Background: Families First North East, initially known as “Hartlepool Toy Library”, was founded in March 1988 by Wendy McLoughlin to fill a void of services for children with disabilities. The organisation has since expanded to support over 450 individuals annually, benefiting over 1,500 people across 17 services. Their mission is to provide equal life opportunities for all, regardless of ability or additional need, specialising in support for those with additional needs, autism, and disabilities. The organisation sought to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs and thus participated in the SME Energy Efficiency Scheme (SMEES), a project to support small and medium-sized enterprises in implementing energy-saving measures. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supported the project as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme.
Decerna undertook an energy efficiency audit of the SME’s building, which revealed the best option for cost and carbon reductions was to implement the following;
- Refrigeration and Freezer Units Upgrade: The company upgraded their refrigeration and freezer units to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption.
- PIR Sensors for Lighting Control: Passive infrared (PIR) sensors were installed to optimise lighting usage by controlling lighting activation based on occupancy.
- Solar PV System Installation: Families First (North East) installed a solar PV system to generate clean electricity from solar energy.
Decerna worked with the client to support the procurement process and provided a grant of £8,091.58 towards the total cost of the solar PV installation.
Outcomes: The implementation of energy efficiency measures resulted in the following outcomes for Families First (North East):
- Annual Cost Savings:
- Refrigeration and Freezer Units: Upgrading refrigeration and freezer units led to an annual cost savings of £161.
- PIR Sensors for Lighting Control: The installation of PIR sensors generated annual cost savings of £510.
- Solar PV System: The solar PV system resulted in annual cost savings of £1,445.
- Carbon Emissions Reduction:
- Refrigeration and Freezer Units: Upgrading refrigeration and freezer units reduced approximately 0.2 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) emissions annually.
- PIR Sensors for Lighting Control: Implementing PIR sensors reduced approximately 0.7 metric tonnes of tCO2e emissions annually.
- Solar PV System: The installed solar PV system reduced carbon emissions by approximately three metric tonnes of tCO2e annually.
- Payback Period:
- Refrigeration and Freezer Units: The payback period for refrigeration and freezer unit upgrade was not applicable as no grant was received.
- PIR Sensors for Lighting Control: The payback period for installing PIR sensors was not applicable as no grant was received.
- Solar PV System: With the grant, the payback period for the solar PV system installation was reduced
Paul Thompson, Chief Executive said:
Installing solar PV has been really important for Families First. We’ve been able to help create a greener future for generations to come, and it’s great knowing that we can run our site using clean, self-generated electricity. Reducing our electricity costs allows us to focus on helping our community to grow more, and we are delighted with the result.
Please visit the overall case study for the project on the Decerna website here.
SMEES is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.