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A sustainability roadmap for leisure providers: future-proofing and financing the journey to net zero

The conclusion of a 3-part series exploring stumbling blocks and sustainable energy solutions in the leisure sector.

Go back to: Part 1  -  Part 2

With so many factors for leisure providers to consider, taking firm steps forward on a sustainability journey can be difficult. As is finding a one-size-solves-all solution. As ever, complex problems often call for flexible solutions. So we recommend a tribrid approach to energy – one that brings together Combined Heat and Power (CHP), Solar PV and Heat Pumps.

With these three on-site generation technologies working together, the economics of greener heat quickly stack up – to the benefit of the planet and profit. And for leisure sector organisations struggling to balance their environmental and financial goals, the tribrid approach can deliver the future-proofed transition to net zero that’s been missing.

Watch the below video to hear Aaron Parker, Principal Business Development Manager for Heat and Mechanical Energy Solutions at Centrica Business Solutions, discuss how a tribrid approach and financing options could enhance your energy strategy.

The tribrid approach explained

Individually, each technology - CHP, Solar PV and Heat Pumps - have their own merits and drawbacks. For leisure providers, sometimes the most successful approach for balancing risks, gains and goals is one that combines two or even three technologies:

  • Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is a cost-effective energy option possible for many heat-intensive organisations and can deliver an exceptional return on investment within 3 years – often delivering cost savings of up to 40%. But some leisure providers question the role CHP should play in their net zero pathway. Because even though CHP is about 80% more efficient than a boiler, it does still use natural gas. Powering CHP with hydrogen is one option, but most businesses don't have a supply of that yet.
  • Heat Pumps are a proven, scalable technology which can provide heating from 40°C up to 165°C, without any direct emissions. It also operates in a similar way to an air conditioning unit, running in reverse. The issue is the cost, which can be a barrier for many, because although the upfront costs compare favourably to the alternatives, the ongoing operational costs can be prohibitively expensive in comparison. 
  • Solar PV can deliver significant savings of both cost and carbon. But it only works during daylight hours.

If you were to summarise these technologies, you could say that CHPs save you money but cost you carbon. While Heat Pumps save you carbon, but cost you money. Solar PV saves carbon and money, but only works during daylight hours. Bringing all three technologies together as part of an on-site tribrid energy generation system can help you get the benefits of each, while balancing their respective drawbacks. With all three technologies working in harmony together, organisations can expect to make significant progress in reducing emissions, while also managing tight budgets.

The power of three

These are some of the many benefits to adopting a tribrid approach to your energy:

  • Carbon reduction – Renewable solar and green Heat Pumps provide the low and zero carbon energy solutions organisations are seeking to achieve major progress on carbon reduction.
  • Cost savings – The impressive cost savings of CHP and solar make the economics of Heat Pumps stack up. This gives organisations the chance to capitalise on lower emissions now, rather than wait for technology costs to fall as the market expands.
  • Flexibility – The tribrid system can be sized and configured in line with the site's energy profile and business goal. It means if carbon savings are prioritised, then Heat Pumps would provide the majority heat load, supported by CHP during peak demand periods. But if cost savings are the priority, the opposite would apply.
  • Future-proofing – The tribrid approach can be adapted in line with changing business objectives. It can also be designed to achieve incremental carbon savings to meet net zero goals.
  • Fewer internal changes – Installing a CHP/Heat Pump hybrid system is sometimes easier to carry out, needing fewer internal changes to your existing heating system than installing a Heat Pump alone.
  • Heating and cooling – The three combined technologies working together provide cooling and heating, with opportunity to deliver highly cost-effective heating and cooling running at the same time.
  • Higher temperatures – CHP can operate at higher temperatures than Heat Pumps. This makes a hybrid approach ideal for estates that use industrial processes with high temperature demands but want a greener solution.

Financing the future

We know funding is difficult to access. But rather than sideline your sustainability strategies, we offer flexible in-house financing so you can speed them up. Financing is available for all our energy technologies and is complemented by ongoing operational support and maintenance packages. 

We also offer zero CAPEX options that can help provide cost predictability without the need for capital outlay. This is fully Centrica funded using our own cash – you only talk to us, no other banks or third parties are involved. And we can retain responsibility for asset maintenance and availability, helping you to manage commercial risk.

For leisure providers, our most common financing option is Discount Energy Purchase (DEP)Here’s how it works:

  • No upfront costs – DEP is a direct agreement with Centrica, where we’ll install and operate energy generation assets at your site with no upfront costs. 
  • A straightforward process – You'll have a single contract covering your new technology and financing, so no other parties or banks need to be involved. This can help simplify the process of investing in your energy estate. 
  • Long-term savings – Over the course of your contract, you’ll simply pay an agreed p/kWh electricity unit rate in line with the agreement you create with us. After accounting for increased gas consumption costs, this will usually be set at a lower rate than importing grid electricity – helping you to make significant savings for the long term. 
  • Servicing and maintenance – We’ll also bundle in ongoing Operations and Maintenance (O&M) for a period of 7-15 years, covering regular servicing and repairs to your onsite generation technology. With flexible financing, ongoing aftercare and a secure energy supply combined into one contract, you can rest assured that your energy strategy is under control.

Interested in learning more about our financing options, or how a tribrid approach could enhance your energy strategy? Get in touch today.

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