Refurbishment: Make the difference

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Carbon footprint, Heat

If you're planning a refurbishment it's a good time to think about what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint - as well as saving you money, it...

If you're planning a refurbishment it's a good time to think about what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint - as well as saving you money, it could also help save the planet!

And it need not involve a huge initial investment, as Mike Pope, project and building manager at leased pubco Scottish & Newcastle Pub Enterprises, points out.

"You don't need to install a wind turbine or heat pump," he says. "These technologies are fine for major alterations or new-builds but for the majority of small pub refurbishments it is usually better to concentrate on measures to increase insulation, the efficiency of equipment and reduction of energy costs.

"Carrying out a pub refurbishment in a sustainable manner is not as complicated as you might think. Small adjustments made at the initial design stage to the layout and equipment and materials specification can make a big difference to your carbon footprint and your overheads.

"The government has also introduced changes to the tax system to encourage use of energy-efficient equipment. In some cases you can even obtain interest-free loans for energy-saving work."

Here are Pope's observations and recommendations:


• Use loft insulation and draught excluders for windows and doors. You could be losing up to 15 per cent of your heat through the roof space and draughts can account for up to 10 per cent of lost heat

• Find out if you have cavity insulation. More than 30 per cent of heat can be lost through external walls

• Make sure your beer storage areas are insulated and draught-proofed. Cellar cooling is important for beer quality but it can be responsible for as much as 10 per cent of your total energy costs.

Heating, hot water and cellar cooling

• Plant and equipment used to heat or cool your pub will account for a large portion of your energy bills

• Check heating controls and room thermostats are operating correctly. Make sure room thermostats are not located adjacent to heat-producing appliances (radiators, bottle fridges and so forth) or in direct sunlight

• Check your central heating boiler. Ensure it is serviced regularly and set up to operate at its optimum performance. If your boiler is more than 10 years, old consider replacing it with one from the government's energy-technology list ( You will be eligible for preferential tax rates and a modern boiler could save more than 10 per cent of your heating bills.

New equipment

• If you are replacing any appliances (catering equipment, fridges and so on) always consider the running costs and not just the initial capital cost

• Buying energy-efficient equipment with a combined value greater than £5,000 means you could be eligible for energy-efficiency loans from the Carbon Trust.


• Use energy-efficient lighting. The bulbs use 75 per cent less energy than conventional ones and last at least eight times longer

• Avoid using halogen lighting outside and change to metal halide, high-pressure sodium or LED lights

• Install occupation sensors in public toilets, beer stores and other back-of-house areas. These automatically turn on lights when the area is occupied and switch them off after a pre-set period

• Make sure smoking areas have lights and heating with controls so they only come on when customers need them.

Water saving

• If you are refurbishing your toilets, consider installing water-saving spay mixer taps and low-flush toilets. Water-saving items are eligible for tax breaks through the government's Enhanced Capital Allowances scheme

Related topics: Property law

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