Case study

Renewable energy powers HiFi Cinema showroom

Berkshire-based HiFi Cinema provide bespoke premium-quality HiFi and home cinema systems to residential customers across the South East. The business was founded almost 20 years ago in a change of direction for its two HiFi enthusiast founders, who share a passion for high-quality sound and vision. Before they launched HiFi Cinema, they ran a successful electronics design and manufacturing company.

Co-Founder Alan Gornall was already committed to reducing his carbon footprint. His brother is a renowned academic in the field of environmental science and convinced the family to install a Thermomax hot water system on their home back in the 1980s. Then, 12 years ago, Alan installed nine solar panels at his family home, providing a strong return on investment and generating enough power to feed back into the national grid. He also benefited from a favourable feed-in rate as early adopters of the technology.

During lockdown, Alan started to investigate what grants might be available to help install a solar PV system on the roof of the business premises. He discovered the Low Carbon Workspaces website and realised that there might be funding available to support this investment.

HiFi Cinema successfully applied for a Low Carbon Workspaces grant of £4,800, covering 33% of the total project cost of £14,475, and as a result will save 1.19 tonnes of CO2e emissions per year.

“The whole grant process was really simple and clear,” said Alan. “I enjoyed working with the team at Low Carbon Workspaces, who were all so engaged and enthusiastic about sustainability.”

“It is fantastic to be able to help a business that is already committed to sustainability to take further steps towards decarbonisation.” – Low Carbon Workspaces representative said.

The solar PV system was installed in December 2020 and despite being on a north-facing building in the depths of winter, it was instantly generating 1,500 W energy, rising to 7,000-8,000 W on a sunny day.

Although HiFi Cinema was already on a 100% renewables energy tariff, the installation of solar PV and reduction in the grid demand will further allow the grid to utilise the renewable energy the business no longer requires, resulting in its annual carbon saving.

As advocates for sustainability and decarbonisation, it’s no surprise to see that HiFi Cinema runs two 100% electric company vehicles, but as might be expected in a business that is focused on demonstrating high-end electrical equipment, the business’s energy use was still relatively high, including the energy used charging the electric vehicles. Since the solar PV panels have been installed, HiFi Cinema’s grid demand has been reduced by as much as 60%.

“The energy savings that we have already seen since installing the solar PV system prove the strong economic and environmental benefit to investing in renewable energy,” said Alan.


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