Springhead Trust Map

Springhead Trust – Energy Efficiency Project

Location: Fontmell Magna, Dorset
Project cost:
£13,585.97
Grant: £8,151.58
Estimated Savings: 7.2 tonnes of CO2e* per year
Equipment / Installer: 139 LEDs (Yess Electrical), Insulation (Warmer Group), Improved secondary window glazing (Newglaze)

View Springhead Trust’s case study here

Springhead Trust is a small Dorset based charity.  In 2020, with the help of a Low Carbon Dorset grant the charity improved the energy efficiency of their site in Fontmell Magna.  The trust’s holistic whole-building approach saw the insulation of roof, ceiling and floor insulation, LEDs and improved window glazing.  Combined these measures will reduce their emissions by 7 tonnes of CO2e a year and significantly lower their heating demand. This project is an excellent demonstration of how the energy efficiency of old buildings can be significantly improved without threatening their historic integrity.

From their site in Fontmell Magna, Springhead Trust run a rural centre for creative and sustainable living.   The charity’s mission is to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to experience and value the rural environment and to learn about the sustainable use of natural resources.

A key objective at Springhead is to practice and demonstrate techniques and principles associated with a more sustainable way of life.  Prior to seeking support from Low Carbon Dorset the trust had already invested in a number of renewable energy measures. These included a hydro turbine which takes advantage of the year-round flow of water from the lake at Springhead and a ground mounted solar PV array.

However, their inefficient and draughty buildings were proving to be a big challenge on their road to becoming net-zero and this is where Low Carbon Dorset was able to help.  We were able to recommend and support several bespoke measures that would help improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and reduce their emissions.

Part of Springhead Trust’s holistic approach to energy efficiency involved installing a range of roof, ceiling and floor insulation to improve the thermal efficiency of their buildings.  This new insulation will help retain warmth in the winter, and keep the buildings cool in the summer.  Due to the historic nature of some of the buildings, access to certain floor areas to insulate proved difficult. However, installers were able to work around this and instead insulate from below and by doing so demonstrated that even old historic buildings can benefit from simple energy efficiency measures – and in an environmentally friendly way too.  Springhead were keen for their insulation to be as eco-friendly as possible, so, where feasible they used a Knauff earth wool which is manufactured from recycled glass.

To reduce their energy demand Springhead replaced old inefficient lighting with 139 highly efficient LEDs.  This measure alone will save the trust just over £1,000 a year in reduced electricity bills.

The Springhead site dates back to the 1600s and the buildings have significant historic importance.  This rules out replacing existing single glazed windows with newer units.  However, the Trust were able to find a more bespoke solution to prevent heat loss through their old windows by simply installing lightweight aluminium secondary glazing.  This additional glazing is installed inside the existing windows, posing very little aesthetic impact whilst dramatically improving the windows’ thermal efficiency.

The Trust is not stopping here, they have future plans to further reduce their site’s carbon footprint by installing a water-source heat pump and storage batteries to optimise output from their solar panels.

“The insulation and secondary glazing have transformed the dormitory areas, which used to leak heat and feel cold and damp.  We’re now using much less electricity to heat these rooms, and they feel a lot more comfortable for the children and other visitors who stay here. We’re also delighted with the LED lighting which has created a much better spread of light, as well as cutting our lighting bill and energy use.

“The financial savings will enable us to keep down costs, and enable more children, young people, members of our local community and others to visit Springhead. Most importantly, climate change is a threat to everyone, and the project has enabled us as a community organisation, to take action to reduce our use of fossil fuels, and hopefully inspire others to take action too.”

Edward Parker, Director of Springhead

*CO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent, is a term used to describe different greenhouse gases in a common unit. For any quantity and type of greenhouse gas, CO2e signifies the amount of CO2 which would have the equivalent global warming impact. And allows us to express a carbon footprint consisting of lots of different greenhouse gases as a single number.

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Photography on this site (c) DCC / Rosie Mathisen / Mark Heighes / Dave Penman / Andy Lyons / Gillian Thomas / Darren McCall