‘Go Green’ with a new biomass heating system

Published:  24 January, 2013

As the first builders' merchant in the UK to take on the green energy centre franchise, The Builders Supply Company based in Kendal, Cumbria, carried out a commercial energy assessment at its Kendal branch to identify where energy, carbon and financial savings could be made.

Working with Lorcan Anglin, managing director of the green energy centre who carried out the survey, the company put together a master plan which identified four main areas where these savings could be made: heating, draught proofing, insulation and lighting.

Jamie Kilduff, renewables manager at The Builders Supply Company said: “We have been very active in developing the green energy centre brand and our renewable product offering, so our Kendal branch was an ideal opportunity to give our customers a very practical demonstration of what could be achieved, in other words ‘we put our money where our mouth is’. One benefit so far has been the response from our customers, even during the installation we gained enquiries for both commercial and domestic systems, and now installers can send their clients in to see a working pellet system."

Changing from an old inefficient oil warm air blower to fan convectors in the self selection area and an oil system boiler for the bathroom showroom radiators we combined them into one Trianco GreenFlame 85Kw Biomass pellet boiler, which will save approximately 1/3 on oil fuel costs. At the same time, the electric heaters in the administration offices were changed to radiators, and all three circuits are now linked to the new biomass boiler which distributes the heat through a 3000 litre buffer vessel.

The draught proofing included sealing the gaps between the self selection area and the warehouse to avoid heat leaking into the cold warehouse. Thermal de-stratification fans were also installed to re-circulate and blow the heat back from the high roof space down to the floor area. The showroom suspended ceiling was identified as uninsulated and where heat could escape into the cold void above. This had very little strength in the load it could take, so instead of using traditional insulation, lightweight insulation bags specifically designed for this type of ceiling were sourced.

The lighting in the self-selection area and the warehouse was changed and installed by RCE Services, who explained: "we replaced the 250w HID high bay lights with twin 80w T5 adaptors and reflectors, these have movement sensors and automatically dim when there is enough natural light."

With the prices of oil, gas and electricity escalating year-on-year, The Builders Supply Company considered the project a ‘no brainer’ with a return on investment calculated at 3.9 years including the commercial Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments.

The Biomass refurbishment was completed in January 2013 by Positive Footprints, the main contractor on the heating system. Gary Chamberlain, who designed the system, said this will significantly reduce The Builders Supply Company’s energy usage, giving not only financial savings by cutting fuel bills, but also reducing the company's overall combined carbon footprint by 44%.

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