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New energy efficiency technology ensures hive is buzzing with activity

Emissions cut by 61% at community hub

A previously under-used community hub is now a hive of activity after new energy efficiency technology was introduced.

The Green Hive, operated by the Nairn River Enterprise, has gone from being used one day a week by a limited number of volunteers to attracting visitors and partners wanting to make use of the cosy space.

Neil Mapes, Manager, said: “It has been transformed from a poorly lit, draughty and cold workshop to a warm, light and comfortable space suitable for a much wider range of beneficiaries and community activities.”

The Green Hive occupies a leased factory unit owned by Highland Council, on the Balmakeith Business Park in Nairn. The lease runs until 2024, although the organisation has no plans to relocate and envisages using the site long-term.

It is a community hub supporting local people with a focus on environmental solutions, delivering a wide range of activities, products and services for the local area.

Volunteers and trustees wanted to make the site more comfortable and to be able to use it more often throughout the year. They contacted Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service for support and advice as to what changes could be implemented.

One of our experienced consultants carried out an assessment of the site and the resulting report recommended the installation of a range of energy efficiency measures, including:

  • LED Lighting 
  • Double glazing 
  • Air source heat pump 
  • Solar panels 

Neil said: 

“We have implemented all the suggestions, except the solar panels because our current lease is not long enough to invest the funds required over the payback period, which exceeded our lease. Our board of trustees supported all the measures and agreed to revisit the solar panels installation when a longer lease is in place or we own the asset.”

The Green Hive financed the changes with a 50% grant from the Local Energy Scotland CARES scheme with the remaining 50% from coming from an interest-free Scottish Government SME Loan that came with a cashback grant.

The changes have had a big impact on the CO2 emissions that have been reduced by an incredible 61%, equating to 24,560 car miles. In addition, there has been a financial saving of £3,000 from the annual energy bills. 

Neil said: 

“There have also been significant benefits for all staff, volunteers, users and participants of our community workshop hub. Individuals are warmer, happier and more productive and can be creative and positive throughout the year with these measures now in place.


“Additionally, we have seen an increase in visitors to the hub and in partners wanting to share the space now that it is warm and efficient to run. Nairn Book and Arts festival and The Conservation Volunteers have already booked to share the space.


“The advice we received was crucial. Without the Zero Waste Scotland report and recommendations our team would not have been able to justify the time and effort and risk in raising the funds needed to install the measures and overseeing the works. The ZWS report was a crucial piece of evidence presented to our board of trustees who ultimately supported the works taking place.


“If we had not sought the advice, in all likelihood we would have made do with the inefficient building and temporary and costly portable heaters.”


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Our free service for Scottish businesses is funded by the Scottish Government and by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73 million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme. The support provided to this organisation was delivered by Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Scotland programme, which has been relaunched as Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service as of 1 April 2020.

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