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Ashton Gate stadium joins Bristol’s solar revolution

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Bristol City V Gloucester City by Libby via Flickr

Solar PV panels designed to reduce the stadium’s carbon emissions by 20% have been installed to Ashton Gate Stadium,

The stadium is home to Bristol City FC and Bristol Rugby Club, and has made a promise to deliver a modern, multi-use stadium to make Bristol proud. The solar PV partnership with the council is predicted to save the stadium £150,000 over 20 years on its energy bill, while allowing the council to recuperate the costs of the system and make a small surplus. This is a new model for mutually beneficial renewable energy projects and businesses with large roof spaces or land have the opportunity to benefit.

How does this work?

• Bristol City Council helps determine whether your business has a suitable roof for solar and assesses the electricity use profile.
• The council pays for and project manages the PV installation on your behalf.
• A feed-in tariff is paid to the council for the electricity generated by the system, also receiving payment for any electricity fed back into the grid.
• Your business pays a reduced rate to the council for the electricity used on site from the system.
• Congratulations! Your business saves money on its energy bills, reduces its carbon emissions and increases its green credentials.
• After 20 years, ownership of the solar PV is handed over to you.

Helen Holland, Cabinet Member for Place with responsibility for Energy, said: “One of the Mayor’s campaign promises was to put Bristol on course to run entirely on clean energy by 2050. The City Council can’t achieve this by ourselves, so working with partners like Bristol Sport is going to be essential if we’re going to hit our goal.

“Ashton Gate is such an important venue for football and rugby fans in Bristol. Working with Bristol Sport during their amazing transformation of the stadium sends a really strong message that it makes commercial sense for high energy consuming businesses to install renewables onsite, and Bristol City Council can help with that.”

The 117 kW solar PV system consisting of 460 solar panels was supplied and installed on the West Stand of the stadium by Nottinghamshire-based EvoEnergy and is expected to generate 95,090 kWh per year. That is equivalent to powering 23 average energy-use homes for a whole year. Due to the stadium’s size and activities, all of the electricity generated from the rooftop system is expected to be used on site.

James Sutton, Commercial Project Manager at EvoEnergy, commented: “We’re pleased to be supporting Bristol City Council’s campaign to encourage more businesses to choose solar, with the installation of a 460-panel system at Ashton Gate. It’s a great example of how partnerships can work, and complements the other energy efficient measures the stadium has implemented in order to reduce its carbon footprint.”

It’s a great example of how partnerships can work, and complements the other energy efficient measures the stadium has implemented in order to reduce its carbon footprint

The new development also boasts air to air heat recovery, low energy lighting, automatic controls, low water consumption taps and toilets, heat-pumps and a Building Management System all designed to reduce the stadium’s energy usage. Bristol Sport has also developed a full travel plan which includes new bus services and a three-fold provision of bike racks.

Martin Griffiths, chairman of, Bristol Sport, added: “We’ve worked hard to design, build and operate a socially responsible venue for the city. As well as being home to the two largest sports teams in the area, we also host numerous conferences and events every day. The installation of Solar PV helps ensure we’re being environmentally friendly while also cutting down on operating costs.”

Solar panels are also planned for another key venue for the city, the Bristol Arena. The panels will be complimented by connection to Bristol’s new heat network infrastructure, which is creating a more efficient heat supply to central Bristol, further helping to create a low carbon and sustainable venue in line with the city’s ambitious climate and energy targets.

Aerial footage of the solar installation at Ashton Gate Stadium can be seen at https://youtu.be/hPJ24RuT1pY

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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