Independent evaluation of the Support and Advice to Businesses around Renewable Energy (SABRE) project

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1 Independent evaluation of the Support and Advice to Businesses around Renewable Energy (SABRE) project Undertaken by Carbon Minded Ltd 2014 Independent evaluation of the SABRE project 1

2 Our experience with Ben Coulter, the SABRE Auditor, was first class. 2 Independent evaluation of the SABRE project

3 Contents Foreword 5 The SABRE service 6 Evaluation terms of reference 7 Project objectives 8 What impact did the project have? 9 Have the objectives been met? 12 What did participants think? 14 Why did businesses take part? 16 Conclusions 20 Independent evaluation of the SABRE project 3

4 SABRE was amazingly helpful! We simply did not have the time or knowledge to look into the alternative options. Valley Farm Equestrian Centre 4 Independent evaluation of the SABRE project

5 Foreword With the SABRE project now coming to an end I d like to thank our project partners Groundwork Suffolk, the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership and the East of England ERDF Growth Delivery Team. And most importantly I d like to thank all of the businesses that took part in SABRE to make it the great success it has been. Over the past three years SABRE has helped 120 Suffolk businesses review their potential for generating their own energy. Investing in renewable energy can benefit businesses economically, reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, cut their carbon footprint and demonstrate their commitment to the green economy. SABRE s support has been innovative in a number of ways: Independent and impartial support an element greatly valued by participants Right time - by requiring participants to have already taken steps to tackle their resource efficiency meant that they were at the right point in their journey to review their renewable energy options Follow up support - for the duration of the project all businesses could benefit from further support after their initial review to enable them to take action Improving the efficiency of businesses by examining the bottom line costs of energy, waste and water use is essential for enabling growth in every sector of our economy. Green Business services like SABRE are vital in supporting this and I am pleased to announce that the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership with Groundwork Suffolk will be continuing to provide renewable energy support as a legacy of this project. Cllr Beccy Hopfensperger Cabinet Member for Localities and Environment, Suffolk County Council Independent evaluation of the SABRE project 5

6 SABRE Free impartial support and advice to businesses around Renewable Energy The SABRE service SABRE Free impartial support and advice to businesses around Renewable Energy The SABRE service included: An on-site renewable energy feasibility review A renewable energy feasibility review report by a Groundwork Suffolk SABRE Adviser An illustration of the most appropriate renewable energy technologies for the organisation A clear indication of the costs and benefits of each recommended technology An estimate of how much carbon and money could be saved through installation of a renewable technology A simple guide to the commissioning process A guide to the planning implications of the installation Signposting to accredited installers and other organisations for further support 6 Independent evaluation of the SABRE project SABRE Support and Advice to Businesses around Renewable Energy The SABRE project offered small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and SABRE social enterprises (SEs) in Suffolk the opportunity to discover their potential to generate renewable energy by providing them with independent Support and Advice to Businesses and around impartial Renewable support Energy and advice on investment opportunities created by the Feed-in Tariff and the Renewable Heat Incentive. This support helped SMEs understand how they could generate their own energy, reduce their carbon footprint and even generate an income for their organisations. SABRE was a three-year partnership project between Groundwork Suffolk and Suffolk County Council on behalf of the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership and was part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The project supported 120 businesses over three years and everyone who took part in the project received a free independent and impartial Renewable Energy Feasibility Review along with further free support and advice on renewable energy to assist them in taking recommendations forward.

7 The terms of reference The Brief The Suffolk County Council brief stated that the final project evaluation report should be innovative and be set within the context of the current economic climate. It should include an executive summary that summarises the key findings and be written in an accessible format for businesses to understand. It was also a requirement that the final project evaluation report should include a comprehensive analysis of all elements of the support provided to the businesses and the processes involved in the project as well as the performance of the project against its ERDF output and results targets. The report should also include a detailed analysis of the project s achievements including the total capacity of renewable energy technologies installed, analysis of technologies installed, most applicable technology to Suffolk, financial savings, income savings, cost savings, and main opportunities identified. Terms of reference In light of the Suffolk County Council brief the key Terms of Reference for Carbon Minded on the evaluation of the project can be summarised as follows: Have the original project objectives been met? Have the desired project outcomes been achieved? What are the key findings of the project? What impact did the project have? What benefits are there for stakeholders? Was the project s delivery approach effective? What lessons have been learned? What would be done differently in future? Background Carbon Minded Ltd was awarded a contract by competitive process to research and prepare an independent and objective evaluation report which establishes SABRE s impact against identified outputs and results. CarbonMinded. About the Author Carbon Minded Ltd is a carbon and energy consultancy with broad experience in helping organisations who wish not only to minimise their environmental impact, but to do so in a way that makes good business sense. We carry out climate change strategies, renewable and low carbon technology feasibility studies, carbon footprinting and energy audits for organisations of all shapes and sizes. Independent evaluation of the SABRE project 7

