Toggle menu

BREEZ - Business Renewables Energy Efficiency Sunderland



Reducing energy costs and cutting carbon emissions is important for businesses of all sizes, operating in all sectors.

By installing energy-efficiency improvements into business premises the average company could reduce its energy bill by up to 25%. The savings generated by reducing energy bills could pay back the upfront cost of the improvements in just one to three years. Businesses that cut energy costs increase their bottom line. Businesses that future-proof their green credentials attract more customers.

Sunderland City Council offers eligible SMEs a flexible approach to cutting their energy bills and their carbon emissions: 

  • Free Initial Assessment - SME eligibility check, open discussion and walk around survey to identify key objectives.
  • Fully-Funded Energy Audit or Energy Savings Opportunities Report - the initial assessment determines if a full Energy Audit or an Energy Savings Opportunities Report is required. Both routes provide SMEs with a useful decision making tool and reference document setting out recommended energy-saving measures, indicative upfront costs and the return of investment period from the reduction in energy bills.
  • 50% Grants - SMEs may also qualify for 50% grant funding towards the cost of installing an energy efficiency upgrade that has been recommended in a BREEZ Energy Audit. Typically the scheme offers funding towards microgeneration (e.g. Photovoltaics), Insulation, low-carbon heating upgrades and LED lighting. Grant support for upgrading business process equipment is also available. 
    • The minimum grant payable is £1000 for a £2000 project
    • The average grant amount for a typical SME is between £2000 and £8000
    • The maximum grant is £25,000 for projects that meet significant, pre-agreed carbon reduction requirements

The overall objective of BREEZ is to enable significant carbon reduction and reduce energy consumption. This is achieved by upgrading old, inefficient systems with new, energy-efficient measures that have been recommended, approved and agreed prior to their installation.

It is therefore important to note BREEZ cannot under any circumstances fund any energy-efficiency upgrades that have not previously been recommended via a BREEZ energy audit. BREEZ cannot fund any heating, insulation, lighting, microgeneration upgrades retrospectively. 


Sunderland City Council is committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and to encourage and enable Citywide net-zero by 2040. 

The primary objective of the Councils BREEZ programme is to help accelerate the implementation of low-carbon technologies in the local SME sector.  Qualifying SMEs can receive a 50% grant towards cost-effective, energy-efficient LED-lighting, Heating, and Insulation upgrades and Solar PV microgeneration. 

In order to ensure BREEZ assists the most cost-effective, energy-saving opportunities each grant application must demonstrate a 10-year or less payback period.  This means the upfront cost of the efficiency upgrade must be repaid in full by the estimated value of the energy-savings generated in 10yrs or less. 

Please see this simple example below: 

SME Workshop Area

8 operational hours per day x 5 days per week = 40hrs per week x 50 weeks per year

= 2000hrs per year.  

Wattage of existing workshop lighting

250W x 25 lamps =

6250W (6.25kW)

Wattage of proposed LED workshop lighting

140W x 25 LED lamps = 3500 (3.5kW

SME energy saved by replacing old lamps with new LED lamps = 6.25kW - 3.5kW = 2.75kW

SME electricity tariff = £0.15p per kWhr

Cost of existing workshop lighting per annum

6.25kW x 2000hrs x £0.15p = £1875 per year 

Cost of proposed LED workshop lighting per annum

3.5kW x 2000hrs x £0.15p = £1050 per year

SME Annual Saving = £1875 - £1050 = £825 per year

Upfront cost of 25 replacement lamps installed (ex vat) = £4500.

£4500 upfront cost divided by £825 per year energy-cost savings = 5.45 years payback.   

If this example was presented for consideration - and all other aspects of the grant application were in order - then a 5.45 year payback period would be approved for grant funding by BREEZ/ Sunderland City Council. 

If however the upfront cost of the LED-lighting upgrade was £9000 and the energy-cost savings were £825 per year then the payback would be £9000/£825 = 10.90 years.  This will not be approved for BREEZ grant-funding because the payback period exceeds 10yrs.

The same 10yr payback threshold applies for heating upgrades, insulation (which is calculated in relation to heating capacity) and Solar PV.   

Therefore in order to qualify for BREEZ grant funding SMEs and their preferred, approved-contractor/s are requested to clearly demonstrate how they have considered and calculated the cost-effectiveness of their proposal. 

This means the SME must submit quotes that set out the itemised specifications and costs of materials and labour (ex vat) supported by energy-saving calculations that clearly highlight:

  • SME electricity and / or gas tariff per kWh 
  • SME operational hours (seasonally adjusted as required e.g. heating demand)
  • The difference between existing kW capacity/demand - and- the proposed new kW capacity/demand
  • Energy savings generated by the proposal - in terms of kWh and cost reduction
  • Payback period (10yrs or less).   

Please include the calculation process in your quotation submission. BREEZ/Sunderland City Council will then review the full application and advise if approved or if clarification is required.

BREEZ acknowledges that some calculations can be more complex than the above. For example in instances where multiple upgrades are proposed (e.g. simultaneous lighting and heating upgrades) - or - where specifications and data required for calculations is specialist and highly technical. 

The importance of controls for e.g. lighting (e.g. motion sensors) or e.g. heating systems (e.g. programmer, thermostat upgrades, remote apps) should not be underestimated. The correct controls can serve to increase potential energy-savings and reduce the payback period for (in most cases) a relatively small additional investment.

If you are unsure about how to approach and present energy-savings calculations please advise BREEZ at the earliest opportunity.

For more information about BREEZ please email

To formally register your interest in BREEZ please download the attached Expression of Interest document, complete and return to

  •  The minimum grant payable is £1000 for a £2000 project
  •  The average grant amount for a typical SME is between £2000 and £8000
  •  The maximum grant is £25,000 for projects that meet significant, pre-agreed carbon reduction requirements


"With help and advice from the team at BREEZ we significantly reduced our carbon footprint and running costs by upgrading to a more energy-efficient heating system which also qualified for a 50% grant!"

Industrial Engineer, Argus, Pennywell Ind Estate

"Comogo Leisure Ltd is a new venue in Sunderland City Centre opening 18 hours a day offering indoor sports activities including pool and snooker. As such our energy consumption and running costs for heating and lighting were significant. With the help of an Energy Audit and a 50% BREEZ grant we decided to install a Low-Carbon Energy-Efficient Air Source Heat Pump as recommended in the Energy Audit. This system delivers accurate temperatures via easy to programme controls and significantly reduces electricity demand by over 70% compared to the previous electric heating system.  By also upgrading all the old fluorescent lighting on both floors to LED we further reduced electricity demand (and running costs) by another 10%. We were guided through the entire process  by the BREEZ team at Sunderland City Council and we strongly recommend any Sunderland-based business consider the BREEZ support available.

Managing Director, Comogo Leisure



Icon for pdf Case Study: Royal Navy Association Sunderland [611.32KB]

Note: pre-qualification site visits, audits and site surveys - to help prevent the spread of Covid please read and adhere to this safety guidance;
  • Wear a mask 
  • Keep two metres apart 
  • Wash hands before and after the visit
  • Please ensure areas to be reviewed are well ventilated
  • If your premises are staffed is it possible to conduct this visit outside of normal hours?
  • If you or any one in your family, friends, staff bubbles have been told to self-isolate, or have been in close contact with anyone diagnosed or awaiting results of a Covid test 24 hours before the visit please advise the visiting officer immediately

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email