Solar panels on the roof of our factory provide 20% of our power and reduce our carbon footprint by over 88,000kg of CO2 a year. The rest of the power we need is undercontract from certified renewable sources. Given that all the heating in the factory is from biomass, we can lay claim to being one of greenest factories in the UK.
The process of installing the solar panels was surprisingly quick. In a period of just over six weeks, we went from the initial consultation to final testing.
While solar panel arrays don’t necessarily blend in on the tiled roof of a suburban house, the effect on the roof of an industrial building is, we think, very pleasing.
We are sure you’ll agree that the panels are unobtrusive. We covered two south-facing elevations of our twin-pitched roof. The gaps allow light into the production area through pre-existing skylights.
As well as being beneficial to the environment, solar power is proving to be truly economical and we were easily able to raise a loan for £150,000 over three years. A huge economic benefit, is that we expect the solar installation to pay back in about four years, while having an insured life of 20 years. The installation has been operational for 15 months and we can see that there is contribution of £30,000 a year to the company's profit and loss account.
We are currently investigating what our next green project should be. As we burn 20Kw of lights for 18 hours a day, we are more than halfway through switching to LED lighting. We are also looking at using variable speed technology to control our dust extraction fans.
Recycling is a key part of our waste management policy. We follow the principles of reducing, reusing and recycling in many aspects of our working day:
- Timber shavings and offcuts are sent to our boiler room to provide heating
- We recycle product packaging where we can
- Waste paper and printer toners are recycled where possible
- Over-spray from our automated spray plant is filtered and then re-used
The stains, primers and finishes we use are porous, so the timber can breathe naturally. Because our paint is water-based, it doesn’t release solvents into the atmosphere as it dries.
The Story of Our Wood
We are committed to supporting the responsible management of the world's timber resources. Timber conservatories are far more environmentally responsible than PVC, which relies on non-renewable hydrocarbons in its production.
We believe it is important to source timber from forests managed in an environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable way. That is why we offer you the choice of having an FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council®) certified product using timber sourced from responsibly managed forests (FSC® C002189). We can also provide PEFC certified (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) products using timber sourced from sustainably managed forests.
We were early adopters of biomass heating and our boiler has now been in service for over ten years. The boiler consumes all the wood waste from the factory which previously went into landfill and provides all the heating for the production area. The boiler is also the all important source of heat for the paint drying tunnel on our automated coating line.
Unfortunately we were such early adopters that we missed out on the subsidies that are now being offered to business to install this form of heating.