8 Project objectives The goals of the programme There were three goals to be met at the beginning of this programme: The number of businesses that were aided with Priority 2 Assistance The number of businesses that completed environmental related initiatives The number of businesses that have integrated new products, processes or services O2.2 Number/type of SMEs receiving Priority 2 assistance risk capital This is the support that was provided to the businesses and included the site visit and the renewable energy feasibility review report written for them. R5 Number/type of successful environmental related initiatives in SMEs Within the programme structure it was deemed that the Renewable Energy Feasibility Review and the associated report would count as the R5 target. As a result, every business that received a Renewable Energy Feasibility Review would also achieve an R5. The R5 target for the project was 95. R13 Number of businesses integrating new products, processes or services The final goal within the programme was for 25 businesses to actually carry out some form of renewable or resource efficiency work. This included any resulting changes to resource efficiency e.g. by process, products or services put in place as a result of the SABRE intervention e.g. a renewable energy installation or resource efficiency work like insulation or LED lighting. The target for R13 was 25. The total number of businesses achieving either an R5 or R13 would together total 120 which equals the number of businesses assisted O Independent evaluation of the SABRE project

9 What was the project impact? 64,000 tco 2 e identified 9m identified 4,000 tco 2 e expected 850,000 expected 158 tco 2 e delivered 30,000 delivered CO 2 e Savings* Financial Benefit* *The figures noted are annual savings and benefits Independent evaluation of the SABRE project 9

10 The impact on business 76% of businesses are now more resource efficient 60% would not have installed renewables if they hadn't taken part in the SABRE project 75% of businesses increased their understanding of renewables 90% of businesses increased their understanding of FITs and RHI 55% of businesses are more environmentally aware 10 Independent evaluation of the SABRE project

11 SABRE has helped to engage senior management. Case Study: Denny Bros Ltd 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Our organisation has benefitted economically from undertaking the SABRE service 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree or disagree Agree Strongly agree Our organisation has reduced its carbon footprint as a result of undertaking the SABRE service. Company Information Sector: Print and Media No of Staff: 70 Location: Bury St Edmunds Turnover: 6 million pa Solutions and Benefits Size of installation: 50 kwp PV Payback: Less than 5 years CO 2 savings: 468 tonnes over 20 years Background Denny Bros was a general printer until the 1970 s when they invented and patented the leaflet label Fix-a-Form. In 2008 they achieved ISO14001 accreditation and have since undertaken several resource efficiency projects reducing their electricity use by over 40%, gas by 28% and water usage by nearly 50%. SABRE support Denny Bros reviewed SABRE s recommendations and chose to install solar PV alongside a voltage optimisation system. It provided them with a worthwhile return on investment and provided 6-8% of their annual electricity supply. SABRE gave further support to help identify suppliers and the system s specification. SABRE has helped us to deliver an excellent solar PV installation and greatly increased our awareness of renewable technology. We are now considering biomass with SABRE s support and are planning further lighting upgrades to LED during 2014 and more areas controlled by proximity sensors. 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Independent evaluation of the SABRE project 11

