The Star Inn

The Star Inn

The Star Inn, a former coaching inn, built over 200 years ago using sandstone from the ruins of nearby Harbottle Castle, will benefit from over £5000 from the Business Energy Saving Team (BEST), an energy efficiency programme delivered by local authorities in the region helping businesses to identify ways to cut back on how much energy they use, and save money.

Located in the stunning, rural Northumberland National Park the idyllic pub was in need of a makeover and new owners, Karen and Phil Wilkinson were ready to take on the project.

“We had a small holiday cottage and were looking for something else… we decided to buy the pub because of the location, and we were excited about the refurbishment project”.

The refurbishment meant transforming the way the pub looked as well as how it used energy. Hearing about BEST through Northumberland based business support programme, Business Northumberland.

Business Northumberland provides support to small and medium enterprises across the North East who are looking to sustain and grow their business online. The fully funded support programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Advance Northumberland, so there is no cost to eligible businesses when accessing the support.

Phil and Karen contacted the BEST energy saving team for advice to help them improve their energy efficiency. A free energy audit was carried out by Narec DE, delivery partners for the BEST project, and their Renewable Energy Technical Specialist, Alex Savidis.

“They came out and did a full survey of the pub and gave us 4 recommendations. The audit was free, and we were under no obligation to move forward with the recommendations”

The BEST project is an initiative for small and medium sized businesses funded by ERDF and delivered by five local Councils including Northumberland County Council. The support includes a free energy efficiency audit and report highlighting areas you can improve on within the business. Businesses can also access grant funding through BEST to help them implement the report recommendations, saving money, and reducing their carbon footprint.

The Harbottle pub was using an old open coal fire for heat, which wasn’t energy efficient or enough to keep customers warm. The landlords took up two of the recommendations, receiving over £5,000 grant funding towards new solar panels and log burners.

“We switched out the only open fire at the pub, to two log burners, which are much more efficient, better for the environment and warmer. We also had solar panels installed on the roof to help us save on electricity costs.

The wood burners have not only saved energy but also made the pub warmer and cosier… and we have had solar panels on a previous house, so we really do know the benefit of them!”

The Star inn will benefit from an estimated £1000 savings per year as a result of the investment, as well as reduce their carbon impact on the environment by over 10 tonnes.

BEST has been made possible with £670,000 from England’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme for 2014-2020.

Karen said “(businesses) should definitely contact the BEST team, it is free advice on your property with no obligation”

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