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North End Community Centre cuts heating bill by a third!

Mr Thorpe John Thorpe, Chairperson of the Stafford North End Association committee, is happy with the better insulation and a new boiler, installed through the Warmer Holmcroft project and saving the Community Centre over £600 a year.

The many users of Stafford's North End Community Centre are enjoying warmer and cosier times thanks to a package of measures to improve the building's energy efficiency. This popular venue, located on Holmcroft Road, has benefitted from an energy audit and funding package through the Warmer Holmcroft project, run by Sustainability Matters in conjunction with Stafford Borough Council.

The measures include a new more efficient condensing gas boiler for the central heating, plus cavity and loft insulation. Taken together, these improvements have cut the heating bills by about a third, saving around £600 each year. Furthermore, the building's annual carbon emissions will fall by at least 2-3 tonnes per annum.

'Sustainable Energy Champion' award

The positive attitude of the North End Community Association towards the project earned them the Sustainable Energy Champion special award in the 2014 Borough Council Green Awards. The citation read: "...this community centre will stay warm for less money and with less impact on the environment too, leading by example in the local community. Well done!"

Treasure Ann Seaton remarked: "The extra insulation and new gas boiler have made a huge difference with heating costs. We are of course very happy with this, and thank Stafford Borough Council for all the help, financial and otherwise, and in particular thanks to Karen Davies for all her work and attention."

Energy audit

The Centre was built in the 1950s and is used virtually every day by local social and sports groups or for music and entertainment. But like many buildings of that era it required an energy makeover to bring it up to modern standards of insulation and heating to reduce costs and cut carbon emissions. The process began in early 2013 when the building was selected, through the Warmer Holmcroft project, to have an energy audit, funded by Staffordshire County Council. The consequent report identified various areas of improvement, and presented an action plan, with itemized costs and savings. This allowed the trustees to allocate precious resources in the most effective way, where they would see a quick return on the investment. boiler install

The energy audit estimated that a new condensing gas boiler alone will save £468 a year on gas bills,
and nearly 2 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

'Quick-win' recommendations

  • Reduce boiler operating time by 1 hour/day: cost £0 - saving over £100/year
  • Insulate loft and wall cavities: estimated cost around £1600 - payback in 2 years
  • Install wireless thermostatic radiator valves and room thermostats: est. cost £1000 - payback in 2-3 years
  • Install condensing gas boiler: estimated cost £3000 - payback in 6-7 years
  • Establish an energy policy to guide users of the hall in operating the heating and lighting efficiently and safely

Cavity wall insulation

Filling the wall cavities (left) helps retain heat in the building.

loft insulation

The existing minimal loft insulation (right) is topped up to the recommended depth of 300 mm. These simple insulation measures should pay for themselves in just 2 years.