.

Located in Central Bedfordshire, Biggleswade Academy accommodates children aged from 2 to 13 and is part of the L.I.F.E. Academies Trust. The technical team at the Academy, led by facilities manager Chris Mooney, maintains a watchful eye on its technical infrastructure to ensure that it remains both contemporary and fit for purpose. And it was with these priorities in mind that the school recently resolved to undertake an extensive overhaul of its lighting and heating control technologies.

The problems facing the team across all three of the Academy’s sites – the Reception and Key Stage One, Key Stage Two and Three and pre-schools – were not exactly unfamiliar in the education sector. First and foremost, the existing and rather aged fluorescent-based lighting systems had been performing poorly for some time and were therefore subject to frequent failures. Inevitably, this had cost implications both in terms of replacements and the associated labour. But the usage of heating systems was also of growing concern, with some components performing inadequately and a lack of consistency to the control infrastructure.

“We were aware that moving across to newer technologies, especially LED lighting, could help bring about not only a sustained improvement in quality terms, but also a significant reduction in our energy costs,” recalls Chris. “In tandem with a review of our energy supply arrangements, it was apparent that the upgrade work could also play a notable part in minimising the Academy’s overall carbon footprint.”

The facilities team investigated various options during the search for a project supplier, ultimately inviting Energys Group and three other companies to undertake energy savings and submit quotations. The decision was made in favour of Energys Group for reasons of technical expertise, cost-efficiency and knowledge of the Salix funding scheme that was to be used to finance the project.

“We really liked the whole Energys Group package,” confirms Chris. As well as having the products to suit a multi-faceted scheme, the Academy was “impressed with their knowledge and flexibility and their willingness to monitor the Salix funding so that we didn’t have to. We also liked the fact that they were not what might be termed ‘pressure sellers’!”

Out of hours installation

With the project due to take place during term time, Energys Group offered to undertake all the work out of school hours, specifically from 1600-0400. Hence the impact on daily activities was “minimal throughout the two-month period of installation,” says Chris, who highlights the reassurance provided by meetings “every few days” with the Energys Group project manager.

The overhauled infrastructure incorporates a variety of Energys Group products, including LED high bay panels, sensor-linked LED wall lights, IP67-rated TriProof LED lights, down lights, flood lights and self-test emergency lights. Previously lights had generally been activated when the cleaners started work at 5am and remained on all day, so the installation of PIR sensors was an integral element of the scheme in order to reduce the amount of time lighting is left on unnecessarily. Meanwhile, boiler optimisers – also from Energys Group – have been fitted to improve the efficiency of the boilers without affecting building temperature.

Predicted savings of 85 tonnes of CO2

Now that the new systems are fully installed and up-and-running, they are expected to deliver a collective annual energy saving in the region of 20%. With specific regard to the lighting systems a reduction in energy expenditure of £14,941 has been forecast, with a return on investment of 4.78 years well within expectations. The savings from the new boiler controls also make for compelling reading, with costs here expected to fall by £5,095 per year. Across both lighting and heating, the annual CO2 reduction is predicted to be an impressive 85 tonnes.

With solar panels set to be installed over the summer, these forecasts will doubtless improve further in the months ahead. For now, Chris confirms that the Academy has been “delighted by the collaboration with Energys Group and the impact that the new systems have made on our overall technological efficiency. In fact the majority of those who have remarked upon the lighting upgrade have simply exclaimed ‘wow, this is so much better!”.

The Energys May Horizon Scan: helping futureproof green business

Efficiency in education

As the summer stretches ahead of us, we’ve spotted a welcome emphasis on how schools should be upping the ante on energy efficiency.

Education Executive is reporting that throughout the education sector, there’s an increasing awareness of the benefits of implementing a well-rounded energy efficiency plan.

Crucially, the journal notes that holistic planning is key to sustainable energy in schools.

It writes: ‘For example, many schools begin addressing their energy usage by installing LED lighting; however, a school taking a holistic approach may also consider whether they could install lighting sensors, energy management systems, new insulation, boilers and solar PV within the same project.

‘An added benefit to this approach, on top of the associated high energy savings, is that installing a number of projects at once helps save money on design, installation and labour costs, while also minimising disruption on site.’

This approach matches our experience at Energys, and is especially worthwhile when one considers that soon, the long summer holidays will be with us.

This is an ideal time when schools might consider energy efficiency solutions, with plenty of downtime to get the measures installed and signed off before pupils return to their studies.

