Charities and community organisations often own large, older properties with complex usage patterns. Typically these buildings can be expensive to run. However significant savings can be made by improving their energy efficiency – by making changes both to the fabric of the buildings and the heating systems.
This project is typical of the heating and energy consultancy CLPM give to community and charitable groups.
Our client was an organisation which has a large number of centres across England and Wales offering opportunities for people with learning disabilities, mental health problems and other special needs. Their Milton Keynes centre was a working community of 70 people, for adults with learning difficulties. They owned several buildings, including a couple of workshops and 8 residential properties.
Our brief was to review the electricity and heating usage in the centre’s many buildings and seek opportunities to save money, improve comfort and reduce emissions.
Particular concerns our clients raised were:
- Lighting – they were conscious that this was an area which was mis-used, and so wanted to understand how this could be improved.
- Heating – individual control of heating for different spaces was currently not possible, so they wanted advice on how to approach this.
- Monitoring and Control – they were keen to explore how they might be able to remotely monitor and control of heating and lighting.
We visited each of the sites to talk to their managers, inspect the buildings and check their condition and the nature of their heating arrangements. In complex projects of this nature we find it often makes sense to approach the task in 2 parts. This involves us first looking at the current situation, and making suggestions for immediate actions before putting in place a plan for the clients to collect more energy usage information, which we can later use to determine the complete, longer term plan for the client.
We began by carrying out an initial survey of the property. Like many similar projects, there were some immediate ‘quick win’ actions that were required and which we anticipated would give immediate energy cost savings in the region of £5,000 per annum. These included maintenance actions for several of the boilers as well as completely re-setting the thermostats and timing controls for the heating and hot water. In addition there were many door and windows which were in a poor state of repair and which needed to be replaced as soon as possible as they were causing the buildings to leak heat. We also came across some other issues to do with thermostats being incorrectly placed. However one of the most unusual findings was a major heating installation error our heating and energy consultancy team found which our clients were unaware of – an area within a refridgerated cold storage area that was also being heated via an underfloor heating loop!
As part of our initial review, we gave some general advice on how to make the existing arrangements more efficient before money was invested in new systems. This included detailing what areas required further investigation – such as checking some technical aspects of the underfloor heating systems and establishing which of the walls would be suitable for cavity wall insulation. We also advised which boilers were most inefficient and so would save the most money should they be replaced. Our team explained which areas could be insulated more effectively and suggested other measures such as fitting lockable room thermostats for the heating systems, and installing new LED lamp fittings with PIR movement detectors and light level detectors to over-ride manual switches.
Lastly we asked our clients to take regular utility usage readings for each separate area so that we could use the data for the 2nd stage of the review – to give more detailed advice for future energy efficiency and heating system investments.
Despite our work taking several days to complete (and so the cost of our initial review being relatively high), our findings and recommendations resulted in our clients being able to take immediate actions which paid for our fees in only a few months. We hope to return soon to begin the 2nd part of our work – suggesting what additional energy efficiency measures they could take with their buildings and helping determine what new heating arrangements they should install.
CLPM Services used by our client:-
Heating and Energy Consultancy.
Large organisations often have complex buildings and heating arrangements. Many heating companies lack the technical knowledge to get to the root of the problem.
CLPM are experts if carrying out heating and energy audits of this nature. We’re also 100% independent of suppliers and manufacturers so you can be assured that all the advice we give is in your best interests.