Axter helps reduce charity’s bills with solar PV applications

Flat roof waterproofing company Axter has partnered with local homelessness charity Emmaus Suffolk to use solar panels to make their two new modular housing units for vulnerable people energy bill-free.

The new Emmaus pods will be opened today [10 October] by campaigner Sir Terry Waite, a patron of the charity, at an event marking World Homelessness Day.

Learning about Emmaus’s ambition to create two pods, funded by Hopestead, to offer accommodation behind its Community Hub in Ipswich, the Axter team recognised that they could help support the charity by transforming the modular building’s flat roofs to generate electrical energy via a photovoltaic array, producing sustainable electrical energy to power the pods.

Axter installed nine panels across the two roofs to generate 3.2 kilowatts, which was over double the planning requirements and will lower the cost of electricity bills and the carbon footprint for the charity, including an adjacent building used for offices and the community café.

Claire Staddon, CEO at Emmaus Suffolk, said: “We had no idea the kind of scale that this project would involve, just buying two modular units premade seemed like a simple option, but there’s a huge amount of additional work getting the utilities set up.

“It was fantastic that Axter offered us the opportunity to install solar panels so they can be essentially net zero. We can now house two vulnerable house individuals in a real home setting each with the dignity of their own front door.

“Local businesses that care about the community, like Axter, make such a difference. I can only applaud them and thank them for their ongoing support.”

Charlotte Saunders, Axter’s head of marketing & communications and climate & community manager, commented: “Having been a Suffolk-based business for 30 years, we are part of the community and partnership with Emmaus is one way we’re working to make life better for people across the county.

“Mental health issues and homelessness are key concerns in the construction industry, yet another reason this project meant so much to the team. We’re delighted to have partnered with charities like Emmaus Suffolk, and Mind Suffolk and the Suffolk Community Foundation too. We aim to help these charities expand the great work they already do for so many people.

“This work is part of our Climate and Community initiative, which puts our passion for the environment and the local community into action. Working with Emmaus, and our five other charity partners, we not only financially supporting these charities, but also lend our specific expertise where we can – as we have in this project.”

Terry Ashton, director at Tamaris Roofing, who installed the panels, said: “Emmaus is a fantastic charity trying to get homeless people back on their feet and back into homes they can call their own. We worked with Axter and Emmaus to install a 3.2-kilowatt system on the roofs, making these wonderful pods self-sufficient with electrics.

“Any extra electricity will go back into the charity building and help reduce electricity bills for the charity’s other facilities including their café.”

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