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BREEZ - Business Renewables Energy Efficiency Sunderland





New update: Thursday 1 June 2023

BREEZ has now closed for new applications. All funding has been successfully allocated.

If you wish to register your interest for any future grant funded energy efficiency measures please submit your contact details to

New update: Wednesday 29 March 2023

BREEZ application packs must be submitted no later than 5pm on Monday 17 April. This includes the following:  

  • Quote/s, job descriptions / product data sheets and;
  • Fully completed heating and / or lighting upgrade calculation templates and / or Solar PV system performance templates and;
  • Fully completed BREEZ application forms and all other compliance documents as required.  

If your application pack is not submitted on time your application will be closed and funding reallocated. Please take into account Easter is Friday 7 April to Monday 10 April with two weeks school holidays either side of these dates.           

From Monday 17 April there is a six week timeline for all installations to be completed to your satisfaction, fully paid for and 50% grant claimed no later than 5pm on Wednesday 31 May. Please check with your preferred contractor that they can install and complete well before this end date - allowing approximately one week for the grant payment process. Note we cannot accept grant payment claims after this time and date. Any claims received after this date will not be paid.   

If your application is currently in process this email is for information only. However as above your project must be installed, paid for and grant claimed and paid by 5pm on Wednesday 31 May.

Stop wasting energy now! Increase your bottom line tomorrow 

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, through the BREEZ scheme, offers eligible SMEs a flexible approach to cutting their energy bills and their carbon emissions and is part of the Sunderland Energy Storage and Efficiency Project (SESEP) project part-funded by a grant of £1,704,236 from the European Regional Development Fund to provide energy efficiency advice, support and access to finance for enterprises in Sunderland. The BREEZ scheme is complemented by a small scale energy storage and renewable energy pilot to test the effectiveness of solar PV and new battery storage technology across eight publicly owned sites within the city.

  • Free Initial Assessment - SME eligibility check, open discussion and walk around survey to identify key objectives.
  • Free Assessment of SME/Contractor Funding Proposal - BREEZ aims to raise awareness of the local to global importance of cost-effective, carbon reduction and energy efficiency methods in the local business sector. This means the applicant SME and their preferred installation contractor are required to develop and submit a clear, fully-costed BREEZ energy-efficiency proposal, that includes an accurate and detailed cost-effectiveness calculation, to be considered by Sunderland City Council. The council will support applicant SMEs and their preferred contractor with the cost-effectiveness calculation process but only where it is evident that the applicant and the contractor need specific technical guidance.

At first the cost-effectiveness calculation process may seem onerous but in most cases it is a relatively simple formula used to ensure cost-effectiveness compliance towards a 50% BREEZ grant offer.  Accredited LED Lighting, Heating, Insulation and Solar PV installation contractors are expected to support their client SME with these cost-effectiveness payback calculations.  The calculations serve to highlight the reduction in energy use and cost as generated from the proposed energy efficiency upgrade.  They also help Sunderland City Council calculate the reduction in carbon emissions from your proposal.          

  • 50% BREEZ Grants - following submission of a fully-costed energy efficiency upgrade proposal Sunderland City Council will assess its compliance with

- cost-effectiveness / 10-year payback requirements

- quality standards of the proposed products to be installed including warranties and specifications

- please note the technical design of the proposed upgrade is the role of the preferred contractor as agreed with the client SME.  It is not the role of Sunderland City Council.  However we may occasionally request additional supporting assurances regards e.g. Health & Safety etc.  

If the proposal is approved the SME will be offered a 50% grant towards the total cost (ex VAT) of the agreed upgrade.

Typically BREEZ offers 50% grant funding towards microgeneration (e.g. Photovoltaics), Insulation, low-carbon heating upgrades and LED lighting. Grant support for upgrading business process equipment may also be available. 

