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Biomass boiler cuts energy costs by 25% for outdoor centre

Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre invested in biomass for sustainable heating and hot water and unlocked a 25% saving on energy costs.

Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre is a multi-activity residential facility situated in Lochgoilhead in Argyll and Bute.

Experiential outdoor education makes use of the environment with walking, caving and water activities such as canoeing, kayaking, raft building and gorge walking. A key aim of the teaching programme is to develop a deeper relationship with nature. Environment, conservation and sustainability are all intrinsic to Ardroy’s business model.

The centre typically accommodates primary schools, but it is also utilised by youth groups, colleges, charities, and businesses. The premises include dormitory style accommodation, shower and toilet facilities and common areas including sitting rooms, teaching rooms and a dining hall. With the combination of large visitor numbers, sleeping areas and domestic services there is high energy demand for both space heating and hot water.

The centre approached the service looking for advice on alternative options to replace their existing electric heating and hot water immersion.  An assessment was carried out on the business followed by a free report which highlighted that the installation of biomass boiler and wet heating system for both space heating and domestic hot water supply would potentially realise energy savings of around 25% (comparing biomass to existing electrical heating and based on the boiler providing heat to two of the buildings on site). When factoring in renewable heat incentives the predicated savings rose to 61% with a payback period of 8.8 years. Further savings potential could be realised from extending the heating to cover the whole site.

‘The advice provided helped us identify a heating system which saved us money, reduced our carbon emissions and provided the capacity to extend the system at a later date’. David Thorpe, Finance Director.

In order to assist the client with implementing the project, follow-on work included determining the requirement for planning permission, providing specification and detailed designs of the heating system for tendering, assisting with evaluating quotations for the full installation, and supporting the client to apply for the Scottish Government unsecured, interest-free* SME Loan. The loans are available to small and medium-sized businesses operating in Scotland to afford energy, waste and water efficiency projects. (*There is a 5% interest rate for renewable technologies to help organisations still claim the renewable heat incentive).

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