Woodshed Workshop received a grant to support the implementation of an innovative heating solution: infrared heating panels.

Following an audit by the BEEP team, Nathan Hopkins, the director of Woodshed Workshop decided to further investigate the infrared heating suggested in the energy report. “We were impressed with the presentation given by the representative of Heissen [who manufacture the IR panels] and decided the technology was the best way forward.”

Infrared heating panels produce a form of energy you will already be familiar with if you have stood in the sunshine on a warm summer day. The pleasant feeling of the sun rays warming your skin is due to infrared thermal energy, which is often a useful alternative to conventional heating methods.

IR panels are similar to a spotlight on a stage, but they produce heat instead of light, warming up only the spot they are pointed at (as well as any people and objects too). IR panels are suitable in large or poorly insulated spaces where it would be difficult to heat the entire room, but occupants tend to be in one spot most of the time – such as a workstation or at a computer.

This makes the technology suitable for Nathan’s Workshop, which operates out of the old police station in Sacriston. The workshop was previously heated with plug-in electric space heaters, an expensive and inefficient way to warm up your workspace.

The new infrared heaters, pictured below, have been installed in the Workshop and their adjacent store.

The work was carried out by local electrician Dave Hadingham, with the panels themselves purchased through Edmundson Electrical.

Staff and volunteers, who previously felt chilly at times, now have the opposite problem. “The panels do such a good job of heating the workspace that we have to switch them off after a little while!” said one member of staff.

In addition to keeping staff warm and comfortable at work, the new heating solution is expected be much cheaper to run than the old space heaters – reducing bills by almost £22,000 each year, and lowering CO2 emissions by over 2 tonnes.