The latest phase of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) opens in October 2023, giving public sector bodies the chance to fund energy efficiency and low carbon heating upgrades across their estates.  

Some of the major challenges that public sector officers face are around knowledge and understanding – what are the practical realities of implementing a decarbonisation project? What are the most appropriate technologies for their buildings? What best practice examples can they learn from? Where do they start?

With this in mind, Fleetsolve’s CEO, Keith O’Connor was invited as an expert panellist to be a part of the NW Net Zero Hub’s latest PSDS awareness and readiness webinar.

Keith explained why establishing the facts is crucial to the success of any PSDS or heat decarbonisation program. If you missed the webinar, here are Fleetsolve’s top tips:

Understand how the building operates, before you start.

It’s important to gain a deep understanding of how a building operates, both now, and in the future. This can be done on a granular level by looking at average energy demand, by month, year, and time of day – to gain an accurate prediction of demand and how it varies.

It’s important to look at occupancy patterns too, and how this may change in the future. Combined heat and power (CHP) for example, is highly versatile across a range of sectors, but the quickest ROI is achieved in buildings with long opening hours, where there is a simultaneous demand for electricity and heat.

Below is an example heat map that we designed at Fleetsolve, which analyses specific customer data to determine the bespoke requirements for CHP engine size and run hours – thus ensuring maximum efficiency of the project return:

An example heat map from Fleetsolve - graphs showing average total energy demand by time of day and time of year.

Don’t forget demand reduction

There are two distinct stages to heat decarbonisation – and they need to work together. The first step is to look at how you can reduce your energy demand, through building controls and energy management, minimising waste. Then you can look at the best energy solution for your business.

This is where project owners and solution providers need to collaborate, for the best outcome. When the project is complete, it’s important that good control of the building’s energy use continues to be a priority.

There is no silver bullet

For the best decarbonisation and cost outcome, multiple technologies will be integrated together.

A perfect example of this is the RICS Award-winning South West College, in Northern Ireland, which has integrated four different renewable technologies at its new Erne Campus.

Fleetsolve was involved at the planning stage to determine which technologies would best meet the college’s energy demand. The result is that 80% of the space heating demand is met from low-carbon biofuel micro-CHP, as well as 100% of the hot water demand.

Air to water heat pumps provide the remaining 20% space heating demand, and 480 KWh battery storage allows for short term energy storage. The 3,400m2 solar PV roof delivers 520kwpeak power for the brighter, summer period. This contributed to Erne Campus achieving the prestigious BREEAM Outstanding and also being accredited as the first Passivhaus Premium commercial building in the UK.

How Fleetsolve can help

For more than 20 years, Fleetsolve has been helping public sector bodies decarbonise via renewable combined heat and power (CHP), including universities, colleges, hospitals, prisons and council buildings. We have vast experience of successfully partnering with local authorities or their nominated consultant partners. 

Get in touch if you’d like advice on your public sector decarbonisation project – we would be delighted to help you.


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