Business type: School and Leisure Centre
Equipment type: LED Lighting & Solar PV
Finance solution: £200k+ Operating Lease
Set in the small rural town of Shepton Mallet, in picturesque Somerset, lies Whitstone School, a small secondary school supporting just over 500 local students. Their ethos ‘Inspiring Futures’ is truly followed through by focusing on fulfilling the potential of every student and continuing to engage and support members of the local community throughout all stages of life via the School and school-owned Shepton Mallet Leisure Centre.
Despite the School’s bright outlook, their finances were overcast by the same challenges as many other organisations; rising energy costs, made worse by their existing lighting system which was outdated and inefficient, making it ever more expensive to run and maintain each year. The School’s desire to save energy and make improvements grew, however the upfront cost to invest in such energy efficiency measures far exceeded their budget.
Looking for alternative finance solutions, Devlina Main (Business Manager at Whitstone School) approached UK Energy Watch, an energy consultant specialising in energy management, low carbon technology design and renewable energy solutions for organisations.
After conducting an initial audit of the School, a tailored solution was recommend entailing the installation of energy efficient technologies such as LED Lighting and renewable energy technologies such as Solar PV.
With funding being the primary obstacle for the School, UK Energy Watch worked alongside their vendor finance provider Shire Leasing to deliver the solution via an Operating Lease; the only lease compliant with the Department of Education.
Once the funding was in place, UK Energy Watch were able to install energy efficient LED Lighting through the whole school and install Solar Panels on the roof, totalling in excess of £200,000. With the school generating its own clean energy and the overall consumption drastically decreased, the new system is forecasted to save over £27,000 and 110 Tonnes in CO2 annually (forecasted by UK Energy Watch). Furthermore, the lighting levels of the School and Leisure Centre’s learning and working environments have been hugely enhanced and revitalised, bringing further holistic benefits to students.
Reflecting on the project, Devlina Main, Business Manager at Whitstone School said, “We have used Shire Leasing for the first time recently and they were very helpful in arranging finance for solar panels and LED lighting for our school.
“This project has allowed us to take action into our own stride and achieve a huge step in reducing our carbon footprint and energy costs. The whole process was really smooth and efficient, from the initial energy consultancy with UK Energy Watch to the financial expertise and compliance support from Shire Leasing.
“It’s been a brilliant learning experience that we have been able to get our students involved in too and the improved lighting will continue to benefit our students, staff members and the local community of Shepton Mallet for many years to come.”
Ashley Bullock, Director of UK Energy Watch said, “One of the primary obstacles to installing low carbon and renewable energy technology, like many schools, is funding. Working with Shire Leasing has been excellent and their knowledge of public sector financial compliance has been second to none. Between the three of us, we’ve shown that it is possible for any school, college or university to take carbon action into their own hands to invest in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.”