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Category Archive: Energy Efficiency

  1. Using Air To Heat the EVI

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    In an age where saving money and being aware of your carbon footprint is more important than ever, the Ebbw Vale Institute has been through it’s very own energy efficient makeover.

    We’ve already told you about changing all the lighting in this historic building to LED lights after receiving funding from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme. In this article we’ll tell you about the changes made to improve draught exclusion and the heating source.

    The EVI is a Grade II listed EVI ran by ProMo-Cymru. We are a landmark community venue dating back to 1849. We provide a programme of creative activities, learning and social enterprise developments. A variety of third sector organisations have settled into the EVI and we welcome over 5,000 people a month.

    Banishing the drafts

    New automatic door closers were installed

    It’s inevitable that a big historic public building like this has draughts and this was a big problem when it came to the EVI’s energy bills. Doors were left open all the time so it took more energy to heat up rooms, empty rooms were being heated when it wasn’t needed and tenants were using electric heaters to warm their rooms.

    Following receiving £32,523 through the WCVA funded scheme we decided to use some of this to try banishing the drafts and improving the energy efficiency of the building.

    Automatic door closers were fitted on top of the doors. Automatic controls were fitted on the radiators, meaning they activate only when the room is occupied. This saves energy on unnecessarily heating an empty room.

    “We identified that the kitchen and the recording studio were the areas with the highest energy consumption,” explains Samantha James, Operations Coordinator at the EVI.

    “So we had energy meters installed and we took corrective action to reduce the power requirements in the kitchen.”

    Cold air and warm rooms

    Using cold air to dry hands saves energy

    The hand driers in the toilets were replaced with eco-driers, which use cold air rather than warm air. This should reduce energy consumption and reduce the use of hand towels.

    “Many of our tenants and hirers had been using electrical heaters to warm cold areas of the building. We’ve now installed energy efficient wall heaters which ensure safety and efficiency.” adds Samantha.

    “The heaters are on 10 minute timers and are invaluable when it comes to eradicating cold spots.”

    Using air to heat

    ProMo-Cymru took over the running of the historic building over ten years ago, saving it from demolition. The building went through a huge regeneration and energy efficiency was top priority back then too. Two state of the art air heat pumps were installed.

    The 40kW air source heat pumps were installed at the rear of the building and provided low-grade heat. These would work with the original cast iron radiators as well as installing SmartRads to keep the building warm. A gas boiler was also installed to supplement the heat pumps in extremely cold weather.

    Using air to heat the historic building saves money and energy

    Problems and solutions

    We carried out an inspection of the heat pumps when we were looking at making further energy efficiency changes and found that one was not operating. The pumps had been running at significantly different times on the compressors. There was a blocked condensate pipe with fluid leaking and the piping was too small and poorly insulated. The pumps were also operating at 50 degrees, which is expensive to run. It made up 41% of the EVI’s energy consumption.

    But we didn’t have the funds to fix these issues and repair the heat pumps, resulting in having to use the back up gas boiler in the winter. This caused a spike in energy usage, while the inefficient heat pumps were still running and increasing consumption further.

    “The funding received through the Landfill Disposal Tax Community Scheme came to the EVI’s rescue and allowed the repairs to go ahead,” says a relieved Samantha.

    “The EVI is once again being heated primarily through the energy efficient heat pumps.”


    Check out our other article looking at the changes made to the lighting at the EVI to help cut costs and become more energy efficient.

    This is a WCVA supported project made possible through the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme.


    If you’re interested in hiring facilities at the EVi then contact us to find out more.

  2. An Energy Efficient EVi: Lighting The Way Forward

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    It’s been a hive of activity at the Ebbw Vale Institute (EVi) recently with lots of energy efficiency works going on thanks to generous funding from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme managed by the WCVA. All work is now complete and we wanted to let you know exactly what we’ve been doing.

    EVi cafe for Energy Efficiency article

    The EVi is ran by ProMo-Cymru. We are a landmark community venue that provides a programme of creative activities, learning and social enterprise developments. We are home to a variety of third sector organisations, welcoming over 5,000 people a month.

