Solar Island


is a tiny island in the pacific, part of American Samoa. It now gets all of its electricity from solar power after SolarCity installed a 1.6 MW micro grid. The grid is linked to 60 Tesla PowerWall batteries so that islanders can use spare electricity after the sun has set. Prior to installing the micro grid the islanders used diesel generators to produce power so the island is now energy self sufficient and carbon neutral. The 500,000 litres of fuel offset have reduced CO2e emissions by around 125 tons per year.



Green at Heart auditing successes

We’re well into the busy period for auditing members of Green at Heart, our environmental assessment scheme. We’re pleased to say that E&M Electrical Services (Northern) Ltd, Glaramara outdoor activity centre and Blencathra Field Studies Centre have all retained their Gold awards for 2017. Well done to all of them. Especially nice to do these audits when the weather was so good and Cumbria looked its best.




have made several environmental gains recently and auditing them is always a pleasure. The buildings are now almost entirely lit by LED lights.  although their solar thermal array isn’t producing a lot of hot water at this time of year it’s done well over the year and they’re very happy about the energy it has already saved them. With another 15+ years of useful life, its been a very good investment. CBEN are working with them to complete some energy mapping to see how they can save energy in the kitchen and we’re investigating the potential to use an air source heat pump to extract warm air from the kitchen and use it to heat the bar area.




has committed to reducing electricity consumption by 10% in 2017, measured against their 2015 consumption. They’ll use a ground mounted PV array to help with this. They’ll also be working to cut CO2 emissions by 5% compared to their 2014 base line. Auditing an organisation with lots of exciting ideas for the future is always satisfying and Blencathra are never short of plans.

If you would like to know more about the Green at Heart members scheme and have the environmental impact of your business audited, please feel free to contact us on 0122 549 602 to arrange an initial chat and a visit. Or visit the Green at Heart page on this website.

Water saving technology

Thames Water has just completed a trial of water saving toilets at one of their offices. They have replaced five existing toilets which used an average of 6.2 litres per flush with toilets from Propelair that use only 1.5 litres per flush. Combined with water sensors on taps and urinals, they have managed to reduce consumption by 606,000 litres per year, saving approximately £1,600 per year. Thames Water now plan to install the Propelair toilets in their three largest offices and expect to save 10 million litres of water and £10,000 per year as a result.

Installing replacement toilets can be very cost effective. All Propelair toilets are on the Water Technology List so attract tax relief under the Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme. Tax relief on the capital cost can also be claimed against Annual Investment Allowance. Finally, Propelair have a lease scheme which allows them to supply the toilet free of charge and use , using the monthly savings to pay for the installation.


Tesla Power Wall battery for solar PV systems

A big drawback with installing solar PV systems to generate electricity is the limited ability to store surplus energy for use at a later data. Battery technology is currently a hot bed of development and Tesla have beaten most competitors to the market with the launch last year of the Tesla Power Wall battery. Designed to work directly with solar PV systems, each unit can store up to 14 kWh of surplus electricity and costs approximately £6,500 to install. A standard 3 bedroom house with one Power Wall unit linked to a 4 kW solar PV array would generate and store enough electricity for 75% of daily demand. A 10 kWp and two Power Walls would make the house completely independent of mains electricity. See more details at: