Paradise Park Children’s Centre

Solar PV and energy efficiency • Feasibility study • Completed December 2019


Paradise Park Children’s Centre (PPCC) was built by Islington Play Association and Islington Council in 2005. It is a haven for families with children under five, located in a park and offering a welcoming and warm space where local families can spend time with their children, get information about services and play.  

The nursery provides great early education and operates an open door policy from the building to the garden, ensuring that children can play outside whenever they want whether it rains or shines, allowing them to feel freedom and make choices from the earliest opportunity. PPCC offers healthy hot meals to the nursery children, all cooked from scratch on site, thereby ensuring that children get access to all the elements they need to build healthy bodies and minds. PPCC also runs a community café that offers healthy food and snacks throughout the week and they often run workshops, activities and sessions on food, play and children’s issues.

Funding & delivery

In the summer of 2019 PUNL applied to the Islington Community Energy Fund for a feasibility grant on behalf of PPCC. The grant would support feasibility for solar PV, and an energy efficiency study in collaboration with XCO2, a local consultancy practice that has expertise in this work and is a member of the Islington Sustainable Energy Partnership. An ICEF feasibility grant of £4,100 was awarded in September 2019.  

XCO2 submitted a detailed report on measures to reduce energy use and improve thermal comfort at PPCC. They identified areas where energy usage could be reduced at the Centre.  

A roof survey was carried out and it established that two of the roof spaces at PPCC were suitable for the installation of solar panels. PUNL subsequently obtained two quotes for the solar panels but would like to work on the energy efficiency work first.  

The priorities are reducing energy usage where possible, improving ventilation and thermal comfort, and installing LED lights throughout the Centre to reduce carbon and heat emissions, reduce energy usage and lower operating costs. Following these measures solar PV panels should be installed on the roof.

Benefits & impact

The improvements to ventilation and thermal comfort will benefit all the children, staff and other users of the Centre by making it a more hospitable and healthier environment. This is all the more critical in light of the coronavirus pandemic. LED lights will help to reduce heat emissions from lighting and lower energy consumption thus delivering financial and carbon savings. Solar panels on the roof will also have a dual benefit of shielding the roof and generating clean electricity that will deliver operating cost savings and carbon reduction.

Project deliverables

Planning permissionPermission was not required as the site fell under the permitted development category
Energy efficiency reviewFinalised by XCO2 in December 2019
Energy efficiency measuresPUNL contacted Monodraught, the recommended ventilation specialists and organised a site visit for 4 August 2020 following which a quote was provided. Further actions will depend on an evaluation of the Monodraught recommendations and prioritisation of all the measures required to be taken to improve ventilation and thermal comfort on this site.

LED lights
PUNL will apply for feasibility funding through the next round of the ICEF to switch all the lights at PPCC to LEDs.
On-site demandFurther work will be undertaken following the installation of energy efficiency and thermal comfort measures to assess electricity use at PPCC so that the proposed solar array can be sized correctly.  
Solar PV installation Quotes were obtained during March-June 2020. Capital funding will be applied for alongside that required for the  energy efficiency measures.