A word on the smarter futures schools can imagine is welcome too; ‘Energy waste can also be reduced by updating energy control systems,’ writes the journal.

‘New smart technologies allow for more precise control, especially if combined with an energy management system. This gives schools the ability to quickly, easily and, often, automatically adjust their energy systems to meet their needs in real time.’

Homes efficiency under scrutiny

Less welcome is news that the domestic side of energy efficiency is taking a bash. The Telegraph reports the Government’s effort to bring down the cost of energy by upgrading Britain’s draughtiest homes is under attack, after it emerged that cuts to the scheme mean it would take 400 years to complete.

It seems that, under new plans, ministers intend to slash the pace at which the least efficient households will receive insulation upgrades. Better heat conservation can knock hundreds of pounds a year off electricity and gas bills.

A spokesman for E.On UK, a big six energy supplier, said: “Overall, as a country we need to bring the energy efficiency of homes up to the level that is right for the 21st century, and which could save many hundreds of pounds off the annual energy bill.”

At Energys, we deal with commercial energy efficiency, but that doesn’t mean we take our eyes off the domestic sector. Price caps seem to have taken centre stage here, perhaps at a cost to efficiency.

A refocusing of policy to get Britain’s homes using less heat and electricity would be most welcome.

Can the UK reach net zero emissions by 2050?

The Guardian examines how fit the UK is to truly lead the world on low carbon.

It writes; “More wind farms, solar power and electric cars: these are likely to be the future of the UK, under government plans announced this week to seek a zero-carbon economy in the next 30 years.”

It appears that last month, Government Minister Claire Perry made the surprise announcement that she would ask the Committee on Climate Change, the government’s statutory advisers on climate change, to consider ways the UK could become “net zero-carbon” by 2050.

The commitment was widely interpreted, says The Guardian, as laying the groundwork for a major change to the UK’s long-term climate policy. Currently, ministers are pledged to cutting emissions by 80% by 2050.
And efficiency could play a major role. Dustin Benton, Policy Director at Green Alliance, told the paper; “The government would have to bring forward new measures as a matter of urgency.

“The government has made real progress on some issues, such as diesel cars and offshore wind, but there are glaring holes in areas such as energy efficiency and onshore renewables.”

We will keep an eye on this story, and alert you to any changes. Any re-examination of UK climate policy must deliver energy efficiency as a key player.


Enjoyed this article? Check out more of our energy policy articles here. Please drop us a line if you’d like to chat about any of the issues and themes covered or to find out more about our energy saving technologies.

 

Energys Group urges NHS to take action now and not wait for increased government funds

Kevin Cox explains why the NHS and other public bodies must make energy efficiency savings to release more funds for over-stretched ‘front-line’ services.

While uncertainty about Brexit dominates the political landscape, causing equal amounts of anxiety and expectation in the public at large, other aspects of public life continue to loom large. In particular is the perennial strain on the NHS budget and stress on its staff and patients.

In its recent survey findings of respondents in England, released in September 2017, The Kings Fund found that despite the “significant challenges faced by the NHS, it continues to enjoy unwavering support among the public which endures across the generations.”

Indeed 77% of the public believes the NHS should be maintained in its current form; around 90% of people support the founding principles of the NHS and 66% are willing to pay more of their own taxes to fund the NHS, underlining growing support among the public for tax rises to increase NHS funding.

“We’re not here to comment on the political aspects of the findings of The King’s Fund and IPSOS Mori survey or to call for increased taxation to support the NHS,” comments Kevin Cox, Managing Director of Energys Group. “However, we are calling on the NHS facilities managers, energy managers and Trust chiefs to take the lead in making their estates more energy efficient, and return the savings to where there is the most need – patient care.

“There is no argument from us that staff at the NHS do crucial work, whether on the front-line caring for, transporting and supporting patients directly, or in the critical, unseen and unheralded back-room services, such as administration, maintenance, HR and finance.”

The recently released third annual Impact Report released by the independent NHS Sustainability Campaign highlights the work that is being done by individual trusts to develop low-carbon measures and make considerable savings. For example the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust expects to save around £1.2m each year thanks to a carbon management plan.

Kevin Cox applauds the work being done by Trusts to develop low-carbon measures: “But there is more to be done to ensure that those who work in this 24-hour, 365 days a year service, are not paying the price for their care, in poor working conditions, inefficient buildings and at increased risk to their own health and wellbeing. The NHS needs to look after itself in order that it can look after the public.”