12 Have the objectives been met? Critical success criteria The key factors that contributed to the success of SABRE included: Knowledgeable adviser: The results of the surveys show overwhelmingly that the businesses valued the knowledge and expertise of the Groundwork Suffolk adviser that visited their premises. The relationship between adviser and business, particularly over long periods of time, is particularly important as this can be a key factor in whether the business chooses to continue to engage with the programme or simply take the free support and do nothing more to implement any of the recommendations. The support of Suffolk County Council: As shown by the surveys over 55% of businesses that responded stated that they valued the impartial nature of the advice on offer. The position of trust held by the local authority is critical to engaging businesses in the programme that may otherwise be unwilling to speak to consultants or sales people from renewables installers. Free of charge support: Over 50% of the businesses surveyed cited lack of capital as a reason for not investing in renewables. This indicates that the free nature of the support was an important factor in attracting businesses to sign up to the programme to determine if the RHI and FITs could help them develop the business case for financing renewable programmes using alternative sources of funding. In Focus: Valley Farm Equestrian Leisure Company Information Sector: Sports No. of Staff: 11 Location: Wickham Market Turnover: 500,000 pa Solutions and Benefits Size of Installation: 12.5 kw ASHP Installation Cost: 4,120 Payback: 16 years Cost Savings: 250 pa CO 2 Savings: 3 tonnes pa SABRE Support A renewable energy feasibility review was conducted by SABRE and recommended that they look into either a woodburner or air source heat pump to heat the visitor cafe. SABRE helped Valley Farm find both suppliers and installers and is continuing to provide advice since the installation, looking at ASHP for the children s swimming pool. SABRE was amazingly helpful! We simply did not have the time or knowledge to look into the alternative options. Our air source heat pump is fantastic and we are now thinking of getting one for the pony camp swimming pool - but only with help from SABRE again! 12 Independent evaluation of the SABRE project

13 120 SMEs receiving Priority 2 assistance Target met O2.2 SABRE Free impartial support and advice to businesses around Renewable Energy SABRE Free impartial support and advice to businesses around Renewable Energy SABRE Support and Advice to Businesses around Renewable Energy SABRE Support and Advice to Businesses around Renewable Energy R5 95 successful environmental related initiatives in SMEs Target met R13 25 businesses integrating new products, processes or services 80% of Target met remainder expected before the end of project Independent evaluation of the SABRE project 13

14 What did the participants think? Within the evaluation process every business that received support from the SABRE project was asked to provide feedback via two surveys provided to the supported businesses at different points in their support programme. The report was very useful to try and drive forward strategic energy considerations and educate Governors on potential renewable options. We have found the report most helpful and constantly refer to it. From these survey responses representative feedback included: The report was very clear and helpful. SABRE has helped us get more into the mind set to make other changes which are environmentally beneficial e.g. purchasing a car which can run on veg oil and solar panels on our yurts for their LED lighting 14 Independent evaluation of the SABRE project

15 Case Study: KindWater Ltd SABRE has also helped us get more into the mind set to make other changes which are environmentally beneficial We recommend SABRE to anyone considering installing a renewable technology Company Information Sector: Water Softeners No of Staff: 11 Location: Pettistree, Suffolk Turnover: 2 million pa Solutions and Benefits: Size of installation: 14 kw ASHP Cost savings: 1,000 pa CO 2 savings: 6.4 tonnes pa Payback: 7 years Background KindWater was established in 2001 and quickly grew to be the UK s second largest installer of water softeners to both domestic and commercial properties. Having installed insulation, draught proofing and energy efficient lighting, they turned to SABRE for advice on heating their offices in a rural location with no mains gas. SABRE support After a site visit by the SABRE adviser KindWater received a renewable energy feasibility review which recommended options of a wood burning stove, a wood pellet boiler and an air-source heat- pump (ASHP). KindWater chose to make the larger investment required for the ASHP with underfloor heating. Where next? With the ASHP offering environmental benefits of a carbon footprint which is one third that of other electrically powered heating systems, KindWater have the potential to become carbon neutral with a phase 2 investment in solar PV when funds permit. Independent evaluation of the SABRE project 15

16 Why did businesses take part? As part of this evaluation process, it has been important to identify areas where lessons can be learnt to help inform the development and delivery of future projects. Key lessons learned through the delivery of the project include: Support from schemes such as SABRE is in high demand SMEs do respond to well developed and practical opportunities for energy, carbon, and cost savings Managing the conflicting issues of value for money verses complete support is difficult especially in a publicly funded project. 16 Independent evaluation of the SABRE project Our business wanted to reduce our company s carbon emissions 13% 44% 56% 44% 56% Important to our business Not so important to our business During the evaluation, the first survey asked why each individual organisation decided to become involved in the SABRE project and they were presented with options to choose from. Respondents were able to select as many options as applied to them. Our business wanted to reduce its annual energy bills and save money 87% The reasons were: Reduce annual energy bills/ save money Find out more about the Feed in Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive Use the project as a green publicity/marketing tool/ unique selling point Our business wanted to install renewable energy technologies Install renewable energy technologies Reduce company carbon emission Increase competitive advantage Demonstrate environmental credentials to existing clients Attract new customers

