South West Packaging – Biomass Heating Project

Location: Gillingham, Dorset
Project cost:
Grant: £29,667.60
Estimated Savings: 72 tonnes of CO2 per year  / £14K per year*
*calculated by comparing to annual costs of an expanded / improved electric heating system, and takes into account RHI
Equipment / Installer:Biomass heater system with fuel store and buffer tank (Bioheat), two fast-roller loading/unloading doors (Fix A Door)

View South West Packaging’s case study here

South West Packaging (SWP) is an independently owned corrugated packaging manufacturer, based in North Dorset. With only 8 basic electric heaters and extensive heat loss, the heating system and thermal efficiency of their factory and offices were in desperate need of upgrading.

In a bid to make their work place more comfortable, improve quality of storage, and reduce energy consumption, SWP installed a biomass heating system, and two fast-roller loading/unloading doors to minimise heat loss.

After making the decision to explore the possibilities of a renewable energy heat source, SWP applied to Low Carbon Dorset for help to bring their project to life.

An initial energy report from Low Carbon Dorset provided SWP with a list of recommended measures that could help reduce their energy bills, improve their workspace and cut down on emissions. The report was packed with technical specifications, estimated return-on-investments, info on government subsidies and potential carbon savings.

Armed with this report SWP then set about prioritising which measures they wanted to install. A grant was available from Low Carbon Dorset to cover 40% of the project cost.

A 90-kW wood pellet boiler was installed in the main factory. Existing electric radiators were replaced with a blown air system using heat provided by the biomass boiler. Additional radiators were positioned in the offices and canteen area to utilise the heat provided.

A buffer tank and pellet hopper were also installed on the premises. This required the construction a concrete slab and internal building to accommodate this.

Two loading/unloading bay doors (previously regularly left open during operating hours) were replaced with quick up and down insulated doors to ensure heat retention in the building.

With an extensive, and reasonably constant electricity demand and a large, unshaded, south-facing roof, solar PV was identified as an excellent fit for SWP.  Due to budget constraints, and the company’s immediate requirement for heating, they decided not to proceed with this recommendation immediately.  The opportunity for SWP to apply for a further grant from Low Carbon Dorset to carry out this recommendation will be available for the remaining duration of the programme.

Here’s what Stuart Tracy (Sales Director) from South West Packaging had to say about their carbon reduction project:

The Boiler has made a world of difference, not only to our staff who now find the workplace a much more comfortable environment to work in, but the knock on effect to the machinery and glues we use.  Keeping the factory at a steady temperature throughout the week has made the final product even better!


The green benefits of the boiler are also a big plus point to our customers.  They are now buying an environmentally friendly product, which has also been produced as such.


The Low Carbon Dorset grant enabled the project to get underway.  We had just invested in new machinery so would have installed electric heaters in the factory to get us over the last winter period, and probably not looked into the heating issue again for a couple of years.

“The Biomass Boiler has made a world of difference to us.  Not only to our staff, who now enjoy a much more comfortable working environment, but also the knock-on effect to our machinery and the glues we use, making our final product even better! And the green benefits are a huge plus point to our customers too.”

Stuart Tracy, Sales Director, Southwest Packaging

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