“It was straight forward and went extremely smoothly. Everyone was helpful and kept us well informed throughout the entire project. If businesses can finance it themselves then why wait!? Do it now and you will see the benefits pretty quickly. This project has helped us work towards meeting our charitable objectives, enabling us to do our bit in taking steps to protect our future whilst financially migrating risks.”
– Fearn Ainsworth, Commercial Development Manager at the Showground.
When asked what her what her one piece of advice would be, to anyone thinking of turning to renewables, Fearn Ainsworth said: “Do it sooner rather than later. Costs are continuing to increase for businesses and that’s not just energy bills. Everything is going up, so it makes sense when the return on investment is so good!”
The Norfolk Showground, situated on the outskirts of Norwich, is one of the largest indoor event spaces in Norfolk. Their prime location and host of facilities make them a nationally recognised venue for events from concerts to conferences.
Supporting local businesses has always been a high priority for the Showground and where they can they opt for local produce, goods and suppliers. This is partly why, back in 2014, they choose Indigo Swan to be their trusted energy consultant, and we have managed their gas and electricity contracts since.
Due to the large size of the premises, high energy usage and volatile markets the Showground was experiencing large electrical costs. These factors combined with their passion for becoming a more sustainable business, is why they decided to investigate renewable technologies available to them. As we already worked closely with the Showground, it made sense for them to begin their conversation with us.
We helped the Showground install a 240kw solar PV system on the south side roof space of their main exhibition building. We assessed their usage profile along with their connection to the grid and alongside our trusted partner Power Different, designed a system which would offer a return on investment by year 4.5.
We spoke to Fearn Ainsworth, Commercial Development Manager at the Showground. When we asked her what her one piece of advice would be, to anyone thinking of turning to renewables, she said: “Do it sooner rather than later. Costs are continuing to increase for businesses and that’s not just energy bills. Everything is going up, so it makes sense when the return on investment is so good!”
The first stage of the process was to visit the site and carry out a full survey. This technical audit highlighted some potential areas that would need addressing prior to installation to make sure they saw the most impact. Under advice, they decided to clad both the north and south side of the roof to stop recurring leaks and strengthen the structure. In order to receive additional payback, the decision was also made to cover the buildings skylights so that further panels could be added.
The installation of the panels took just 3 weeks, of which there were a number of contractors on site carrying out work. Due to the Showgrounds busy event schedule, contractors worked around their time schedule in order to provide minimal disruption. Overall, the Showground had very positive feedback about how the project went commenting: “It was straight forward and went extremely smoothly. Everyone was helpful and kept us well informed throughout the entire project.”
Fearn commented: “If businesses can finance it themselves then why wait!? Do it now and you will see the benefits pretty quickly. This project has helped us work towards meeting our charitable objectives, enabling us to do our bit in taking steps to protect our future whilst financially migrating risks.”
This project was one of the first big steps in their sustainable journey and has been a test pilot for adding further solar panels to other buildings on the site. The staged approached has allowed them to see the extremely positive impact and financial benefits before investing in further technology.
The Showground now proudly generates 102% of their electricity through sustainable sources and it doesn’t stop there! With a continued drive to be ‘greener’, they also ensure the use of recycle bins and provide sustainable cutlery at all their events. Future plans include investing in solar panels for the new food hall site they have planning for and installing electric vehicle charging points. They are also upgrading the systems that they have on site and are looking at installing air heat source pumps as well.
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