Environmental Action Plan
We have identified several areas below where we believe that we can make improvements to help reduce our carbon footprint (actually more like Boot print in our case) and generally reduce the environmental impact of our business.
When we first looked Hargate Hall we were surprised to see that the oil fired boilers looked very old and that the circulation pipes were un-insulated 5 inch cast iron pipes. After a little digging we would that they were fitted in the 1950s and probably running at around 30% efficiency, which coupled with having no cylinder or heating thermostats made us realise that we would need to spend some money on replacements. After a few months of monitoring oil usage we found that it was capable of using 600 litres of oil in a week!! We now have a modern condensing boiler with over 100m of new insulated 28mm pipe thermostats, timers and other gadgets. As a result even on our worst week the consumption dropped to 250 litres in a week, environmental impact aside, with the oil price as it is it was a very good move.
With having very high ceilings I very quickly tired of getting ladders out to change light bulbs. I replaced some of bulbs that are permanently left on with long life low energy bulbs. Although they look a bit odd in places I very quickly benefited from them lasting a lot longer than the standard bulbs. We now have over 150 low energy bulbs in the building so we have a significant benefit in terms of electricity usage.
Work in Progress
We are starting with insulating all the hot water pipes that we can get at. The roof space needs more insulation, or flooring. This biggest challenge however is the windows. These are all original sliding sash windows with no double glazing or draft strips. Doing anything with these is going to be a long slow and expensive job - there are over 100 windows!
Some time in the future .....
Oil and electricity prices are only going to go up, and theoretically as more solar heating systems are fitted their price should come down. We cope to be able to have solar panels for hot water in the next couple of years
Ground source heat pumps
With similar economic drivers to solar energy, we are looking at ground source heat pumps with interest, but at the moment we need to finish the other areas first.