As a manufacturer, our biggest overhead at Brushtec, is the amount of energy we use. So, when it became clear we had to start cutting costs, this was the first area we looked at. By conducting a thorough analysis of how much energy we were using and the options we had, we found we could save a lot of money by using greener technology that needed less power to do the same work.
Analysing where you're using most of your energy and finding areas where you can improve can go a long way to saving you a lot of money, and we had already been thinking about moving to a new factory when we realised we could cut our overheads by using greener energy solutions.
In the end, we decided to combine these two ideas by looking for new premises that would give us plenty of freedom to become a more sustainable business overall.
When we finally moved into our new factory, we replaced the existing lightbulbs straight away. We had previously used outdated incandescent bulbs, and we switched these out for energy-efficient LED models. The cost of these was approximately £100 per bulb, which meant this was a costly investment to begin with. However, it was worth it, as they paid for themselves within the year and have continued to save us money ever since.
We also found that we could be heating our factory more efficiently, so we decided to improve the insulation in our building and opted for an eco-friendlier heating system. We installed thermal-efficient cladding and an insulated high-speed shutter door that can open and close in three seconds. This means our factory never loses more heat than necessary. We also started to use 93 per cent efficient gas-fired heaters and a ground-source heat pump.
We added a solar photovoltaic system to our facility too, and this provides us with a source of sustainable power. As energy prices are set to rise, I think it's wise for all businesses to look for ways to generate their own electricity, as this will help to reduce how much they depend on the national grid and should keep costs down.
I've outlined the major changes we made to our premises to cut costs and make our business greener, but there are plenty of small tweaks we made, too. For example, we use more efficient hand dryers that create just 30 per cent of the carbon emissions that would be generated by a combination of paper towels and warm air dryers.
Embracing technology that is greener and more efficient has benefitted our business massively, and we're still enjoying the benefits now. Of course, the proof is in the numbers, and we've been able to reduce our monthly power bills from £5,000 to £3,000. We've also cut our CO2 emissions by 9,000kg per month, which we're incredibly proud of.
We're always looking for ways to reduce our costs and improve our processes, which means this is just the beginning for us. As time goes on and new technology is created, we'll certainly look to see if we can improve our processes further. And, it would seem we aren't alone, as at least 89 per cent of manufacturers now discuss energy management at board level, according to research carried about by Siemens.
Other businesses might also heed a European Commission survey that found embracing eco-friendlier processes can even gain additional clients and sales. Eighty per cent of European respondents concerned with the environmental impact of purchases, indicated they're even willing to pay more for products!
About the Author
Richard Renwick is the Managing Director of Brushtec, an industrial brush manufacturer that specialises in the consultancy, design and production of brushes for cleaning equipment manufacturers, and has successfully lowered its overheads and increased profit margins by implementing greener practices when possible.
Visit www.brushtec.com for additional information.