Ministry of Justice Driving Sustainability and Energy Efficiency at HMP Prescoed

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Amey's presence in 63 UK prisons means we are uniquely positioned to support the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) in achieving their goal of reaching Net Zero by 2035. HMP Prescoed, a category D prison in South Wales, wanted to reduce gas and electricity demand while enhancing sustainability across the estate. An aging infrastructure and the site's remote location presented challenges with high energy costs and supply.

At a glance

  • Amey installed two identical thermal arrays, comparing VirtuPVT and VirtuHOT technologies directly.
  • Data from the project highlighted system efficiency and benefits, enabling the selection of the most suitable technology for the site.
  • The project aimed to replace life-expired equipment and reuse existing infrastructure to reduce cost. 
  • Long-term benefits will be gained for future solar thermal installations using insights and lessons learned.
  • The installations included heat output and electrical output metering to enable the client to monitor consumption.

Key metrics

  • 100,000

    kWh Fossil fuels avoided

  • 20

    tonnes carbonabated per annum

  • 120°C

    heated by Solar Thermal Technology

With the client’s focus on reducing carbon emissions and cost savings, we used our experience of the prison estate and specialist knowledge of the energy industry to implement a bespoke solution that met the client’s objectives. Due to the site infrastructure, we were able to repurpose existing decommissioned solar thermal hot water systems, helping to further reduce spend.

Improving energy efficiency across the prison estate

With over 30 years’ experience working in prisons, and our employees having significant prison work experience, Amey had a strong understanding of the prison estate and the compliance needed to complete a project in such a complex facility. This expertise and experience ensured that every aspect of the project met strict security measures while fully complying with regulations.

Amey's bespoke plans meant the project combined innovative energy-efficient solutions, with cost savings and wider environmental benefits.

The contract team presented various project options to the client, emphasising potential energy savings and the use of existing infrastructure to keep costs down. To ensure the best outcome, two types of solar thermal arrays were used for comparative testing: evacuated tube solar thermal panels and hybrid photovoltaic/evacuated tube solar thermal tubes. This meant that we could monitor and review the data before deciding on the final project plans to ensure the solution chosen would be the most effective. Using this approach allowed us to meet the initial brief of reducing gas and electricity consumption, while also aiding further decarbonisation efforts across the HMPPS estate.

Amey, the contractor, and HMP Prescoed representatives carefully coordinated the construction phase. A detailed plan outlined how the work would be carried out, ensuring successful completion. Before construction started, thorough checks were carried out to ensure all necessary conditions were in place.

Data-driven decisions that deliver long-term benefits

Supporting Net Zero and sustainability goals, the project used solar thermal/PVT technologies, enhancing energy efficiency and incorporating low or zero carbon energy sources. This move towards sustainability is evident in the project's design, which focuses on reducing the building’s carbon footprint.

The initiative incorporated stringent safety measures and environmental considerations at every stage. From conducting regular safety checks to optimising resource usage and waste management, the project demonstrated leadership in workplace sustainability. The emphasis on reusing existing infrastructure and optimising storage tank sizes not only reduced costs but minimised the carbon footprint, contributing to Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions reductions.

Amey worked with the client and specialist supplier, Naked Energy Ltd, to create a bespoke solution, providing data for comparison of which type of solar thermal array system could reduce the demand on the supply of fossil fuels and electricity to the site.

The project followed two main stages: Firstly, a detailed study and evaluation were conducted to understand the site's requirements and select the most effective technology. This phase involved data analysis and site surveys to test the two types of solar thermal arrays before moving to the installation phase.

Following this, targeted solutions were installed based on these findings, aiming to maximise efficiency in meeting the site's electrical and thermal demands.

The VirtuPVT product was chosen for living accommodations, offering a dual solution by generating both hot water and electricity. The VirtuHOT product, more robust for areas with high hot water consumption like the kitchen, was used for the communal areas. This approach met the energy demands of various areas within the prison, contributing to both cost savings and environmental objectives.

To aid in monitoring and assessment, smart metering was integrated into the project, providing the client with simplified energy output data that will enable data-led decision making and provide long term benefits across the estate.

Building a green and resilient prison estate

The collaborative effort of Amey's team resulted in the successful installation of two thermal arrays, showcasing the efficiency of VirtuPVT and VirtuHOT technologies.

This project has reduced the prison's reliance on fossil fuels, avoiding 100,000kWh annually and removing 20 tonnes of carbon per year while providing valuable insights for future solar thermal initiatives. By implementing solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) systems, the project’s core objective was to reduce fossil fuel and electricity demand, minimise carbon emissions and enhance energy independence for the site. This aligns with their commitment to reducing carbon emissions and environmental stewardship in the HMPPS estate.

Additionally, the integration of technology to monitor and analyse data enhances project management efficiency and transparency, providing the opportunity to leverage technological innovation for sustainability.

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