17 Was the review successful? 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% The report was very useful to try and drive forward strategic energy considerations and educate Governors on potential renewable options. 20% 10% 0% Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree or disagree Agree Strongly agree The standard of the site visit was appropriate The auditor's technical knowledge was appropriate The length of the site visit was appropriate My organisation's objectives for the site visit were met Independent evaluation of the SABRE project 17

18 Was the feasibility review report useful? The information in the report was easy to understand The level of detail of the report was appropriate 23% 3% 10% 19% 13% Following the individual site survey by Groundwork Suffolk each of the 120 businesses supported under this programme were provided with a bespoke renewable energy feasibility review report. 64% Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree or disagree Agree Strongly agree 68% The report detailed all of the available and economically viable renewable and/or resource efficiency projects that were available to the businesses. This amounted to a potential of 219 individual projects across the 120 businesses. They ranged from simple 2.5 kw PV systems to 2MW anaerobic digestion plants, and represented the full spectrum of current renewable and resource efficiency technologies. 18 Independent evaluation of the SABRE project

19 Case Study: John Gosden Racing Company Information Sector: Sports No of Staff: 75 Location: Newmarket, Suffolk Turnover: 2 million pa Solutions and Benefits Size of installation: 20 kwp PV, loft insulation and LEDs Cost savings: 5,000 pa CO 2 savings: 20t Payback: 4 years Background John Gosden is a racehorse trainer who has trained over 2,000 winners since Considered to be one of the most successful racehorse trainers of his generation, he is now based at Clarehaven stables, Newmarket. John and his team have always worked hard to reduce the company s environmental impact and costs. SABRE support After a site visit by the SABRE adviser, John Gosden Racing received a renewable energy feasibility review which recommended a number of actions. SABRE then continued to provide further support, talking them through the best way to implement solar panels and installing site wide loft insulation and LED lighting. Where next John and his team continue to work hard to reduce their environmental impact. They are committed to: site wide recycling; newer and fuel efficient horse boxes; a 45 mpg average for cars; producing 85,000 tpa of natural CHP fuel and fertiliser; cloud computing and remote maintenance. Case Study: Sackers Recycling Company Information Sector: Waste & Recycling No of Staff: 50+ Location: Great Blakenham and Needham Market Turnover: 27 million pa Solutions and Benefits Size of installation: 50 kwp PV Installation Cost: 76,000 Cost savings: 2,620 pa CO 2 savings: tonnes pa Payback: 9-14 years Background Founded in 1929, Sackers provides waste collection, recycling & disposal for businesses & domestic households. Waste reduction equipment was using around 2,881,400 kwh, costing 238,000 in 2011 with a carbon footprint of 1, tonnes pa. Sackers green ethos made renewables the natural next step. SABRE support The SABRE report reviewed the costs & savings of solar PV, a wind turbine and anaerobic digestion. Sackers choose to install solar PV at the Great Blakenham site, as the energy draw, building layout and potential capacity was ideal for this technology. SABRE continued to provide support, helping review the quotations. We recommend SABRE to anyone considering installing a renewable technology or who is trying to work out what their resource efficiency options are. Their information gave a lot of comfort in knowing we were dealing with people who knew the market, and their impartial advice was great to receive Independent evaluation of the SABRE project 19

