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Solicitors prove beyond reasonable doubt energy efficiency changes work

Solar PV and heat pump play big part in office expansion

 Hamilton law firm is guilty of making its premises energy efficient while expanding into an adjacent disused bank and is now on course to save more than £2,000 a year on its energy bill. 

John Jackson & Dick, a firm of solicitors that has been practising for almost 90 years, approached Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service when it decided to expand into adjoining premises.

The firm occupied the first floor of two Edwardian properties and were extending into the ground floor vacated by RBS. The company bosses were keen to make their new offices as energy efficient as possible, while also providing a comfortable space for staff and clients. 

A consultant visited the property to look at the existing services and see where improvements could be made in the building. He made a number of suggestions that would improve the overall energy efficiency of the entire premises.

High on the priority list were:

  • heating;
  • LED lighting;
  • roof insulation;
  • potential for generating electricity; and
  • glazing.

An old air-conditioning system was operating on the ground floor and it was recommended that an air source heat pump (ASHP) be updated to cool the offices in summer, but which would also be able to provide heat throughout the offices in the colder months. 

The existing and new offices had separate combi-boiler gas central heating systems and it was advised that they be replaced with two modern, energy-efficient condensing gas-fired boilers with zone controls. But with the ASHP available to provide heat, the new boiler could be used as a back-up. 

Most of the existing building had uPVC double-glazed windows installed in 2011, but some windows were either single-glazed or in need of replacement. The company was advised to bring more windows up to the same double-glazed standard to prevent valuable heat escaping. 

LED lighting had been fitted in most of the existing office space, but it was recommended that the conventional lighting on the ground floor be replaced with more energy efficient LEDs.

The consultant noted that the attic spaces had been well insulated to a depth of 200mm around 10 years previously, but a flat roof area had not been touched, and he advised that adding insulation to this area would improve the building’s ability to retain heat.

John Jackson & Dick had also been keen to investigate the possibility of being able to generate electricity with the use of solar PV panels. 

Not every building is suitable for the solar panels, but there was an area at the rear of the solicitors’ premises with a south-facing pitched roof, concealed from the main road, which proved to be ideal.

The company bosses made the decision to go-ahead with all the recommendations, including the solar PV panels that can now generate 15% of the building’s electricity requirement.

An interest-free Scottish Government SME Loan helped cover part of the costs with the remainder coming from their own resources.

It has been difficult to assess the full savings with coronavirus (Covid-19) forcing a change to regular staff routines, but the identified savings from the report amounted to around £2,400 a year.

Senior partner and managing director Euan Stirrat said: 

“If we hadn’t turned to the Energy Efficiency Business Support Service for help, we would have spent less and retained more of the older systems and equipment that existed in the building.

 

 

“The advice we received was excellent. It gave us the confidence to invest more heavily than we would otherwise have done.

 

“The changes have greatly improved the external and internal appearance and functionality and have helped create a good impression with clients. Our staff really like the refurbished offices. 

“Overall, it has been a very positive experience.”

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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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