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Derrington Village Hall's energy makeover

Village Hall solar PVIn February 2011 the village of Derrington, near Stafford, marked the completion of an energy makeover of its Village Hall with a special launch. The event, formally opened by Stafford's mayor, Cllr Malcolm Millichap, was the culmination of an 18-month scheme to upgrade the energy efficiency of the entire building, making the Hall a model for other communities to follow.

The project was overseen by the Hall's management committee, with support from the Derrington Way Ahead low-carbon community project. Income from the solar electricity is being used to benefit the community, so for example, certain groups in the village can now use the hall at specially subsidized rates, or even for free.

The south-facing pitched roof of Derrington's Village Hall makes it an
ideal site for the 24 solar PV panels

The initial step was an energy audit of the Hall, undertaken in October 2009. This indicated which measures would be most cost-effective. Following strenuous efforts to secure funding, and tendering for the various tasks, the work was completed in October 2010, with the fitting of the solar panels.

The problem

  • The Village Hall was costly to run in terms of electricity and oil consumption
  • Flat roofs were not insulated
  • There were no effective controls of the heating system

The solution

Initial funding was raised for an energy audit of the Hall building by Marches Energy Agency. This indicated the most effective measures and their likely cost. Time for more fund raising! The main aspects of the scheme were to be:

  • Zoning of the heating system - allowing flexibility in heating for rooms within the Hall, instead of 'all on or all off'.
  • Solar PV panels for the pitched roof - an array of 24 photovoltaic panels giving 7.5 kilowatt peak output
  • Renovation of the flat roofs with insulation

The benefitsSolar launch

  • Improved energy efficiency, with consequent reduced energy consumption and lower running costs
  • Warmer and more comfortable space
  • Income from the electricity generated by the solar panels, estimated to be £2500-3000 per annum with the feed-in tariff (FIT)
  • Free electricity for the Hall when the solar panels are working
  • Savings and FIT income used to subsidize cost of hiring the Hall for members of the community, or at no charge
  • Electricity generation using renewable technology, thus cutting fossil fuel use and reducing the community's carbon footprint
Councillor Ray Sutherland of the Village Hall committee outlines the history of the
Hall at the event to mark completion of the Hall's energy makeover

Update 2015: SAVINGS MADE!

Income from the solar panels for the period October 2010 to March 2014 averaged £210 per month. Heating oil consumption was cut by nearly 18% after installation of the energy efficiency measures.

April 2006 to March 2010
4191 litres per year
Average £289/month

"Use of the main hall has increased over the last 4 years, and with the increases in electricity charges, this accounts for the higher electricity bills following installation of the measures.

However, the decrease in oil consumption clearly shows how the heating improvements have made a difference"

Measures installed autumn 2010
April 2010 to March 2014
3450 litres per year
Average £430/month
From October 2010: average revenues from Feed-in tariff = £210/month = £2500 per year



Energy audit (October 2009): Low Carbon Buildings programme from the Building Research Establishment

Energy measures (carried out October 2010):

Staffordshire Environmental Fund (£15,000) - for solar PV

Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) Communities Mean Business Leader programme (£26,500) - for zoning of the heating and reroofing flat-roof areas

Stafford Borough Council (Community Centres and Village Halls Grant; £5000) - for solar PV

Staffordshire County Council's Local Community fund (£2000) - to overall cost of project

Derrington Village Hall Committee (£1000) - to overall project cost