Poor insulation and an outdated heating system are among the challenges facing Stafford & Rugeley Sea Cadets based in their prefabricated metal-clad buildings.
Stafford is home to a thriving unit of Sea Cadets, one of around 400 such groups across the country. Each has charitable status, and offers a range of activities for young people aged 10 to 18, such as sailing, canoeing, abseiling, and power boating.
Eclectic mix of buildings
The Stafford and Rugeley unit is based in a cluster of buildings on Riverway. The original main hall was first constructed in 1939 and is an ex RAF building.
In 1960 extensions were added in the form of two pre-fabricated house units, relocated from Stafford Common. This eclectic make-up means the building is difficult to heat and heat loss is significant. Electricity bills are typically around £200 a month. That is why Marches Energy Agency were commissioned to conduct an energy audit of the building by Stafford Borough Council as part of the
‘We Love Littleworth’ project.
The subsequent Energy Report indicated a range of large scale works that could bring about improvements, including loft insulation, ceiling repairs and a new heating system. These may be options in the long term, but will require significant injections of funding. Immediate, less costly measures were also indicated, including: upgrading the lighting to LED bulbs throughout the building; draught proofing doors and repairing gaps in the ceilings; introducing thick underlay and carpets or matting to improve comfort on the cold solid floors.
Replacing the old lights (near left) with more energy efficient ones (far left) has brought the added benefit of improved tone and brightness, creating a cleaner looking environment.
The Council was able to grant fund some energy efficiency measures and Lt (SCC) Lee Townsend RMR, in charge of the works, reports: ‘After reviewing the recommendations with the local council’s sustainability officer and Sustainability Matters, we prioritised a series of small, cost effective measures.'
'I used the grant to replace all but two of the copact fluorescent lamps (CFL) bulbs in the building, as well as installing four solar powered lights externally to replace the inefficient halogen lights outside. They have proved to be an effective replacement. Our last three electricity bills have been around £120/month, giving us an average monthly saving of £80!'
'More efficient, a little at a time'
An unexpected benefit is a much brighter, better environment for the cadets to learn in. We have also bought some new computers with Sea Cadet funds that will 'sleep' if they are left on as well as some new white goods with a better energy rating, both of which were picked up during the survey. With regards the other things reported on in the audit, there is no easy fix unless we get a serious injection of cash, which our committee are working on, very slowly. In the meantime though, these little projects will be sure to help us to become a little more energy efficient, a little at a time!’ In addition, we are hoping to install new cycle parking stands, with support from SBC, to promote green travel.