Our Sustainability Pledge
Bradbury House, the location for The Brightwell, was officially opened in 2012. Therefore, the build and construction were carried out in the 18-month period prior to that, at the time it met all the latest energy efficiency standards and was graded on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) report as efficiency level C.
The management and trustees of The Brightwell understand the importance of doing their part to address the climate emergency and have committed to carbon neutrality by 2050.
In 2019 The Brightwell launched “Project Green” in order to help The Brightwell meet its environmental responsibility goals, as well as to create a more secure and sustainable financial future for the charity.
Electricity is used for everything in Bradbury House, except the gas underfloor heating and hot water to the eight sinks used in the various WC and treatment areas. The overall cost of electricity varies throughout the year, depending on how much is generated through the solar panels. Electricity costs and usage have increased since August 2022, as we are now generating our own oxygen.
Existing Energy Saving Strategies
The charity was very fortunate that Solarsense donated 114 solar panels which were installed on the roof of The Brightwell in December 2019. These have allowed significant savings on costs, with major savings in the summer of 2022 due to the exceptional levels of sunshine.
These panels can create up to 28.5kW of electricity per hour on bright days. The estimate has been made that they can generate up to an impressive 29,000kWh per annum.
However, because we do not have storage batteries at this stage and as Total, our current energy provider, does not offer a suitable package for us to return energy to the grid, we are not yet enjoying the full benefits of these panels. Solar panels have proven to provide cost-saving for us, but savings are currently being lost through overproduction. The installation of a large storage battery is planned but the immediate need is to try and make urgent and significant savings on the overall cost of electricity.
LED Light Conversion
After taking professional advice, it was estimated that the cost saving per light fitting would be a massive 80%, with approximately £2,500 pa of the current electricity costs is due to lighting. With new tariffs and price caps being lowered this could increase by five or six times, to an eye-watering £15,000 pa just on lighting. The charity could not possibly afford the electricity based on using the current fittings, without making significant cuts elsewhere, which may impact our members well-being. The conversion to LED lighting is therefore essential.
Replacement Outside Lighting
In January 2023 after a significant donation from a corporate sponsor, via the Brightwell 100, all of the exterior lights were converted to LED. Before this the outdoor lights were disproportionately more expensive than the inside lighting to run. The replacement programme of all the lights on the 13 lamp posts and all exterior wall fittings to LED has been a significant step forward and when this installation took place the cost savings were immediate.
Whenever possible staff and volunteers have received guidelines to ensure that all the lights are switched off whenever practical, and the air conditioning units go onto standby mode, which can be obviously turned on or overridden for the comfort of all users. All Brightwell users and visitors are also encouraged to recycle and use reusable products where possible.
During the spring and summer of 2022, a number of significant building projects have taken place at The Brightwell including the whole development of an area, previously used for storage, which has enabled us to build the new cafe seating space, new offices for the administration and fundraising teams, a new smaller storage area and a state-of-the-art conference/ meeting room. These new facilities have been built with efficiency and cost savings in mind and have extensive use of natural light coming into the new office and LED lighting in the cafe seating area. The new cafe facility should be open in August 2023 and will also be to the most energy efficient standards.
Included in the renovations and new build projects for the summer of 2022 was the installation of our own oxygen generation system. This was always going to be to give the centre independence away from the supplier and to avoid their rapidly rising costs and to help maintain a high level of supply to our hyperbaric therapy tank with sufficient capacity to build a further tank in the future. However, the costings of running the new oxygen generation units were based on the cost of energy at the time of the design (late 2020) The rising cost of electricity will have an impact as the new compressor uses 37kw of power compared to the previous one working at 15 kw.
The overall environmental impacts are still very positive including there are no longer frequent deliveries using large tankers driving through the local housing estate and past the primary school located next door to The Brightwell.
New Boiler System
This expense was unfortunately was not a planned or budgeted for.
The heating system, although only ten years old, was a very costly commercial system when it was installed but had proven to be very expensive and unreliable over the past few years. After a complete failure the system was condemned.
Although the expense of £10,000 was not budgeted for, the installation of the new system in February 2023 does mean that the new boiler meets the top specifications in terms of efficiency and green credentials
Future Plans - subject to funding
Subject to being able to get funding the following projects are next on our list.
1 LED Lighting conversion in the Physiotherapy department.
When the space to be used for the physio department was designed the window area was comparatively small compared to the rest of the building.
The facility as a whole is a great space for all the equipment and the hoisting system is perfect. However, due to the limited natural light and the fact that the department is used extensively during the week the lights are on for most of the time,
Therefore, the Physio department’s lighting being converted to LED is top of the list. The estimated cost for this is £5,000 with an estimated 30-month payback period.
2. Remaining Internal LED lighting
This ideally should be done throughout the building, before the darker nights occur, so realistically before October 2023,
The cost will also be about £5,000 with a 30-month payback period.
3. 100Kw Battery Storage
We are seeking funding to install a 100Kw storage battery, to save money, and meet our environmental responsibility. As mentioned above The charity was very fortunate to have been given 114 250w solar panels through a partnership with solar company Solarsense. Cost savings, through having this level of battery storage, will come from the ability to generate oxygen for the next day’s sessions overnight using stored electricity, when our electricity unit cost is cheaper. Based on 4 quotes and surveys undertaken, we are also confident that for most of the year power generated solely at weekends when the Centre is closed would allow us to run the oxygen generation system, cost-free for up to two days per week.
We estimate that the cost will be £90,000 and we have to look at this in terms of the key issues issues.
Rise in energy prices leading to the potential for bills to be at an unsustainable level, affecting service delivery.
Wastage of power generated by our solar array
Ensuring a financially stable future for the Charity
Commitment to Carbon neutrality by 2050
How to find out more
If you would like to discuss any of our Environmental policies or aims or would like to help or contribute, please contact Victoria Hocquard email Victoria.Hocquard@thebrightwell.org.uk