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Turing charity programmes its low carbon future

The enigma of heating choices is cracked

“We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.”

The family of famous Bletchley Park codebreaker Alan Turing probably shared similar thoughts to the father of computer science when they moved into new premises for their charity.

The industrial unit within the Pentland Industrial Estate in Loanhead was a “shell of a building” according to Alan’s great nephew, James, founder and CEO of The Turing Trust.

The Turing Trust was set up in 2009 in honour of the man who broke the Enigma Code during World War II. The staff and army of volunteers accept donated computers before refurbishing them and installing educational software. The computers are then shipped to Malawi and other African countries, as well as schools in the UK, to give underprivileged youngsters the opportunity of learning IT skills.

As the work the charity does is part of the circular economy, James was keen to explore green sustainable options for the new premises.

He said: 

“Being green is fundamental to what we do and we wanted to live up to our green ethos as much as possible.”

Having heard about the work carried out by Zero Waste Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Business Support Service and the access to Scottish Government funding, James got in touch to see how we could help turn the empty warehouse into an energy efficient home for the charity.

One of our highly experienced framework consultants carried out a full assessment of the building and provided a detailed report with his recommendations to help James make decisions.

The building had to accommodate offices and warehouse space requiring different levels of heating. The consultant had recommended biomass heating but had also said that an air source heat pump (ASHP) would be equally viable. The savings and initial outlay were almost identical giving James and his colleagues a dilemma.

“We went to and fro between the two and couldn’t make up our minds. It was shocking how complicated it was, but I spoke to our advisor and received invaluable guidance before choosing the air source heat pump. And we’re very happy with it.”

The building was constructed at a time when there were less demanding thermal performance standards, so insulation was recommended for the walls and ceiling to mitigate any heat loss. New lighting was required to suit the revised internal layout and modern LED fittings were installed to increase the savings.

Low-flow taps and toilets were also introduced to help ensure the building was as efficient as possible.

James was advised that introducing the various measures could save the charity more than £10,000 a year on annual energy bills, as well as reducing the building’s CO2 emissions by 17 tonnes.

A Scottish Government SME Loan that came with a cashback grant was used to help finance the work.

“Being green is fundamental to what we do, and this was the first opportunity we had had to make our own decisions and look at the options afresh.

 

“If we hadn’t contacted Zero Waste Scotland things would have been very different for us. It would have been fundamentally hard to justify the upfront cost without the loan.”

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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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