    One aspect of the work to reduce energy consumption at this historic building was the lighting improvements, which we will look at in this article. We’ll also take a look at why LED lighting is a good idea for all homes and buildings.

    Light Improvements

    A massive 21%* of the EVi’s energy consumption went towards keeping all the lights on. It’s a big building so it needs a lot of light!  (*Results of an energy review carried out by REW)

    “Our lighting was out of date and inefficient,” explains Samantha James, Operations Coordinator at the EVi.

    “The fluorescent tubes were constantly shorting out, some of the diffusers were broken and we were continuously purchasing new bulbs.” 

    The main hall is the biggest space in the building. The space has been hired out for live performances, conferences, exhibitions, private parties, weddings and more. But two banks of lights in the main hall were not working, not a great look when hiring out the space to people! But the cost of replacing them was high, not just because they needed specialist bulbs, but also scaffolding had to be hired and specialised electricians had to be called in repeatedly to fit them.

    Funding Success

    A solution had to be sought, and the funding received from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme made this possible.

    “We used some of the £32,523 we received to source state of the art LED lighting for the hall,” said Samantha.

    “The scaffolding and works were organised and carried out with no disruption to any of the groups hiring the hall.”

    And it’s not just the hall that’s had a lighting make over. The entire buildings lighting has been converted to LED.

    The benefits of LED *

    LED, or a Light Emitting Diode, uses up to 90% less energy. While a traditional bulb produces a lot of heat to be able to produce light, an LED uses far less heat to do the same thing and is therefore much more energy efficient.

    Lighting can make up to 20% of your energy bills so you can make significant savings by switching to LED. They also last, about 20 times longer than a traditional light bulb, meaning you don’t have to keep popping out to buy bulbs and change them all the time. Another bonus is that LED bulbs are also recyclable, as they don’t contain mercury like some older bulbs.

    The good news for anyone who’s thinking of changing to LED is that there’s been a big reduction in prince since they first came out, and it’s not just spotlights anymore either. There’s now a wide range available, like bayonet, screw or strip lights even. (*Information source: 7 Reasons Why You Should Swap To LED Lighting – thegreenage.co.uk)


    Check back with us soon when we’ll be looking at the draught and heating improvement works that have been carried out at the EVi.

    This is a WCVA supported project made possible through the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme.

    If you’re interested in hiring facilities at the EVi then contact us to find out more.

  3. Increasing Energy Efficiency At The EVi

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    The Ebbw Vale Institute is pleased to announce that we have received £32,523 funding from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme. This is a Welsh Government fund programme managed by WCVA.

    We will be improving energy efficiency at the EVi increasing the local biodiversity and involving the community through volunteering and sharing what we learn.   

    The EVi 

    The EVi is ran by ProMo-Cymru. We are a landmark community venue that provides a programme of creative activities, learning and social enterprise developments. We are home to a variety of third sector organisations including Barnardo’sBlaenau Gwent Youth ServicesLlamauLeeders Vale, Careers Wales and Learn About Us.   
     
    Over 5000 people a month visit us here at the EVi, with a wide variety of uses and users for this community building. Reducing energy usage in a large building like this creates major savings and helps reduce our carbon footprint. 

    EVi outside for Energy Efficiency article

    Improving the building

    This year marks the 170th year of the EVi. It’s been over a decade since ProMo-Cymru took over the running of the building. When we originally moved in, we knew that it needed a lot of work to improve the fabric of the building. From the very beginning we worked with the future in mind. We installed two state of the art ground heat pumps to make heating more efficient. Thanks to this fund, we will soon be implementing a number of other energy saving features. We will also be involving the community as volunteers to help increase biodiversity around the building.

    Energy efficiency and cost-saving may not sound very exciting to those using the building, but it is very important to all that goes on at the EVi. This behind the scenes work allows the EVi to continue to support the local community. Over the next year we will be asking volunteers and staff to share what makes it such a special place to work and play. We are also excited to get the young people who use the building to share what they are doing. We will broadcast everything over our digital channels. This ensures that everyone gets to see the work that ProMo-Cymru and the community does to develop sustainability in Ebbw Vale.


    This is a WCVA supported project made possible through the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme.

    If you’re interested in hiring facilities at the EVi then contact us to find out more.