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Community hub cuts energy costs with new heat pumps

Cashback grant helps fund Arran village hall project.

A lively village hall at the heart of an island community is prepared for winter after switching to air source heat pumps.

Shiskine Hall, on the west coast of the Isle of Arran, took advantage of a Scottish Government SME Loan to finance the work.

The building, which has been a village hall since 1958, was previously a church with a high ceiling and north-facing windows that presented heating challenges.

The old wall-mounted ceramic heaters were becoming inefficient and increasingly costly to operate with the cost of electricity being a significant outlay for the committee.

Diana Turbett, secretary at the hall, contacted our team for free advice on what changes could be implemented to save money and cut the hall’s carbon emissions.

An experienced consultant visited the site to assess the existing set-up and he provided Diana and the committee with a full report detailing the different options.

The assessment recommended replacing the heating with an air source heat pump, as well as installing LED lights with a payback period of under seven years.

The consultant also highlighted that the large roof offered potential for solar PV panels and an annual saving of around £480.

When the committee discussed the report, it was decided to press ahead with the change to lighting and heating. The committee members are keen to further explore the opportunity of fitting solar PV panels, which would have a slightly longer payback period of around 10 years, but the immediate priority was to ensure the hall was comfortable for its users all year round.

The committee agreed to fund the switch to LED lights from the hall’s existing capital. LED lighting is significantly cheaper than the traditional incandescent or fluorescent alternatives, using around 80% less energy.

It was decided that they would apply for an SME Loan with cashback grant to cover the cost of the heat pumps and the wall-mounted fans that supply the heat into the hall.

Diana said:

“We were eligible for the full £10,000 grant and the rest of the costs were covered by the interest free loan to be repaid over eight years.”

It is estimated there will be a reduction in emissions of approximately 1.7 tonnes of CO2 and reduced fuel costs of up to £1,060 per annum from all the changes implemented.

“The heating is easy to work with three fans in the main hall and one in the back hall. Each has its own control panel and the fans provide efficient heat and quickly warm up the large hall.”

Heat pumps provide an ideal solution for the hall with its mix of uses and different heat requirements throughout the day.

Diana said:

“The hall is used by a wide range of groups, including yoga and activities for older members of the community when it’s important to be warm and comfortable. Our new heating will encourage more use round the year and also help keep the building well aired and in good repair.


“Our advisor has been supportive and advised us throughout the process. The consultant who undertook the assessment was also very helpful and the resultant report has provided a useful working tool in guiding us in making the facility more energy efficient.”


“Without the support and funding from the SME Loan Scheme, we would not have been able to afford to install the new heat pumps. The hall committee is pleased to be promoting energy efficiency and doing what we can to help our community be sustainable in the light of the ongoing concerns about climate change.”

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