Energys Group will be launching a year-long campaign to help the NHS achieve estate-wide cost savings that will have a significant effect on productivity, staff wellbeing and ultimately, enable savings that will benefit patient care.



Energy Group specialises in energy saving solutions for hospitals and healthcare.  Please drop us a line if you’d like to chat about how we can reduce energy costs for you.

Energy saving technologies for colleges: Why efficient heat and light make for sustainable education too

Right now, the Conservatives are launching reviews into the costs and expenses of the UK university system.

This makes it a very apt moment to remind ourselves how the most energy efficient technologies can save vast amounts of cash across our education hierarchies; cash that if correctly leveraged could potentially help lower the burdens of funding education.

Sensing these benefits, but also the overarching sustainability and CSR wins offered by efficient kit, Public Sector Build Journal (PSBJ) has recently examined the positives of Energys work in London’s BSIX Sixth Form College.

What’s the story, and does it shine a light on wider options for enabling efficiency across our teaching estates nationally?

Top line savings

PSBJ begins by highlighting the key numbers; LED lighting and dynamic boiler controls supplied by Energys at the East London College are predicted to deliver some £25,000 of annual energy savings.

This figure of course does not mention CO2 benefits; the boiler optimisation work alone will offer 28.66 tonnes per year of carbon savings, great for the environment but also for the college’s ongoing carbon reduction work.

In anyone’s book that £25,000 represents serious cash; the figure is a telling reminder that within an environment where UK teaching remains fundamentally pressured when it comes to cash, it’s simple to achieve both financial and CO2 wins that can offer up money to support teaching in other ways.

Bob Herring, Premises Manager of BSIX College, spoke regarding the economics and the positives of the work carried out by Energys.

“We realised that with the latest boiler control and LED lighting systems we could achieve a dramatic reduction in our energy costs,” he comments.

“We wanted to achieve a greener, more carbon efficient college. Thanks to the collaboration with Energys that has been possible; and all in a mere three weeks of work that had very minimal impact on the day to day activities of the school.”

More handy cash on hand

In terms of lighting, return on investment for this project is set at four years, while the return period for the total investment will be around two years. Remember, after this, the installation starts making money for the college.

“We’re delighted with the work that has taken place at BSIX.” comments Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys.

“Clearly, this is a sixth form college and not a university. But here’s an example of an energy efficiency project that’s offering up £25,000 per year to an educational facility and delivering massive CO2 wins as well.

“It seems to me that in the wider debate over tuition fees, we might perhaps want to be thinking about where and why the overall costs of teaching, in all its forms, can be massively assisted by energy efficient tech.

“And surely we ought to be teaching our children this lesson too; that energy efficiency not only helps our planet; it can help fund our children’s growth and learning.”


Energy Group specialises in energy saving technologies for schools and colleges.  Please drop us a line if you’d like to chat about how we can reduce energy costs at your education establishment.

Additional Salix interest-free finance available for FE Colleges

Leading low carbon retrofit company, Energys Group, is urging Further Education colleges in England to take advantage of additional funds for investment in energy-efficiency upgrades, available from Salix Finance. The fast-approaching deadline for applications for the extended funding is the end of February 2018.

Energy-saving projects

A broad range of over 100 energy-saving upgrades is covered by this round of Salix funding, and can support programmes of work that may span multiple years. Since its launch in 2014, the programme has funded energy-efficiency projects in over 50 FE colleges, resulting in estimated annual savings of over £1.6m.

Applying for the fund

Information about how to apply for the new FE College funding is available on the Salix website. We have also produced a step-by-step guide which outlines how to complete a Salix loan application. The guide contains information on the applications process and how to meet the project criteria.

“Retrofit technologies, such as LED lighting, T5 lighting upgrades and boiler optimisation technologies represent energy-saving quick wins for many FE colleges,” advises Kevin Cox, Managing Director of Energys Group.

“Salix funding provides a great opportunity for colleges to invest in these technologies without the usual financial risk.

“Anyone who needs more information in order to understand the process of applying for an interest-free loan through Salix should consider turning to a specialist organisation such as Energys for advice,” says Kevin Cox.

“There are only a few weeks left until the deadline for this round of funding and colleges will need to have all their energy data on hand to produce a quality application.”

For help and advice on how to take advantage of Salix finance for retrofit energy-saving upgrades, contact Energys Group today.