As from 1 March 2022 please note new applications are subject to the following conditions:

  • The minimum 50% BREEZ grant payable is £1000 for a £2000 energy efficiency project
  • The maximum 50% BREEZ grant payable is £7500 for a £15000 (or more) energy efficiency project
  • All BREEZ grants are subject to availability of ERDF funding could be withdrawn at any time

The overall objective of BREEZ is to reduce energy consumption and enable carbon reduction in a compliant and cost-effective way. This is achieved by upgrading old, inefficient systems with new, energy-efficiency upgrades that have been approved and agreed prior to their installation.  It is therefore important to note BREEZ cannot, under any circumstances, fund any energy efficiency upgrades retrospectively or that have already commenced installation.  BREEZ will not fund any energy-efficiency upgrades that have not previously been approved by Sunderland City Council.   

BREEZ supply chain - Applicant SME / Contractor requirement for detailed and accurate energy-efficiency / cost-effectiveness calculations.

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 council's BREEZ programme is to raise awareness that accelerates the implementation of cost-effective low-carbon technologies into the local SME sector. 

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 10 years or less.  Applications that exceed a 10 year payback term will not be approved for BREEZ funding.    

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 BREEZ grant funding by Sunderland City Council. 

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

The same 10 year payback threshold applies for energy efficient 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 and their contractor must submit fully-costed quotes supported by cost-effectiveness calculations that clearly highlight:

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

The council will provide formula to assist SMEs and their contractors with this process.

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 upgrading 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.

As from 1 November 2022 BREEZ will accept a single contractor quote for LED lighting upgrades with a total project value of £7500 or less. We acknowledge some businesses prefer three quotes and this is still acceptable to BREEZ but if you choose to submit just one quote please note you do so at your own risk and the one quote process remains subject to the above cost-effectiveness calculations and product quality requirements.        

For example if the cost of your LED lighting project is quoted at e.g. £3000 you can choose to submit just that one quote for consideration. If approved the 50% BREEZ grant would be £1500.   

The council and BREEZ team reserve the right to request additional quotes if required. 

LED Lighting proposals that exceed a total value of £7500 remain subject to a three quote process. All heating upgrades, insulation and solar PV proposals of all values also remain subject to three quote proposals.   

Boiler Upgrade Scheme

The government is providing grants to encourage small business property owners to install low carbon heating systems such as Heat Pumps, through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS). These grants can help small business property owners overcome the upfront cost of low carbon heating technologies.  The scheme is open to small non-domestic properties in England and Wales. It runs from 2022 to 2025 and provides:

·         £5,000 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump

·         £5,000 off the cost and installation of a biomass boiler

·         £6,000 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump

For example: if an SME is quoted £20,000 for a commercial Air Source Heat Pump and the business qualifies for a £5000 BUS grant they could also qualify for a BREEZ grant of up to £7500.  The SME needs to make a contribution of just £7500.  

To find out more about Boiler Upgrade Scheme and how to apply please visit Boiler Upgrade Scheme - GOV.UK (

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



Customer journey (PDF) [122KB]

Expression of interest form (PDF) [260KB]


BREEZ LED Lighting Guidance (PDF) [66KB]

BREEZ LED lighting proposal summary and CALCs (PDF) [225KB]


Client Quotes

"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

"BREEZ has allowed our business to bring forward capital expenditure by over a year and have an immediate positive impact on both our energy usage and carbon emissions. With the help of the scheme we have upgraded an old inefficient heating system to new highly efficient alternative. The energy cost savings generated by the new system were calculated to repay the upfront cost in 5.7 years but with a 50% grant towards the upfront cost payback terms was reduced to just under 3 years. 

From the start of the process to completion using BREEZ has been effortless. The process for application was well guided and assistance was offered wherever needed. We cannot thank the BREEZ team enough and would highly recommend the service to any business looking to cut energy costs and improve their carbon footprint". 

Business Owner - Highfield Hotel

Case Studies

Case Study: Royal Navy Association Sunderland (PDF) [611KB]

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