Cuxton Parish Council secured a £14k grant to assess the possibilities to refurbish their Pavilion, a neighbouring school and library. Currently offering changing rooms and small offices, the Council plans to redevelop the site to include community meeting rooms, a café, and other facilities available to local residents in Cuxton, Medway, and beyond. The project is right at the heart of the community.

As part of this work, the Council commissioned Avieco to identify the best solution for onsite renewables at the Pavilion, and how such a scheme might be part of a wider local energy network.

Technical appraisal

We collected data from all three sites and developed consumption profiles for the current configuration of buildings and applied modelling approaches to calculate the future energy demand of the refurbished Pavilion. We visited all three sites, liaising with building managers and other staff to audit the existing heating and power systems. We also analysed satellite images of the site to assess the potential for local networks and the anticipated costs of such schemes.

Once this analysis was complete, we compiled the business cases for solar PV at each site, and ground source heat pumps at the Pavilion. The technical assessment for this technology was complicated by an aviation fuel pipe running across the land identified for heat collectors. We analysed the different routing options for heat collectors to account for this feature.

There is a strong business case for the Council to install highly efficient ground-source heat pumps at the Pavilion, along with solar PV on the roof of the building. This will save the Council c. £8,000 in electricity costs, and 17 tCO2e in carbon emissions – each year.

However, our findings so far suggest that a network is not viable due to the capital cost of laying cables between sites, and the relatively small amount of energy that would be available for resale between sites.

Engaging the wider community

As part of the feasibility study, we interviewed representatives from the school and library, as well as working with the architect’s drawings and associated community consultation work, to align our approach with previous and ongoing work in the community, and to keep the wider community up-to-date with project progress. We also presented our recommendations at the Annual Parish Meeting, and collected feedback from community groups present, including Councillors, the Scouts, conservation groups, faith groups, and sports clubs.

Following the submission of our final report, the Council is now reviewing the recommendations, and working with the architect and Pavilion funders to realise these schemes, with funding from an RCEF Stage 2 grant. We are now also working with the council to further investigate the suitability of air source heat pumps.


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