Tips to reduce energy use at your village hall
Hopefully you have now lowered the price you pay for electricity and gas at your village hall. And you have checked your energy bills to identify any irregularities. But have you analysed the amount of energy you are using at your village hall?
A two-pronged attack of reducing energy use AND lowering the price you pay for energy, will have a considerable impact on your annual energy costs.
We outline below some simple measures you can take, with very little outlay. We would love to hear how much energy you have saved. Call us on 020 3372 6517 for help and advice.
During daily activities
These are useful tips that don’t cost anything to implement. Take these actions today to start reducing your village hall energy bills. You may already be doing some of these, in which case, well done!
- Ensure you don’t overheat the hall when in use. The accepted temperature for both children and adults, is 21°C. However, if the hall is being hired by a more active group, eg. for a keep fit session, then save energy and heat the hall to 18°C. The people exercising will only complain if it is too hot!
- Don’t heat (or light) any unused rooms. This is a waste of energy and your money. Turn off the radiators in these areas.
- Where is your thermostat positioned? It should be clear of any draughty areas.
- Hot water should be stored at 60°C. Any hotter, and it is another waste of money and energy. Any hotter, and it will be too hot (certainly for children) to use. 60°C is also hot enough to eradicate Legionella bacteria.
- Put polite notices around the hall to remind users about energy saving. They should turn off lights when not in use.
- Take meter readings so you can monitor how much gas and electricity the village hall is using. You could monitor energy use for a week before implementing these measures. Then do so again the following week and see how much you have saved.
- Include all committee members and make everyone aware of your energy saving goals. If all users pull together, great results can be achieved!
- Finally, I am sure you already ensure the heating and lighting is turned off when the hall isn’t in use, but please check!
Identify areas for improvement
Take a walk round your village hall. Check each of the following and decide which need to be actioned (for a relatively small cost).
Is the heating system easy to use?
It is very important that this is simple to operate. If not, your heating will not be used efficiently and the village hall energy bill will be unnecessarily higher. Please check that whoever is responsible for turning the heating on and off, before and after events, knows exactly how to do this. Bearing in ind the points above relating to heating, do check that all committee members are agreed on operating temperatures etc, so there is no need for anyone to adjust the controls – other than switching on and off.
Do you have the correct type of electricity meter installed?
This is very pertinent if you don’t have mains gas, as your heating will likely be from electricity (or perhaps oil). We won’t go into the costs of changing the heating system here, as we are concentrating on improvements at a small cost. However, if you have electric heating, then consider the type of electricity meter at the village hall.
Electricity meters have different time periods. There are single rate meters with the same rate 24 hours a day. Then there are Economy 7 meters which have a day rate and a night rate. The night rate generally runs for 7 hours during the night and energy companies charge a lower rate for electricity used during the night – although this is offset by daytime use which is charged at a higher rate than the previously mentioned single rate. There is also a 3-rate option with different rates for Weekday, Evening & Weekend, and Night. If you are unsure, check your village hall energy bills and see how many different time periods you have been billed on.
Check which hours your hall uses electricity the most. If your village hall heating is from night storage heaters, then an Economy 7 meter is definitely the best option for your village hall.
What lighting is used in the village hall?
Lighting accounts for around 15% of village hall energy bills on average. Timer switches may not be relevant as the hall will likely be used at different times each day. However, you should consider motion sensors in kitchen and washroom areas. This will ensure lights are only on when necessary. Please check the type of lights used throughout your hall or community centre. Fluorescent lighting should be replaced with T5 tubes which will reduce energy use by 10-15%. Consider the benefits of replacing standard bulbs with low energy bulbs, the savings will be close to 80%. There will be an installation cost, but they will last for much longer and use less energy.
Are areas of the hall draughty?
Main areas to check are windows and doors. It is relatively cheap to seal gaps around window frames and doors. This will save energy immediately. Other areas to consider are floor, wall and roof insulation, and double glazing.
By acting on the points above, you should soon notice the difference in your village hall energy bills. You have now acted to reduce the amount of energy used, and have also reduced your carbon footprint, so well done!
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