Integrated Energy Systems – Brokerage event

Our latest Fit for the Future Network event, Integrated Energy Systems, took place at National Trust’s Quarry Bank Mill. The meeting was run by Knowledge Transfer Network, and representatives from member organisations including the National trust, RNLI, Canal and River trust, The Co-op, The Whitworth, Zero Carbon World, Adnams, and Severn Wye Energy Agency came along. The event was all about collaboration, innovation. knowledge sharing and networking.

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Garry Sharples – The National Trust

  • The National Trust has installed a hydro scheme at Quarry Bank Mill that has reduced their grid electricity use by 40%. The Trust faced challenges including the implication for migrating fish that use the river to travel upstream. This was mitigated by constructing a fish and eel pass alongside the hydro.
  • Their twin track approach also meant striving to make the mill buildings more energy efficient. The installation of smart meters helped to show where energy was being lost; this led to the installation of secondary glazing and a boiler replacement with zoning, which has reduced gas consumption at the mill by 40%.
  • After an electricity trip, there are issues with the automatic settings in programmed lighting and heating, leading to lighting being on when rooms aren’t in use. Jamie Sutherland from National Botanical Gardens of Wales suggested they look into a BMS system.



Richard Carter – Adnams Southwold, a brewery based in the south east. 

  • Richard told us about the extensive life cycle analysis that Adnams undertook to look at the environmental impact of their beers. They have saved 1000 tonnes of carbon by making their bottles lighter and moving towards using cans.
  • Adnams produce zero waste to landfill, due to waste from the breweries going to their anaerobic digester – the CO2 savings from this exceed the emissions from the brewery.
  • Richard also discussed ideas to run their distribution operation of biomethane.
  • They are considering implementing a heat exchanger in their hotels and pubs using excess heat from the breweries. The idea was sparked by a site visit, arranged through the Fit for the Future Network, to view National Trust’s marine source heat pump at Plas Newydd.



Mary Gillie – Energy Local, helping communities understand their energy usage and generation.

  • Mary stressed the importance of looking for new types of partnerships with local authorities, large social organisations or local communities. For example, organisations could consider buying energy from homeowners for more than they would get from selling it to the grid, but less than the organisation would pay to buy it from the grid. A win-win situation.
  • By installing smart meters you can understand where and when you are using your energy so you can consider not buying energy at peak times and balancing out the grid, as well as whether its feasible to buy from community energy groups.


Nicola Walker – The Whitworth

  • Nicola talked about some of the challenges in making art galleries more sustainable whilst at the same time maintaining the specific conditions necessary to conserve their collections.
  • As part of recent renovation work, the Whitworth factored in the sustainability of the building. Energy saving improvements included simple solutions such as moving stored collections to the cooler basement instead of wasting energy and money on air conditioning.
  • They also installed earth tubes to provide natural ventilation and installed a ground source heat pump to provide heating.


Jamie Sutherland – The National Botanic Garden of Wales

  • Talked us through their biomass boiler which heats 7 buildings including their glasshouses.
  • This biomass boiler saves them around £12,000 annually compared to using propane gas.
  • They have a water source heat pump which provides £1,000 per annum.
  • They also have 220 PV panels which they’ve found to give a good annual return.
  • The use of reed beds to deal with all their own waste has been found to be very efficient.


There was a time for group discussions where organisations presented issues they were having and sought potential solutions. Sustainable heating, retrofitting old buildings and the issue of storing renewable energy were covered. Read more about the problems and possible solutions in members resources. There were plenty of opportunities for networking.

Network members can access presentations and resources from the day in the members area. Check out the calendar for details of upcoming events as well as site visits and meetings.

All images ©Rob Coward