Energy bills are rising, but don’t panic! The Government is promoting incentives to save energy, and generate renewable electricity and renewable heat.
Know your energy
First, you need to understand how the energy is currently being provided to your land and buildings. Second, you must establish your electricity, oil, water, stable waste, fuel consumption and associated costs as separate figures. It is then sensible to measure your consumption against comparable equestrian establishments that set a high standard in energy management.
Target your costs
It is surprising how many energy customers are not actively managing their purchasing. There can be significant savings made.
But the most important considerations are efficiency measures to reduce actual energy use. You can achieve returns in excess of 10% within residential properties by installing loft insulation, putting in LED lighting and double-glazing, upgrading heating controls and installing a more efficient boiler. Consider recycling rainwater from stable block roofs to save on water costs, as well as bore hole water supplies, passive infrared sensors for yard lighting and smart meters for electricity.
The Green Deal
The Government is intending to launch the Green Deal towards the end of this year, allowing homes (businesses from mid 2013) to put in place energy efficiency measures at no upfront cost. Firms, such as B&Q, will provide an energy assessment and capital to support energy efficiency initiatives. Repayments should be less than savings from any works carried out.
Boost renewable energy
Think about renewable electricity generation – for example, wind, solar photovoltaic and hydro. Solar thermal, ground source heat pumps and Biomass (logs/woodchip/wood pellet) boilers can provide renewable heat generation. It is possible that stable waste could be utilised to provide heat and power, too.
You can opt for a combination of these technologies to meet your energy demands, but it depends on a number of factors, such as building fabric, location, land area and natural resources. If you have neglected woodland, put in place a grant-funded management plan to understand its potential to supply wood for heat.
The significant interest in small-scale renewable generation is due to the introduction of the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for electricity and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for heat. The RHI for domestic customers is likely to be rolled out with the Green Deal, but it is currently available for commercial customers and this includes, for example, equestrian facilities that can heat more than one property – ie, the main house and the tack room. The RHI is more attractive if your property or properties are currently heated by oil, rather than gas.
However, be wary and make sure you take independent advice. It is important to take a structured approach and invest wisely.
For more information, call 01285 883751 or visit www.butlersherborn.co.uk