Forecourt supermarket Nisa Islandbawn has become the first retailer in Northern Ireland to be eligible to benefit from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The RHI is designed to offer long-term financial incentives to businesses across Northern Ireland to encourage them to install renewable energy technologies to heat their properties.

It is estimated Nisa Islandbawn, located on the Belfast Road, Co Antrim, will immediately save 72% on its energy bills and in future the cost of heating and hot water for the business will be removed.

The store has been in operation for over 30 years and through RHI was able to install a locally engineered bespoke heating system supplied by another Antrim-based company, BS Holdings.

The Islandbawn store has expanded and modernised in recent years, to cater for growing demands, however its original infrastructure of being heated by electric remained. This also included using immersion heaters to heat all water on site. The increase in customers at the deli counter soon outstripped the hot water demands of the electric heated cylinder, motivating store owner Paul Kirkpatrick to investigate alternative ways to heat his business.

“I had heard about the RHI and wanted to see if we as a business could benefit from it. I was also aware that BS Holdings had launched a new environmentally friendly heating system and was keen to explore this with a view of ‘greening’ our heat supply, reducing our carbon footprint and ultimately saving money,’ said Paul. “The new biomass heating system met with our business demands and with the RHI meant that the overhead of heating and hot water costs could be entirely removed for the next twenty years, so it was a very quick decision in the end,” adds Paul.

Brian Hood, Managing Director, BS Holdings comments: “I am delighted that Islandbawn is the first retailer in Northern Ireland to lead the way with green energy by taking the decision to install renewable energy into their business. In these times of austerity, business owners are looking at every avenue to help them trim costs in order to prosper and grow, the immediate removal of the heating costs for the business is a simple way of achieving that goal. It also engages with the wider public responsibility of carbon reduction assisting in combating global warming and even though a small part, this new system for Islandbawn has brought an approximate saving of 131 tonnes of carbon per annum.”