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Holiday cottage provider cuts annual energy by over £19k with renewable technology solutions

Highland Farm Cottages invested in a biomass boiler and solar PV to reduce carbon and cut their business energy costs for their green tourism business.

Our Advisor helped simplify the technical options for the biomass boiler, helping the client to make an informed decision about specifications.

Located just outside Dingwall in the Highlands of Scotland, Highland Farm Cottages provides five star luxury self-catering accommodation in a number of converted stone barns and stables, dating back to the 1800s. Situated just 300 feet above sea level the site can be exposed to extreme weather conditions, and in colder seasons this places additional demands on space heating solutions.

As the business is dedicated to the principals of running a green tourism business, finding a more carbon efficient method of running the premises without compromising guest comfort or convenience was important. With this in mind, Highland Farm Cottages sought advice from us with the aim of reducing the energy costs and carbon emissions associated with heating both the self-catering and private accommodation. Our free assessment resulted in a report which recommended replacing the existing LPG system with a biomass boiler giving savings of over £19,000 per year and reducing carbon emissions by 33.5 tonnes CO2. With an investment of £110,000 required for the upgrade work, the company would see a payback on capital investment of 6.1 years.

Choosing a biomass boiler without expertise can prove challenging when it comes to the technical specifications. Initial quotes obtained by the client presented widely different boiler sizes, at the suggestion of the different installers, ranging from 130kW to 199kW. To address this issue, we undertook a detailed heat load assessment on the business, which identified that a 150kW boiler would adequately meet the needs of the site. Further support was provided to the business to assist with system design and metering, and to review additional quotations to reassure the customer that the right system was being selected, placing him in a better negotiating position with the preferred installer.

“Our customers have told us that whilst holidaying in the Scottish Highlands they would rather stay with an accommodation provider that uses green energy”. Kenneth McKenzie, Owner.

The company applied for the SME Loan Scheme which provides interest-free*, unsecured loans from £1k up to £100k, in order to invest in their energy saving measures. Funded by Scottish Government the loans are available to small and medium-sized businesses operating in Scotland for energy efficiency projects. (*There is a 5% interest rate for renewable technologies to help organisations claim the renewable heat incentive.)

Due the success of the biomass installation the business went on to install Solar PV in order to generate eco-friendly electricity. Serial award winners they won FSB Award for Ethical Green Business of the Year, two years running and the Highland Business Award for ‘Best low carbon business’ in 2016.

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