20 Conclusions Is the project an effective means of reducing emissions? During this evaluation it was clear that the CO 2 impact was significant with 64,000 tco 2 e annual savings identified and a total of 4,000 tco 2 e annual savings expected in the next two years. The projects expected to be delivered in the next two years have the potential to save over 80,000 tco 2 e over their 20 year lifetime. The SABRE project has already assisted in the delivery of 22 energy efficiency and renewable installations at 20 businesses, with an expectation that another 5 business will complete identified projects by the end of September The total carbon savings of these projects are around 158 tonnes of CO 2 e per annum which is almost 3,160 tonnes of CO 2 e over their lifetime, over 155kW of Solar PV and Air Source Heat Pumps have been installed. In financial terms these savings equate to an annual financial benefit 9m for the identified projects, 850,000 for the expected projects and 30,000 worth of annual savings for those projects already delivered. In addition to the significant savings described above, it has been shown that when 20 Independent evaluation of the SABRE project prompted with intensive support, businesses also increase their installations of resource efficiency projects. This is an inadvertent benefit of the SABRE project as it was originally designed to highlight viable renewable projects. Indeed, the participants definitely believe that the project was worthwhile in improving their own emissions in that the majority of them over 60% - believed that they had reduced their emissions as a direct result of this. A conclusion could be drawn that when businesses had intensive support under the SABRE project they changed their way of thinking in relation to the environment. This does appear to be borne out in the results from the second survey with over 50% of organisations stating that they better appreciate the need to change their organisational behaviour to enable them to become more resource efficient and to reduce their environmental impact. Furthermore, over 50% stated that their employee engagement in environmental issues had increased as a result of the SABRE service and that 70% of businesses believed that the SABRE project had helped engage senior management. Following the evaluation by Carbon Minded and as described fully within the associated technical analysis document, it can be stated with certainty that not only is the project an effective means of reducing emissions that are quantifiable, there are additional significant reductions that will be realised, even though they are unlikely to be quantifiable.

21 This success in reducing emissions is by no means the only benefit to Suffolk as there are wider benefits to the local economy. There are over 50 renewable projects likely to be delivered over the next 2 years, with over 840,000 going back into the local economy every year, and a potential of 16,800,000 going into the local economy over the 20 year life of the projects. According to the results of both surveys, the local economy will also benefit as the local labour force are likely to install a significant proportion of the equipment and this could deliver around 1.1m to the local economy over the next two years. As noted, there have already been 22 energy efficiency and renewable installations across 20 businesses, and it is expected that another 5 businesses will complete identified projects by September The financial benefits of these 22 projects are significant with total annual savings of over 30,000 pa which equates to over 630,000 on a 20 year lifetime including RHI/FIT payments of around 8,000 pa with around 170,000 on a 20 year lifetime. In putting these savings in context, businesses in the UK at the beginning of the SABRE project were increasingly squeezed financially and any cost savings or extra revenue generated from energy efficiency and renewables would go straight to the bottom line. So although SABRE was aimed at making business more sustainable, it has also made them more robust, more competitive, and more financially viable for the long term. Can the project be replicated in the rest of the UK? The SABRE project could be easily replicated in other areas of the UK by setting up a project team that included: The local authority or other business support organisation as a trusted service provider A knowledgeable and experienced adviser that can impartially advise businesses of their options A source of funding which would allow the service to be provided free of charge to businesses The SABRE team have done an excellent job in the delivery and their experience could be used to replicate the success of this project throughout the UK. Craig Copeland Director, Carbon Minded Limited. Independent evaluation of the SABRE project 21

22 Acknowledgements SABRE was delivered by its Project Team Emma Flint SABRE Project Manager, Suffolk County Council David Walton SABRE Project Chair, Suffolk County Council Dominic Munro-McCarthy SABRE Project Claims Management, Suffolk County Council Matt Hullis - SABRE Project Sponsor, Suffolk County Council Councillor Rebecca Hopfensperger Cabinet Member for Localities and Environment, Suffolk County Council Emma James SABRE Project PR & Marketing, Suffolk County Council Anna Martin - SABRE Project Manager, Groundwork Suffolk Natalie Phillips SABRE Project Finance, Groundwork Suffolk Ben Coulter SABRE Project Adviser, Groundwork Suffolk Kirsty Pattrick - Contract Management Executive, East of England Growth Delivery Team, Department for Communities and Local Government For further information about SABRE please contact: Emma Flint Environment Strategy Manager Suffolk County Council Endeavour House 8 Russell Road Ipswich IP1 2BX Alternatively visit for project case studies and other information. SABRE was an active participant in the New Anglia LEP Green Economy Pathfinder. For more information visit SABRE was a three-year partnership project between Groundwork Suffolk and Suffolk County Council on behalf of the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership and was part financed by the European Regional Development Fund. 22 Independent evaluation of the SABRE project

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