Choosing biomass heating to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions

In what would become one of our first community energy projects, BHESCo partnered with Nafisi Studios to install a biomass heating solution at their workshop in Horsham, West Sussex.

Nafisi Studios is a furniture and sculpture studio based on an old farm in Horsham. The business is a partnership between husband and wife Abdullah and Kate Nafisi, who produce magnificent luxury handmade designs that have been featured on the BBC Two.

Sustainability is embedded into all aspects of their design and production process, which is why they became partners with BHESCo in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of their workshop facility.

The property is not connected to the gas grid, which means that an alternative heating source needed to be found, unless the Nafisi’s were content to use oil for their heating requirements (which they weren’t).

Abdullah Nafisi takes up the story, explaining how the project became a reality and what the benefits have been since switching to biomass heating for the site.

How Nafisi Studios became partners with BHESCo to reduce their environmental impact

biomass heating - abdullah nafisi - horsham, west sussex

Abdullah Nafisi

Designer Craftsman

Nafisi Studios

In 2013 we were fortunate to meet Kayla Ente, CEO and founder of Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-op (BHESCo), whose passion and enthusiasm for finding the right solution to reduce our carbon footprint was obvious from the start.

BHESCo works with property owners to help them meet their energy needs with efficient buildings and clean, affordable, community-owned energy.

Following a detailed survey of the site, BHESCo suggested that an 80kW three-phase biomass boiler would provide the most cost-effective way to meet the energy needs at Nafisi with the lowest environmental impact.

biomass heating - biomass boiler - nafisi studios - horsham
80kW MatserTherm Biomass Heating System installed at Nafisi Studios

How the biomass heating system was installed at no upfront cost to Nafisi Studios

The upfront cost of the biomass boiler was financed by BHESCo through a community share offer. Investors were invited to buy shares in the co-operative in return for a 5% annual interest payment and part-ownership of the business.

Over time, Nafisi repays the project costs to BHESCo via a monthly rent to use the boiler including the supply of the fuel.

These costs equate to £900 per month for our entire farm. We have a storage room for the wood pellets, and receive three to four deliveries a year of pellets.

biomass heating - biomass pellets - nafisi studios - horsham
Biomass fuel store room at Nafisi Studios, Horsham
Following the initial stages of project development and design, it took BHESCo nearly two years to raise the upfront cost and install the biomass boiler heating system. This was certainly not an overnight process, but it is certainly worth it in the long term. BHESCo’s business model is unique and innovative, and some people in the wider community were sceptical of the economics at the time. However, Nafisi had every confidence in BHESCo’s ability to deliver on their promises and can proudly say we were their first ever project customer.

Environmental Impact Reduction

We expect the energy generation and efficiency measures installed for this project to reduce annual carbon emissions by 30 tonnes.

Over the operational lifetime of the equipment this equates to 450 tonnes, which is equivalent to:

How BHESCO have continued to deliver low-carbon heating around Sussex

Since that first project BHESCo have delivered 50 community energy projects across Sussex, which collectively reduce annual CO2 emissions by 375 tonnes and save their customers £78,000 on fuel bills every year.

In addition to the biomass boiler at Nafisi, BHESCo have installed such technologies as solar PV panels, air source heat pumps, battery storage facilities and energy efficiency measures. Their project customers include schools, community and leisure centres, art galleries, offices, shops and homes.

Since the biomass boiler was installed in 2015 we estimated that it has reduced the carbon emissions of the site by 137.2 tonnes CO2, which is roughly 30.7 tonnes per year.

To begin your journey towards low-cost, low-carbon heating for yourhome or business contact BHESC’s Energy Saving Service today.


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